Talent Acquisition

How the Learning Quotient Will Change the Hiring Process

As recruiters, we must constantly look ahead to try and anticipate workplace trends. One area we’re keeping an eye on is the learning quotient (LQ) concept, which measures a candidate’s potential and their willingness to adapt to challenges in the workplace. Both your candidates and clients will benefit from learning about the LQ, as this new way of hiring may change the recruitment landscape forever.

What is the learning quotient?

The term ‘learning quotient’ came from Jennifer Carpenter, Head of Global Recruiting at Accenture in 2017. She was one of the first to talk about the concept in a recruitment context, suggesting that those looking to hire new staff should put less emphasis on traditional screening processes, and instead look at their ability and willingness to learn. She believes that recruiters are missing out on the full scope of what will make a candidate a great hire, including their creativity and their love of learning. Fast forward to the present day, and this concept is starting to gain traction, with multiple online tests available for anyone to try. These tests are a good place for your candidates to start learning about the process, as they will give them an indication of their LQ and highlight any areas they may need to develop.

How can it change the hiring processes?

As lateral and diagonal career progression and multiple career changes become more prevalent, an emphasis on a candidate’s potential is all the more important. As LQ measures a person’s ability and willingness to learn, it follows that they will be a good hire in a recruitment landscape that is constantly changing. LQ measurement has come about alongside other predictions, like AI-assisted CV selection and new hybrid job titles, as an alternative candidate selection process.

It’s hard to say exactly when this practice will start to be adopted on a wide-scale. While some companies have already started to develop LQ tests for their hiring process, it’s yet to become the norm.

Practically, the way in which LQ will be incorporated into the hiring process is yet unknown but, it’s likely to be in the form of tests. Carpenter suggests that these tests may actually come to replace CVs entirely, as they are becoming “very analog in the digital world”, and are screening people out when they may be exactly right for the job at hand.

What your clients should know

You can help your clients start to identify LQ in their hiring process so that they start to recognize it as a legitimate means of screening candidates. Begin by educating them about what it is, and how it will mean moving away from traditional hiring practices. Ask them if they would consider looking at some of the available tests online and incorporating them into their standard questions during the interview.

Encourage them to help their current employees by introducing learning and training initiatives if they haven’t already. Whether this involves setting aside a set time each week for blue-sky thinking, modeling learning behaviors themselves, or implementing coaching and mentoring initiatives, these will increase their employee’s LQ and make them feel supported in their professional development.

What your candidates should know

Introduce the idea of a LQ to your candidates if they haven’t yet heard of it. You can do this by encouraging them to read up about the topic, or by taking one of the free online tests available. If they’re then confident enough to start the conversation with future employers, they’ll demonstrate that they’re ahead of the curve and ready to adapt to the changing nature of career progression. This will open up more opportunities for them, and knowledge of their LQ will make them a more competitive hire. If they’re currently in a role, they can take advantage of training and development opportunities, and challenge themselves by putting their hand up for projects and situations to extend their existing knowledge base.

By David Morel

David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, London’s leading recruitment agency for business, private and virtual support recruitment. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.