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Ways to Screen Job Candidates for Strategic Thinking

Finding the right ways to screen job candidates for strategic thinking is one of the most daunting tasks for any type of business, but we've broken it down into simple steps.

Ever wondered how bad employees get good jobs? It's actually pretty common, and for the manager or CEO, this concept is anything but trifling. Entrepreneurs and business owners want the best and brightest in their boardrooms, but that doesn't always commence. While this may be encouraged through poor managing, oftentimes your employees aren't strategizing in the right ways.

This is why we've compiled a list of ways to screen job candidates for strategic thinking. This will, in theory, optimize your principal route of finding the right employee, and will also examine which job position they may be more inclined. Strategic thinking is a necessity in business, and when your employees are conducting their work as a group through this method, then your company should be boosted incredibly and given a newfound prowess in leadership. 

Ask pointed questions about strategic thinking.

This is one of the most obvious ways to screen job candidates for strategic thinking, simply because you are literally asking the candidate in question specifics about strategic thinking and their leadership skills. If he or she has no idea what you are talking about, don't hire that person, but if he or she knows how to use it successfully, then you should hire that person immediately, depending on their plausible knowledge, of course.

Whether informal or not, strategic thinking should be implemented into your daily questions, and they should be asked in such a way that can be answered to prove the answerer's wholistic knowledge of strategic thinking. If they can not only decipher your ultimate meaning, but can use it themselves, than you have a pretty good candidate on your hands. 

Ask specific interview questions.

There's appropriate hiring methods you should always follow, but if you're looking for more advanced and strategic thinkers, then there's a much more in depth approach you should be taking. Use the aforementioned criteria to ask your candidate what ways that person arrived in their situation. In other words, dig deep into their prior work history, with their help, and uncover ways they have used or optimized the use of strategic thinking. This can greatly benefit your company in the long run, if said answers are poignant and, obviously, strategically consistent. 

There are a host of questions the interviewer can ask a candidate, ranging from personal queries, like how they view the strategic thinkers in the office (that is, if there are any), to more fundamental questions, such as how they would use strategic thinking to benefit your business as a whole. There can never be enough strategic thinking in one office, so know your employees and know how they utilize their methodologies and mental capacities. It's one of the best ways to screen job candidates for strategic thinking. 

Listen for strategic thinking in subsequent answers.

After an interviewer asks these particular questions in an either informal or formal capacity, candidates should be able to respond in strategic language, or consider strategy as a method for crafting your business more fluidly. You're looking for words like "cross-functional," "data-driven decisions," "increasing profitably and margins," and/or "root cause analysis."

Of course there's many different phrases and underlining words that can be used in a strategic thinker's vocabulary, but the best way to prove it is by looking for quantified thinking. Don't be fooled by the interviewee or candidate that merely uses words or phrases that may make them seem like a strategic thinker. Always make sure they know exactly what they are talking about. Now, you're probably wondering, how exactly do I do that?

Ask them to find issues in a flawed strategic plan.

One of the best ways to screen job candidates for strategic thinking is by literally handing them a flawed plan and either asking them to fix it, or to ind the errors. Most job candidates will be put on the spot, which is expected, but the ones who really pursue the question and dig deep to its core, finding not one but multiple areas of adaption for the flawed strategic plan, then said candidate is perfect for your business. 

Use an earlier draft of your marketing plan, or draft up a made-up strategy from scratch, it doesn't matter. As long as the candidate can undergo a deep and meaningful consideration of a flawed strategy, and spot exactly where the issues lie, then that person knows what he or she is talking about. Of course, there's also a simpler way of doing this...

Give them a strategic-level issue to solve.

That's right. One of the many ways to screen job candidates for strategic thinking is by literally handing them a strategic plan and telling them to solve it on their own. If they can't do it right, or don't know how to go about it at all, then you have a problem on your hands. If they don't have the leadership skills or the strategic skills to fit into your business's criteria, then you should not hire them.

On the other hand, if they do prove to show ample amounts of leadership skills, then they should be able to solve the problem. After they do present you with a strategic theory, ask them to walk you through their steps. You should probably use a problem you already know the answer to, or have solved yourself already, so you can follow along with the candidate and know exactly what he or she is talking about. 

Examine their own questions.

Similar to listening for strategic language, examining their questions will also greatly ensure you know if they can utilize strategic thinking. These questions back to you should be dripping in strategy. In other words, the candidate should be proactively using strategy to help bolster his own questions. 

The right candidates will ask such questions as pertaining to business strategy, or their own individual use of strategy in your business. They may even ask you how your company utilizes strategic thinking in its own way, which is an instant portrayal of how close they are to this form of thinking. 

Give rewards for thinking, not reacting.

Make your business grow by engaging your employees with rewards for thinking, rather than action. This is more or less after they get the job, of course, but know your business and know your employees. You can use strategical thinking to benefit your workforce as much as your business.

Engaging your employees or a group of employees, especially through rewards, is one of the best ways to screen job candidates for strategical thinking, because it helps add the profitability and prowess behind your workers. If all of your employees are working in the same capacity, then your business is fluidly optimized and gives incoming candidates something to look out for. 

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Ways to Screen Job Candidates for Strategic Thinking
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