In my years in Executive Search, I have interviewed thousands of candidates, and have found that the one quality all successful candidates have is wisdom. I’ve also found that traditional interview techniques tend to focus too much on IQ, EQ, and work experience, and neglect to assess for a candidate’s Wisdom Quotient (WQ).
In case you missed it, last month I outlined the first three ways to assess a candidate’s wisdom quotient (WQ); appraising a candidate’s social interaction, experience driven learning vs. work experience, and looking for examples of discipline vs. talent. This week I will break down four more ways to assess for a candidate’s WQ:
4. Desire to Learn and Deeply Understand
There is a fine line between a confident candidate and a ‘know it all’ candidate. A wise candidate comes from a position of humility, recognizing their own limitations and that there is always more to be learned. To assess for this, ask candidates what they believe in. Wise candidates will have the ability to see the bigger picture and be able to explain why they carry their beliefs. They will be able to demonstrate knowledge of what is good or right, to apply good judgment, and make sound choices with advanced cognitive development.
The wise candidates can prioritize and identify core issues. Simplicity, moderation, and reflection are also measured here. “Why did you decide to do that? What are your passions and what really motivates you? List and rank them. What are your personal or work philosophies?” Ask them what books they have read lately. Ask them what they think about your company to see if they did their homework. Ask the candidates to forecast the evolution of this job and this industry to hear how they think.
You can also ask specific job related questions here. Ask the candidate, “If you were given this job, what are the most important things to do in the first week of work?” Try issuing a real, on-the-job case study and see how they would solve it. Can they perform on a surprise test under pressure?
This is very important and often overlooked. When describing their past experience, there should be a common thread of advanced emotional development. Is there a component to their experience that is others-centred? What volunteering has the candidate done? Are they relational in nature during the interview to demonstrate how they would interact with co-workers in the workplace? Does this candidate have an altruistic outlook and feel empathy for others?
6. Ethics and Integrity
Ethics are the cornerstone of any business, and wise candidates follow them not only because they are the rules, but because they are doing what is right. Behavioural questions and reference checks are a great way to assess for this. “Provide me an example of when you had an irate client or colleague and how you handled it. If I were to ask you to work outside of our specific compliance guidelines, what would you do?” Ask yourself, based on their answers, can this person respect authority and rules? What is their decision making process?
Wise candidates have self-control and will follow cues from the interviewer. If the interviewer is conducting a structured, traditional interview, a wise candidate will not try to take control, but will understand this is a process and they will get all of their questions answered. As the interviewer, look for examples of self-control and sound judgment. If are conducting a formal interview, did they bombard you with questions throughout or follow your cues to wait until the end?
Make the change today and learn to assess candidates, not only for their IQ, EQ and experience, but for their WQ. As an interviewer, it is your social behaviour and applied discipline that will enable you to assess candidates for their WQ. It is your discipline, desire to learn, compassion, ethics, and self-control that will lead you to Hire Wisdom. Practice and learn from your mistakes. You now have the keys to Hire Wisdom; use them wisely.
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