How will you know if a candidate has "sense-making skills"?
How do you measure "Common Sense" in a candidate?
Is Common Sense is no longer common?  

Employees with good sense-making skills can help them to make sense of complex situations where the scenario is foreign to them and there are no guidelines or rules within the organisations. The ability to quickly distribute the information and review them, which can reduce the possibility of incorrect judgment.

As simple as this may sound, many companies are complaining that some of their employees do not have the ability to make sense of things.

What is Sense Making Skill?

Employees with Sense-Making skills can organize and analyze data and information accurately to identify relationships and detect patterns and trends to gain insights for decision-making.
– Skills Framework by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)

You can view the full list of skills and their descriptions here.

In short, the candidate should minimally be able to identify relationships and linkages within different components of data. This skill is also labeled as the basic level of Sense-Making skills by the Skills Framework by SSG.

Sense-Making skills is also listed by Institute for the Future for Apollo Group as one of the 10 future of work skills needed for 2020.

The good news is, there are ways you can test sense-making skills in your candidates.

4 skills assessment template to test common sense:

  1. Some months have 31 days, but how many have 28?
  2. Jonathan left home for soccer and throws a soccer ball ten feet, and it turns around and goes right back at him. In which direction did he throw it? (Select one: Left, right, up, down)
  3. A small fire just started in your house. Even though you have a fire extinguisher at home, you have never used it before. What would you do? (Select one: Scream to ask for help, Try to figure out how to use the fire extinguisher, Run out and leave the house, Call the fireman to ask for help.)
  4. Information shared by others often is unable to help me with my sense-making. I depend on my gut feeling when analysing the situation. (Agree or Disagree?)

    Answers below...

Can Sense-Making Skills be trained?

The good news is, yes, sense-making skills can be trained. You just need to adopt the right approach when you train to improve their sense-making skills.

As quoted from Israel History Professor Yuval Harari as published on UK Wired Magazine:

In such a world, the last thing a teacher needs to give her pupils is more information. They already have far too much of it. Instead, people need the ability to make sense of information, to tell the difference between what is important and what is unimportant, and above all to combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world.

More sense-making assessment questionnaires available on Prehireforms Questions Library here.

You may also be interested in Skills Assessment Templates for:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Common Sense
  4. Lifelong Learning / Willingness to Learn
  5. Managing Diversity Skills
  6. Problem Solving Skills
  7. Leadership
  8. Teamwork
  9. Creative Thinking

For more candidate assessment test questions, go to, candidate screening platform for hiring right.

Need help with customizing your assessments? Write in to Lisa at [email protected].

Happy shortlisting!

And here's the answers to the questions above:

  1. All months have 28 days!
  2. Up
  3. Try to figure out how to use the fire extinguisher! (At least try! There is an instruction label and it's designed to be easy to use)
  4. Disagree