Your Four-Dimensional Job Interview

The interview process of tomorrow must discover the right things about a candidate, in order to assure the highest chance for success in the position.

Traditional hiring has largely focused on a candidate’s experience and education as the primary qualifiers for a position.  Both skills and knowledge can be learned and mastered over time.  While there certainly is merit in evaluating what someone has learned (knowledge) and what he or she has done (skills) so far in a career (experience), it is at best an incomplete set of criteria.  Why?  Because there is more to performing a job than just knowledge and skills. 

Study after study shows that of those new hires who fail in a job, most do not fail for lack of knowledge or lack of skill, but rather for who they are and who they are not.  In other words, they fail for the absence of specific natural capabilities with which an individual is born, and which can be developed, mastered, and applied on the job.   For example, a Leadership IQ study found that only 11% of new hire failures were due to a lack of technical skills, with deficiencies in coachability, motivation, temperament, and emotional intelligence as collectively comprising 81% of the reasons new hires fail.

The purpose of this article is to set forth a highly adaptable framework for employers to use to identify and screen for the critical natural capabilities required for success in a position, and for job seekers to understand in anticipation of being interviewed by employers that use this approach.

  • Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) – Measures someone’s ability to perceive, control, and express emotions (commonly called people smarts). EQ is predictive of someone’s ability to fit on a team and his or her interpersonal acumen, and is helpful in assessing entrepreneurial tendencies.  In a global economy, the ability to relate to other people is increasingly important.
  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ) – Measures the reasoning capacity of an individual and is a predictor of a person’s ability to learn and assimilate new information and to solve complex problems. Consider how rapidly technology will increase the degree of complexity of most jobs, which is why IQ matters as a valid predictor of job success.  McKinsey & Company’s recent report, Management Intuition for the Next 50 Years points out how complexity is increasing in the jobs of tomorrow, requiring workers who have the intellectual capacity to recognize, think through and solve complex problems rapidly.  
  • Talent Quotient (TQ) – Measures an individual’s ability to perceive and use one’s God-given talents to achieve positive outcomes. TQ is predictive of how well an individual will perform work that requires his or her talent set. According to the landmark study by the Gallup Organization captured in Marcus Buckingham’s business bestseller, First Break All The Rules, “Great managers understand that every role performed with excellence requires talent, because every role requires certain recurring patterns of thought, feelings or behavior.”
  • Curiosity Quotient (CQ) – Measures the degree to which someone has a curious and hungry mind. CQ can predict the desire to ask deeper questions and experiment to find new/unique solutions.  Recent articles by Harvard Business Review and others point out that CQ is as important as IQ when hiring, because possessors of high CQ tend to make the intellectual investment to stay ahead of current thinking, tending to bring novel and innovative solutions to their roles.

Employers will need to identify the specific IQ, EQ, TQ, and CQ parameters that make for a strong performer in a specific role.  Just as an employer today determines the essential duties of a position and the core competencies (skills and knowledge) required by a candidate, employers will need to expand the position’s requisite core competencies to include specific IQ, EQ, TQ, and CQ elements. 

The next step will be to create effective interview questions to uncover whether or not a particular candidate possesses the expanded set of core competencies.  This will likely require educating hiring managers, recruiters, HR and others involved in the selection process so that they operate from a shared view when choosing which candidate to hire.  Once hired, the new hire’s onboarding process should incorporate intentional IQ, EQ, TQ, and CQ development and application activities.

Job Seekers will need to evaluate their own candidacy in terms of the specific IQ, EQ, TQ, and CQ elements they can bring to an employer.  Candidates who possess a greater percent of the expanded core competencies are more likely to exude elevated levels of passion and engagement.  What most employers want to learn is how a candidate has successfully applied the elements of knowledge, skill, IQ, EQ, TQ, and CQ in previous work, volunteer, intern, and other activities.  Candidates who can make a compelling presentation of these capabilities during their search will – as today – position themselves in the place of greatest employability.

Bottom Line.  Employers, employees, recruiters, job seekers, and HR will all need to recognize the opportunity that lies ahead for being able to identify and engage the elements IQ, EQ, TQ, and CQ to produce better hiring decisions and more fulfilling careers.

Boyer Management Group works with employers, organizations, and job seekers alike to help them become more successful.  For employers, we offer world-class talent management, acquisition and onboarding tools and programs to help employees and volunteers achieve consistent, optimal performance.  For job seekers and universities, we offer tools, assessments, books, and curricula to help connect people with careers. To find out more, please visit us at, email us at, or call us at 215-942-0982. 


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