Growth Mindset


April 12, 2017 by kristamtam

Employers are always looking out for the best people for their company, the best fit and someone who’ll stay and really make a difference. That can be pretty hard to find.

As a result, the poor candidates get put through grilling tests: personality, psychometric, interviews, assessment days, experience days and more. Some employers, like Deloitte, take pity on their candidates and allow for gamification where someone plays a game to showcase a skill – a nicer way to recruit.

But even after all this, there is still a very high turnover of candidates, where people leave or the fit is not right or the candidate does not perform.

So what’s next?

It seems Growth Mindset and AIs are the way of the recruitment future. AIs are already here, recruiting students. Headstart for example uses an AI algorithms to shortlist and select.

Growth Mindset is the new player in the market – a tool to help identify what a person is like and their capabilities.  As a student of Psychology with a very strong interest in the brain, this sounds like an excellent concept. The idea is very simple – you have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, which are changeable I believe.

Fixed mindset means that you think you are either good or not at things and your attitude and predisposition is that you are what you are. The thinking is then very ‘nature’  (rather than ‘nurture’ ) – you are born with what you’re born with and there are limits to your growth.

Growth mindset is a different attitude. It’s an idea that you are forever changeable and that you can learn and get better. It’s all about attitude and if you think you can do it – you will very likely get there.

All of this is based in science, which pleases me greatly. The brain is a wonderful thing  and if you can believe something, if you have the right attitude – your brain can probably fulfill it. The feeling has to be strong, to make the change.

I personally believe that your attitude and how you think is where the strength lies. If you convince yourself that you are able to learn and you will be better – you can be. This is actually something I practice and preach to my students, friends, family – change from the inside. A slightly unrelated but equally strong representation of the power of the brain is when I convinced my fiancee who’s been severely struggling with hayfever for over 30 years that it’s all in his head and if he believes that he does not have hayfever – the symptoms will go away.

We experimented where he was not allowed to take his usual medication that he has taken for 30 years and instead focused his mind of thinking that he is absolutely fine and thinking he does not have any symptoms. The focus was all about how healthy he feels and how heyfever is not real. The result was amazing – he did not take any hayfever medication for a year and his symptoms were minimal to none, even in peak blossom times. Just goes to show the power of the mind.

Coming back to the recruitment applications of the idea of Growth Mindset – if a company can find a person who is willing to learn and sees no barriers or even enlighten the fixed mindset colleagues about the advantages of believing in yourself and seeing how things can be – that creates a very flexible, adoptable and innovative workforce which will have the capability to become market leaders. Some employers are tapping into this new idea already, companies like Google, GE and Microsoft.

To test someone’s mindset, you could ask questions like:

  • Tell us about how you’ve grown?
  • Describe a time you found difficult and how you approached it?
  • If you are asked to perform a task you’re completely unfamiliar with – how do you approach it?
  • If you are a superhero in your world, who is your villain and why?
  • What do people around you think of you? – this is a good emotional intelligence checking question as well
  • You are allowed to undertake any personal development you’d like – what do you choose and why?

The above are my ideas of what could be asked but I would love to hear yours too – so please do comment below.

So the future, from my perspective, will consist of ever-learners who’re open to anything and nothing is too impossible of an achievement controlling AI based machines and blossoming within this technologically savvy unexpected and unpredictable world.

For further reading about Growth Mindset, check out this article. 


One thought on “Growth Mindset

  1. Paul Laing says:

    The article was thoughtful and does highlight a real issue not for the young graduates of today, but also individuals who have changing careers, or been made redundant. Being i. A job for some years you lose touch with the ever changing job market.

    No longer can you just dust off your CV. Kristina has clearly highlighted how technology is moving the goal posts and all job seekers need to realise this.

    Really good article, well researched.

    Paul Laing


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