How do you spot candidates with sense-making skills? 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 to follow. With good sense-making skills, the employee can have a better grasp of the situation and the information can facilitate him in making a sound decision.

As simple as this may sound, 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.

How do I test candidates for their sense-making skills?

  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.

You can get more questions and other candidate selection templates for free on Prehireforms. Prehireforms can also help you automatically rank your candidates in their achieved scores based on your selected job match criteria, further saving your time to identify your top candidates.

Need help or do you have more questions? Write to Lisa, your candidate assistant at [email protected]. She’s always happy to help!

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