Critical Evaluation

“It isn’t that they cannot find the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.” – G.K Chesterton

I recently had an opportunity to help a fantastic organization search for a new senior leader.  I am in the business of developing leaders, however, the recruiting process made me stop and think about the skills that leaders need when joining an organization.    

 There were many skills that jumped out at me, but one in particular, critical evaluation, made me pause a bit more than normal.  How can you tell from a resume or in an interview if someone has the propensity for critical evaluation?


The 2016 Future of Jobs Report, published by the World Economic Forum, has found that critical thinking will be one of the most essential sets of skills for anyone in the job market as early as next year. However, the report also found that these skills are some of the hardest to recruit for, most likely because they have been traditionally difficult to assess and measure.  In one study 62% of the responders said their organization doesn’t do anything to ensure it is hiring applicants with strong critical thinking skills. 

 The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) has a competency model and says that there are 6 critical behaviors associated with critical evaluation.

  1. Decision Making-makes sound decisions based on evaluating the information that’s available

  2. Critical Thinking- applies critical thinking to information received from organizational stakeholders and evaluates what can be used for organizational success

  3. Measurement and Assessment-analyzes data with a keen sense of what’s useful

  4. Inquisitiveness -Identifies leading indicators of outcomes

  5. Knowledge Management-identifies leading indicators of outcomes

  6. Research Methodology-delineates a clear set of best practices based on experience, evidence from industry literature, published peer-reviewed research, publicly available web based source of information and other sources.

Knowing which behaviors are associated with critical evaluation can support you in developing behavioral based interview questions to determine how an applicant came to their decision.  You can listen for the questions they asked of their stakeholders.  You can learn if and how they measured their success and what research they did before implementing their decisions.

 Those who critically evaluate decisions look beyond the status quo and find solutions that don’t just solve a problem, but that may even take you in a new direction.  This is how innovation occurs in organizations.  They have new perspectives and come up with creative problem-solving solutions.  Their ability to analyze and interpret information also allows them to better predict future outcomes.