We deal regularly with clients who have test regimens as part of their qualification process. We’ve seen a lot of testing services and in general, we’re not sold on most of those tests. We’ve seen $12,000 psych/competency interviewing services and $20 internet tests that eliminate over 90% of the people who’ve taken them. Our philosophy, and part of our ‘secret sauce’ is that we interview for results. If we’ve spent enough time interviewing our candidates and walked them through their entire career and demonstrated, in our mind that they have had a successful career; with solid results and successive moves, then their predictability of success is measurably improved. We review where they’ve grown in their career: more revenue, more direct reports, larger clients, larger customers, national vs regional, global vs national, etc. If you graph their career against accomplishments and responsibilities; you’d see an increasing growth curve. Historical success is still the best predictor of future success; despite what the 1,000’s of testing sites claim. But there is one test that underlies most successful people; IQ. If you have above average intellect, generally, you have the ‘stuff’ to make things happen. It’s not absolute, but smarter people tend to be better performers.
But I have my own variant of IQ that I rely on strongly. My term is: IQ, Intellectual Quriosity. I define my IQ as the drive to continue to learn. Regardless of whether that’s learning your craft or learning new things that aren’t related to your career… it’s an internal drive for knowledge that delivers an intrinsic value to that individual. I can identify several notable IQ’ers:
Elon Musk. A pure thinker of big things: space travel, solar energy, electric cars. While you may think the common variable there is engineering; it’s far more than that… think of the market influences on each of those systems. They’re completely disparate.
Jeff Bezos. Also a big thinker; including space travel and a drive to expand business processes across a spectrum of goods and services that has never been considered before.
Bill Gates. He read the entire World Book encyclopedia; A to Z in high school; because he just wanted to learn. His post-Microsoft role of running a charitable foundation (largely personally funded) that crosses the globe to improve health, education and infrastructure is commendable. And intellectually expansive.
We have arrived in history at a time where facts are now deemed questionable, or worse… deliberately altered to fit a belief system. While this isn’t entirely new; cigarette manufacturers openly sponsored ‘research’ foundations in the 60’s to invent scientific results that smoking was not a health hazard. That same system has been employed to denounce other sciences; from climate changes to environmental hazards. It’s true scientific marketing when you can create ‘clean coal’ as a solution to our energy needs. True science can be co-opted into producing results that are blatantly false.
The internet has brought us a wealth of information that is overwhelming to most people. You can truly document any political, health or environmental position off of the internet. There are blogs or professional looking websites that can prove rationales for racial inferiority, sexual dominance, dietary secrets of longevity, financial secrets to instant wealth and far more.
Our lives are consumed with bumper sticker ‘nuggets’ of information that frankly are misleading at best, and completely wrong at worst. Our legacy evening news programs are scripted to fit a limited number of notable news events into a roughly 20-minute synopsis. The 24-hour news programming requires so much content that the quality of reporting actual documented facts has been seriously compromised. So how does one make important decisions for their life? (Health, employer, education, security, financial, even voting choices, etc.)
Life has become a process of wading through the noise of competing opinions; many posing as factual. Facts aren’t easily available; especially on complex issues like environmental, health or education choices. Social media has helped in many ways to point you to a good restaurant or bargain hotel rooms or new clothing specials; but clarifying ‘big’ issues requires far more work. And that means investing far more hours of your own time to wade through the competing or contradicting positions.
Which leads back to Intellectual Quriosity. When you meet someone who is deliberative in their responses, who openly admits that they don’t have all of the answers, but they’ll find them to support their decisions; you’ve found a contributor to your company that will add value to the future. True IQ’ers will be driven to understand and grasp the inconsistency of a complex issue. Want a true leader that will clarify the path forward? Find an IQ’er.
Ted Konnerth, Egret Consulting Group’s founder and CEO, recruits on a retained basis, helping leaders in the electrical and lighting industry identify their next C and V-level hire. He is also the executive director for the International Retained Search Associates, allowing him to liaise with skilled recruiters around the globe. To learn more about how Ted can help your company attract talent view his biography, check him out on LinkedIn or email him at email@example.com.