With Arizona’s unemployment rate hovering under 4%, the Phoenix job market has become more and more candidate driven. Hiring managers have experienced an increase in interview and job abandonment. Not only are companies investing more money into the on-boarding, training and development of a new employees – they’re also spending more time identifying candidates and conducting the interview process.

With shortages in qualified candidates, the saying “hire character, train skill” has become more relevant to hiring. Many of the skills needed for professional positions rely on a candidate’s ability to think critically. Critical thinking includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking -companies benefit from employees who think critically (as opposed to mechanically performing tasks) because these individuals use an independent mindset to seek ways to improve processes (Workable).

Many companies are reviewing their interview process to include scans for a candidate’s ability to think critically. Below are best and worst practices as outlined in Workable for including critical thinking into your interview.

  1. Ask the Right Questions:

Adding critical-thinking interview questions into your interview process will help identify candidates with a high potential for leadership positions. These interview questions should be challenging, and job related. Puzzling questions are an opportunity to see how candidates react outside their comfort zone. Use hypothetical scenarios and examples from a candidates’ past employment experiences to understand their mindset.

  1. Know the “Red-Flags”

To assess for critical thinking, you must know what qualities to look for and what not to look for. Non-critical thinkers are not known to fact-check, they’re more likely to make assumptions which can lead to rushed or biased decisions. Non-critical thinkers do not ask for help when their faced with a challenge, they’re not known to take initiative to find alternative solutions to a problem. As you’re interviewing, non-critical thinkers will reveal an inability to answer questions in depth and creatively. Candidates who go with the first answer that comes to mind are more likely to approach challenges superficially and avoid using critical-thinking skills to find the best solution.

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