As organisations grow, executives and business owners go to great lengths to recruit at least some people with leadership potential, and not just for succession planning. Even the recruitment of entry-level supervisors often necessitates painstaking (and painful) processes for employers and candidates alike.

It’s not uncommon for psychometric tests to be included, like the five-hour monstrosity I was once invited to complete for a promotion, the results of which revealed me to be “below average” in all four of the areas tested. “But don’t worry,” said the psychologist over the phone. “Out of everyone in the ‘below average’ category, you were the best.”

So, basically, out of all the losers, I was the biggest loser. That’s what she was saying. Another tactic is the inclusion of abstract interview questions such as this little beauty I’ve been asked: “If you were playing Russian roulette and someone handed you the gun, would you spin the barrel before shooting or just shoot? Explain your response.”

Analysis proved the superiority of carefully constructed job interviews “over and above” the other assessment methods in predicting the candidates’ success as leaders.

Analysis proved the superiority of carefully constructed job interviews “over and above” the other assessment methods in predicting the candidates’ success as leaders.Credit:Shutterstock

It’s now years later and I still can’t explain why nonsensical questions like those are asked of leadership aspirants, which is why we can give thanks to The Leadership Quarterly, one of the world’s most scientifically rigorous academic journals, for publishing the findings of research on the surest methods that reveal whether a candidate can someday step up.



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