Alan Nicol, Executive Member of AlanNicolSolutions, discusses the importance of hiring on wisdom for experts and mid-level leadership at

Nicol asserts that you can not hire simply based on how well-versed and educated a prospect is. In other words, a certain amount of “wisdom” on how to best apply such knowledge is necessary to tackle issues that businesses face.

The traditional Contextual Interviewing method is still a good way to tease out an interviewee’s understanding of concepts, but relies on asking the right questions. In short, employers must be sure to ask questions that reveal a potential employee’s real comprehension of a subject.

Alan goes on to present several ways to determine an interviewee’s understanding of Six Sigma (which is essentially about dealing with variation and consistency) and Lean (which is about fighting waste).

When asking about Six Sigma, don’t focus on the tools. Instead, look for understanding how they can improve performance. Questions include:

  • How do you decide when a problem requires Six Sigma?
  • If asked to, how would you rename Six Sigma? Why?
  • What is the future of Six Sigma?
  • How would you resolve a problem in a way that departs from Six Sigma tells you to do?
  • Why do you believe in the efficacy of Six Sigma?

When asking about Lean, focus on how to identify and remove waste. Questions include:

  • If you take a prospect out for a meal, ask them to point out examples of waste in a restaurant.
  • Is having waste every a good thing?
  • Can you give you an example where you’ve worked with identifying and solving waste?
  • Are there any definitions of waste you would rename?
  • What is the source of most waste?
  • Should all waste be eliminated? Is it even possible?