Why Employers Like Problem Solvers

January 1, 2013

Creativity is about having ideas and thinking new thoughts. It's about solving a problem in a new way rather than in the manner one’s been trained to do.

When I was a recruiter for a large research center, the number one skill I was looking for in a candidate was problem solving.  A candidate who viewed a challenging problem as a opportunity was much more favorable than one who treated a difficult problem as an unpleasant task.

Individuals with a passion for problem solving are success-driven.  They have mental stamina.  They will continue to develop their problem solving skills after they are hired. To them, the cup is neither half empty nor half full. It is midpoint. They know that the ability to make it full lies with their ability to create a vision and to see it through completion. The wrong attitude or an intellectually lazy one yields failure.

In the workplace, problems come up daily and opportunities can be lost or won at the hands of good decision-making. The best employees are those who are competent at identifying a problem and then eagerly and effectively attacking the problem with an arsenal of well-developed problem-solving tools.

That's why individuals who are good at problem solving are the best hires, both now and when it comes time for promotion.

Professor Ed Meyer, Ph.D., teaches undergraduate problem solving courses and a graduate business course in problem solving that emphasizes risk management.Meyer and BW student Joe Luchsinger '13 have co-authored The Gedanken Institute Book of Puzzles. The book contains a variety of problems that can be used to develop problem-solving ability. It is available at the BW bookstore and online at the Gedanken Institute website. His book, "Naked Physics," presents numerous physics problems that challenge a reader's problem-solving skills without requiring formal physics training.During the summer he teaches a week-long Problem Solving Institute at Baldwin-Wallace for 12-17 year-olds looking for an intellectual challenge.