Posted by: Joe Hoffman | December 31, 2008

The Art of the Hire Part III Thinking Style

So far I have written about the need to asses an potential hire’s KSA’s, ( Knowledge, Skills and Attributes) to be successful in a particular position. I also discussed the issue of Integrity in Part II, which is just a catch word for a series of things;
• Honesty/Integrity
• Reliability
• Work Ethic
• Their attitude toward substance abuse in the workplace
• Are they faking their answers

For today I want to take a look at how your applicant thinks about things and the world.  We will leave Behaviors for another post and just focus on “Thinking”.  How people use their mind to create mental analogues of the world at hand varies from individual to individual but validated studies have found that if we look at and measure just five aspects we are able to get a set of measures the will help predict on the job success.

  • Overall Thinking Style (a proxy for IQ, not unlike a SAT score)
  • Verbal Skill (use of vocabulary)
  • Verbal Reasoning (how well does this person interpret the world through words)
  • Numerical Ability (how well they can handle numbers and the numerical rules)
  • Numerical Reasoning (the extent that this person will translate the real world into numerical terms)

Every job has an ideal mix of these traits, take a physicist for example, lets say Einstien.  He would have scored a very high overall thinking style, done pretty OK with verbal skill and reasoning.  He also  would have had a low numerical skill rating (he flunked math in Gymnasium in Germany) and been off the charts with numerical reasoning.  Conversely if we examine a Supreme Court Justice, they would be high thinking style, Verbal skill and reasoning  will be off the charts high, numerical ability OK to high and Numerical Reasoning could be mid to high.  But what would be really important is the ability to reason and interpret reasoning through word.

There exists an ideal pattern for virtually every position an employer may have, from the CEO on through the organization.  In fact, the best performing CEOs have a balanced set of ratings on the high but not too high side.  The key is  high is not better than low unless the job calls for it.

The point of this is that there are measurement tools out there that let an employer asses this and a range of other characteristics of potential hires.  While it is always imperative to make the best choices, in the current economic period, you may not have the luxury of making a string of mis-hires before you get it right.  Let the tools help you.



  1. […] Art III – Determining if the applicants “Thinking Style” meets the job requirements. […]

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