Understanding the trainability of candidates

Enabling change, enabling success#ChangeCartoon: Are your people ready for cul...

When recruiting people into new roles, particularly graduates, we look at their CV to understand their past experience and expertise, but this doesn’t answer questions about their soft-skills. How can we understand how quickly they will learn new things? How quickly will they ‘hit the ground running’? How quickly will they learn our products, how to use our systems and how to provide our type of service?

When recruiting people into new roles, particularly graduates, we look at their CV to understand their past experience and expertise, but this doesn’t answer questions about their soft-skills. How can we understand how quickly they will learn new things? How quickly will they ‘hit the ground running’? How quickly will they learn our products, how to use our systems and how to provide our type of service? Someone’s education will not tell us this information; they may have a good degree, but we do not know how many hours of learning it took them to achieve this. They may have spent every waking hour in the library learning and revising, or they may have learnt very quickly and had a lot of spare time.

The GIA (General Intelligence Assessment) helps to assess person’s ability to learn new information and how quickly they will be able to be trained(trainability). The GIA tests cover five different areas of fluid intelligence:

Number Speed and Accuracy - how quickly someone can work with and identify differences in numbers. This may be useful if the job role requires someone who can identify errors within numerical spreadsheets and needs to make financial or numerical decisions on the spot. For example, we would hope that someone in finance would have a high score.

Spatial Visualisation - this shows how quickly someone can manipulate shapes in their mind and their ability to visualise what is being explained to them. This would be useful for someone who works in graphic design, interior design or even someone driving a lorry.

Reasoning - how quickly someone can problem solve. If they are being asked questions about the service/product, how quickly are they able to understand the question and come up with an accurate and logical answer? This is important in many roles, including sales, client management and customer service.

Perceptual Speed - how quickly someone can spot errors and identify things within pieces of text. This is very important for proof reading and error finding. Anyone in charge of creating or checking communications which may go out to the whole company or the general public should be scoring high in this area.

Word Meaning- a person’s ability to understand more complex vocabulary. This does involve some pre-existing knowledge, so also touches on crystallised intelligence (IQ). It shows how well people are able to identify the meaning of words and how to then respond appropriately. This is important in roles that require high vocabulary and understanding of instructions. Communications roles, client facing roles and complex customer service.

Not only can GIA be used successfully for recruitment, but it is also a great developmental tool. Once you understand your own trainability, you and your manager will more accurately be able to plan how long new projects will take you to learn and schedule time accordingly. For example, if your number speed and accuracy is low, your team will understand that you need more time to come up with answers on tasks involving numbers and figures. Alternatively if your word meaning is low, your team will know to use more simplistic language with you, or explain instructions more clearly. Once we understand the areas where we may have limitations, we can find coping mechanisms to improve our overall performance.

The GIA tool is currently available in English and a range of other languages, with a Simplified Chinese coming soon! If you are keen to explore GIA and see if it could help in your organisation please contact your local consultant. hongkong@thomasasia.com