You’re HIRED! The Secret to Hiring GOOD Problem Solvers
Hiring good employees can be a difficult task. I’m asked frequently, “Tom, how can I find a good problem solver? And how can I tell GOOD problem solvers from BAD ones?” Oftentimes, I’m already busy on a project and ANOTHER company comes asking me desperately where they can find another good problem solver. Today you’re in luck, because I’m going to share with you my top secret key criteria I look for when hiring new problem solvers.
Video: How to Hire a GOOD Problem Solver
Finding a good problem solver is difficult because, believe it or not, professional problem solving is not taught in colleges. It is a skill set people need to be trained in on-the-job after they graduate, and it takes time to perfect. Once a problem solver starts excelling in their skills, their company never wants to let them go!
On the flip side, people also approach me asking for problem solving jobs. It just so happens that I’m always looking for good problem solvers! If you think you’re up to the task, you’ve just hit the jackpot. Here’s a little insider information on what criteria I look for during an interview.
Honestly, the question of where to find a good problem solver is a hard one to answer because there are so few problem solvers out there that can solve a project effectively and efficiently.“…there are so few problem solvers out there that can solve a project effectively and efficiently.” Click To Tweet
Lightning Problem Solver Wannabe Cheat Sheet:
This blog and accompanying video will most benefit management looking to hire a skilled problem solver, and individuals actually interested in coming to work for Lighting Problem Solving.
Once you have a candidate looking to join your team, here are the questions I would use to determine if they can help your company become the best in your industry. (And if YOU’RE interested in joining the Lightning Problem Solving team, these are the questions you can look forward to in your interview. There’s nothing like knowing the questions in advance!)
Welcome to the Interview – Assessment Number One
The first thing I need to determine when hiring a new employee is whether or not that person is capable of solving a project in 3 days.“The first thing I need to determine is if the person is capable of solving a project in 3 days.” Click To Tweet
Of course not all projects can be solved in 3 days. But, the ability to solve projects quickly tells me a lot about the individual, about their passion, tenacity, and intellectual capability.
I have trained many technicians that do not have an engineering degree, and sometimes they can make excellent problem solvers. But if someone cannot get through the math, they’ll require a coach for some projects. In that case you’ll need to have another skilled problem solver on staff overseeing them, but they’re still an excellent addition to your team. Using the Buddy System is OK!
Pop Quiz: What’s Your Problem Solving IQ?
Typically I find out if they are able to solve a project in 3 days by letting them do the talking. If they can explain at least 3 projects that they’ve worked successfully and have a history of doing so, the results speak for themselves. But let’s assume this is an individual who has NOT solved a project yet, fresh out of college.
I would ask:
- Do you know the difference between Root Cause and Solution?
- Do you know what Measurement Error is and how to find it?
- What do you do if your measurement system is not good enough?
- Do you know how to ask the right questions (or, how to look for Contrast)?
- How do you know you’re not just a Solution Hunter?
- Can you show data in a simple chart or picture way? (Give examples.)
- Do you know how to swap parts with confidence?
- Do you know how to confirm Root Cause, or your project “solved”?
- Can you get your hands dirty?
Anyone that is not willing to screw the bolts in themselves will never be a good problem solver. I can easily tell if someone is a solution hunter by asking them about previous projects they solved. Do they habitually identify the root cause of the problem before implementing solutions? Or do they simply try to “fix” things? Maybe reading over this list of questions has raised questions of your own! Check out my videos Root Cause vs. Solution, The 5 Whys, and How to Solve a Manufacturing Problem in 3 Days for greater clarity.
You’re Still Here? Ding, ding – Round Three!
Now we’ve determined how they approach problem solving, and whether or not they are capable of solving projects in only 3 days. Let’s move on to more general interview questions:
- How do you react to management?
- Can you describe how you interact with co-workers?
- How do you relate to subordinates and trainees?
- Are you willing to solve projects with passion?
- How good are your communication skills?
- How do you handle stress?
- Why do you want this job?
- What are your goals?
- How do you handle failure?
And here’s a freebie reward for making it through that grueling gamut – a Printer-Friendly Version of Interview Questions! Now you can put others to the test.
Click HERE: Printer-Friendly Version of Interview Questions
Know Your Value
Good problem solvers are a crucial part of any world-class company. In fact, I recommend every company have 1 good problem solver for every 50 employees.“…I recommend every company have 1 good problem solver for every 50 employees.” Click To Tweet
Here at Lightning Problem Solving, you know we believe that a company that cares can become the BEST in their industry. And if you want to be the best in your industry, you’re going to need to have a strong problem solving team on your staff!
Can’t find anyone who knows how to do these things? No sweat! I offer training. Or maybe after going through these questions you’ve realized nobody on your staff knows how to problem solve like this. You can contact me if you’re interested in training your staff.
You’re NOT a Failure – there’s Hope!
Most people I know do not know how to do all these things. They don’t learn this in college, sadly. If you’re hiring an engineer straight out of college, they will not be able to do everything perfectly. They need training.
I wish you success in your problem solver hiring! And if you find a problem solver that aces this interview and proves to be a great addition to your team, HOLD ON to them! They’re hard to come by! How about you?? Do you think Lightning Problem Solving is a team you’d like to join? Get in touch! Thanks so much for joining! Until next time, happy hiring!