Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's All In Your Mind

With the economy picking up a bit, a lot of our coaching work over the last few months has been Interview Coaching. The feedback we are hearing from our clients indicates that a lot of companies out there are utilizing interview techniques that reveal more about a candidate's ability to think on their feet than about their work experience. Candidates are experiencing "critical thinking assessment" questions, which reveal the way a candidate problem-solves and responds under pressure.

Some of these questions don't really have a definitive answer. For example, one candidate interviewing at a major oil company in Houston was asked "If you filled a two gallon jar with jelly beans and put a softball in as well, how many jelly beans will it take to fill up the jar." Obviously, the interviewer was not looking for a definitive number from the candidate. Rather, they wanted to see how the candidate would respond under pressure, and what critical thinking tools would be revealed as they tried to solve the problem.

Other employers are using Shane Frederick's Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT). Although the test only has three questions, Dr. Frederick's research proves that how a person answers can be a strong indicator of both their intelligence and their critical thinking skills. Let's see how you do:

(1) A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _____ cents

(2) If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _____ minutes

(3) In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? _____ days

Post your responses. We will reveal the answers in the next blog post. Winners will be entered in a drawing for a free coaching session!

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