The Secret to Screening Candidates to Measure Their Strategic Thinking Capabilities

When you want to cultivate a team full of strategic thinkers, one of the easiest approaches is to hire candidates who already possess the trait. But screening applicants for their strategic thinking capabilities isn’t intuitive, so you have to use the right approach to get the information you need.

Whether you find your top talent using your own hiring process or enlist the help of one of the best temp agencies in Cleveland, Ohio, here are some interview tips for finding the ideal candidate for your open position.

Give Candidates a Problem to Solve

Nothing allows you to learn more about how a job seeker thinks like having them solve a problem. All you need to do is describe the scenario to the candidate, provide them with a few moments to form a response, and allow them to present their solution. Then, have the interviewee discuss how they came to their answer step-by-step.

Ideally, the problem you present should be somewhat unexpected, as many job seekers rehearse their responses to common questions. However, make sure it is relevant to the position or their field, so you can see if they are a strategic thinker in the proper context.

Present a Flawed Strategic Plan

Another approach for assessing a candidate’s strategic thinking capabilities is to present them with a plan that you know is flawed and ask them to identify any issues or gaps they find once they review it. You can also have the interviewee discuss improvements or potential solutions for any flaws they spot, giving you additional information into how they think.

Listen for Key Phrases

While a candidate might not identify themselves specifically as a strategic thinker, they may use other words or phrases that can indicate they have skills in that area. For example, if an interview refers to their use of strategic goals or data-driven decisions, they might be a strategic thinker.

Other phrases to listen for include, but are not limited to: looking ahead, cross-functional, connecting the dots, and multiyear plan.

If your interview questions are largely open-ended, there is a strong chance a strategic thinker will, either intentionally or inadvertently, give you insights that they possess the capability. So, make sure to consider all of their other responses from that perspective.

Consider Their Questions

Just as a strategic thinker may reveal themselves while responding to your inquiries, you may also be able to identify them based on the questions they ask you. For example, they may request insight into how the role fits the corporate mission or whether the job gives them an opportunity to provide input regarding the company’s strategy. Additionally, any question about how the position may grow or change suggests the candidate is looking toward the future and considering how the role strategically fits into their plans.

By using the techniques above, you can identify strategic thinkers during the interview phase.

Are You Looking to Add Strategic Thinkers to Your Workforce?

Vector Technical Inc. is one of the top temp agencies in Cleveland, Ohio and works to support local businesses by helping them lower their hiring costs while providing access to skilled candidates and improved retention rates. Let our highly knowledgeable team find you the ideal job seekers for your open jobs the first time. If you are interested in adding an innovative thinker to your team, request an employee today!

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