Thompson has different ways of assessing in candidates the skills mapped by University of Phoenix’s MBA program. For decision-making skills, he’ll ask them to talk about a project or task they were responsible for, then to define and rationalize important decisions made during its lifecycle.
For communication skills, he says, “I engage the applicant on a topic that they’re going to have to spend some time explaining,” like an accomplishment listed on their resumé.
For operations skills, he looks for candidates to discuss a product through the lens of customer service, capabilities to alert and alarm and problem-ticket management.
“Most [recent graduates I’ve interviewed] lack an understanding of risk management and governance,” he says. “That’s an important skill, and one that I would associate with a potential leader.”
But how can someone demonstrate leadership skills when they’ve never led a team? How can a newly minted MBA graduate show their management skills beyond just pointing to the classes on their transcript?
According to Thompson, interviewing is the most important part of the hiring process — because it’s in interviews that they can really assess whether a candidate has the skills they’ve already mapped. Interviews, Sylvester says, are how he determines whether a candidate can apply the skills listed on their résumé to real-world problems. “It’s scenarios,” he says. “It’s inductive and deductive reasoning.”
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