Lateral Thinking for Job Seekers

Picture this scenario.

You are in a job interview with a hiring manager who is asking “Can you give me an example of a difficult moment, when you had to think differently to get a good outcome?’ The interviewer is assessing your ability in solving problems.

We could respond using vertical thinking and describe solving the problem with a thoughtful, critical and progressive style. However, the question is stressing “think differently – are you able to creatively solve problems using an indirect and creative approach?”

Although the question has no right or wrong answer, it may be a vital moment, a tipping point, in securing this job which is exactly the one you have been waiting for.

In the changing world of work, thinking laterally as well as thinking vertically, is highly valued across a range of industries and professions, including retail, law, media, management consultancy and Information Technology.

For those aspiring to a leadership role, thinking laterally is priceless in winning team confidence, respect and cooperation and striving to get work accomplished through others.

Lateral thinking turns up an idea, whereas vertical thinking develops it. Vertical thinking looks for answers, whereas lateral thinking looks for questions. Thinking laterally considers “let us change the way we view the situation”, whereas thinking vertically says “this is the best way.”

Practicing thinking laterally generates a new storyline with ideas and a fresh outlook by escaping from old routines. We can create a different conversation with hiring managers and change our career direction.

Changing our thoughts from the current view of our job situation to a better view can cause confusion as the new storyline generates a multitude of ideas and choices. We might fear failure. By using a system, we can assess what job information we have and predict where, as a job seeker, the quest might possibly go in the wrong direction. Without lateral thinking, we are stuck with doing the same old thing. In thinking laterally, we create a different conversation with the hiring managers.

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Eilleen Shields

About Eilleen Shields

Eilleen Shields is Principal Partner of Shield Talented Professionals, a Proactive Recruiting Partner and Job Ready Coach with expertise in ICT, Project Management, Training and Recruiting