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Hiring for Executive Intelligence

The Working Knowledge newsletter, published by Harvard Business School, has an interesting article on hiring individuals based on what is known as 'executive intelligence.'

The article states that traditional testing methods, such as IQ testing, are limited in that the skills that these tests assess only represent a small portion of a individual's existing cognitive abilities. The skills that IQ tests generally measure - vocabulary, arithmetic, and spatial reasong - do not have much relevance to managerial work, according to the article. Furthermore, the format of these types of tests don't correlate very well with the real business world: "IQ tests don’t assess the practical, on-your-feet thinking skills needed in business, " states the author Justin Menkes.

However, despite these shortcomings, IQ tests are still a better predictor of managerial success than any other test or evaluation method currently in use. Even the highly popular past behavioural interview (PBI) technique misses out on determining whether a candidate holds tightly to deadines or resolves conflicts well. Behavioural interviews, according to Menkes, don't help the interviewer identify true star talent.

In order to hire employees on the basis of executive intelligence, Menkes suggests the following:
"The best way is to use questions that require candidates to demonstrate their skills in an interview format. For such a measure to assess intelligence, it must raise questions and situations that the candidate has never confronted. The more novel the situation, the less rote knowledge can be applied and the more cognitive ability is required to render an answer."
Read the complete article here.


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