Do You Know How to Identify Great Problem Solvers?

Do You Know How to Identify Great Problem Solvers?

29 June 2018

When your client presents a complex problem, what should you do? Solve it, of course.

In 2018, a Chinese food processing company based in Geneva, Switzerland, had a big challenge: finding and hiring lawyers with a deep knowledge of Chinese law and international corporate affairs. Not the easiest skills to find in Switzerland.

Not only did they want individuals with a bachelor’s degree from China and a master’s degree from either the United Kingdom or the United States, they also wanted professionals who specialised in corporate law, spoke Mandarin and English fluently, and were willing to relocate to Geneva—a lofty and challenging wish list.

So, how did their recruitment partner respond? By approaching every single detail to find a solution to their client’s problem.

This task, they realized, contained two distinct challenges: sourcing rare candidates and then convincing them to relocate and join the company. Addressing two challenges requires two solutions.

Solution 1: Sourcing

The team’s sourcing strategy for tracking down the right candidates included three tactics:

  1. Mapping the market of international law firms with a specialisation in Chinese markets and affairs
  2. Seeking referrals and recommendations from London-based Chinese lawyers’ networks
  3. Using both the team’s network and social media to actively target candidates with experience in large Chinese companies and an education and background in Europe

And that was the easy part.

Solution 2: Selling the Employer Story

Highly-sought-after candidates have unique motivations. It was up to the recruiting team to uncover and understand what these candidates aspire to and what they need. Why? So they could match their client’s assets as an employer to the desired candidates’ wish lists, creating a strong employee value proposition in the process.

They needed to sell a dream by way of a compelling story – one that shares how and why life will improve while working for their client. This naturally goes beyond compensation to include what the opportunity could mean for their careers and their lives.

By communicating this unique opportunity and selling its client’s brand story, the recruiting team, Badenoch + Clark Switzerland, succeeded in helping their client hire three top lawyers who all relocated to Geneva.

Why do organizations need problem-solvers?

Hiring employees with strong problem-solving skills, or people who excel at “working through details of a problem to reach a solution,” is imperative. Problem-solvers can revolutionize internal operations, identify and rectify risks, and successfully guide new product development.

“Organizations need people with problem-solving skills in nearly every type of role, no matter the level or the department,” says Christophe Duchatellier, Badenoch + Clark’s Global Head of Professional Recruitment.

How can you identify people with strong problem-solving skills?

This comes down to looking for related skills and asking the right questions. Consider people who demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Observation. Many problem-solvers aren’t just given problems to work through, they often identify or discover issues themselves due to their keen observation skills.
  • Curiosity. People who naturally ask questions and look for new and interesting ways to do things are more likely to solve problems through innovation.
  • Critical thinking. It’s one thing to notice a problem and another to see it as an opportunity to develop a better way.
  • Collaboration. When someone can work as part of a team and sincerely values others’ ideas, then they’re not only more likely to reach a creative solution, but they’ll also arrive there sooner than a single individual could.
  • Persistence. Solving problems usually isn’t a quick task or a simple fix. It often requires persistent trial-and-error.

“Problem solving is an essential soft skill—and not one you’ll be able to identify from a resume. Ask candidates to share a time when they struggled to solve a problem. How did they approach the challenge?” Duchatellier says. He also suggests offering a hypothetical situation relevant to your business, asking them to identify the issue and explain how they’d approach it.

Adding problem solvers to your team is essential to survival and growth. These are the people who turn your problems into new products or services, develop new policies or improve your operations.

Need help hiring problem solvers? It’s what we do. Our goal is to find the right person for your team—one who checks off all your requirements and fits with your culture. Contact us today to learn more about how we can work with you to develop your employer brand and hire great employees.