Hiring managers are acutely aware that different jobs need different types of skills. Some jobs are task based, requiring candidates to have thorough knowledge of processes, software and technical expertise. Other jobs involve strategic thinking and planning, which require a different personality type and a different manner of working. It’s these latter positions that are difficult to fill due to the challenges of fully assessing an applicant’s thinking skills. The answer is to alter the interviewing style to allow you to observe them thinking.

Games Are Revealing

Play a thinking game with the applicant, or find one online that they can complete using only a computer. The harder the game is the better. In fact, finding one that has no solution is best of all. You aren’t trying to find an applicant to complete the game successfully. You are only creating an experience that will be a launching pad for a conversation later. This game playing method even works for online interviews.

Gauge Candidate Responses

After candidates complete the game, ask them what they thought about it and listen carefully to their responses. Most will not respond that it was stupid, but some may state that they don’t see the point. This can indicate an unwillingness to think outside the box. Likewise, candidates that focus on their errors are too focused on themselves and not the actual problem. It’s the ones who make comments about understanding the game or applying the game’s underlying meaning that are the real strategic thinkers.

No matter what the candidate’s response, it’s important to dive deeper by asking more questions. Someone who thinks the game was stupid may just be a straight shooter, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Evaluate All Candidates

While this type of interviewing method is ideal in identifying candidates for high level positions, it works equally well for all job candidates. By observing the reactions of the candidate you can identify traits such as perfectionism, being overly critical, rashness or risk taking. Think about how those qualities fit into your current work environment and with the other employees.

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