Having good common sense has long been a phrase used to describe people who are able to do this. Increasingly, this is now identified as critical thinking ability. However, is measuring candidate ability an effective method of eliciting these skills? To answer this question, I propose to take a quick look at some research conducted by Schmidt and Hunter in 1998 (updated in 2016), which compared the effectiveness vs the popularity of different methods of recruitment. Ability tests were found to be the second most effective measure, behind assessment centres in terms of being able to identify the right people for the job.
Following on from this, other research has shown that critical thinking ability proves itself to be an excellent predictor of job performance in jobs requiring complex decision making and problem solving skills. Executive, managerial and graduate level roles are obvious functions to assess; but as technological advances continue to shift the paradigm, there is a relevance across the employment, education and the societal spectrum.
Critical Thinking Ability draws on one’s fluid intelligence and forms the raw material for several other core workplace competencies – strategic and creative thinking, information gathering and synthesising, analysis, problem-solving and decision making are all influenced by an individual’s aptitude in being able to think critically. By assessing candidates for their ability in this area, organisations will achieve an objective and impartial view of this core general ability, simultaneously enhancing existing recruitment methods, whilst reducing the risk of making bad hires.
We all know people with no formal qualifications who make great life choices. Conversely, we have all come across plenty of extremely well qualified people who make terrible decisions! It is not about the education you have had or how smart you are perceived to be; it is about the decisions you make. Pearson TalentLens offers a measure of critical thinking, called the Watson Glaser which can help you uncover this core skill and improve your organisation’s chances of future success.