How Goldman Sachs Decides Whether A Job Candidate Is A ‘Critical Thinker’

Goldman sachs trader patch
Goldman Sachs asks interviewees to evaluate stock pitches to see if they’re critical thinkers. REUTERS / Brendan Mcdermid

“Critical-thinking skills” are frequently listed in the requirements of job postings advertised by top companies, but it’s a talent that is often hard to define.

The Wall Street Journal reports that hiring managers at Goldman Sachs, recently ranked by LinkedIn as one of the world’s 100 most in-demand employers, are looking for someone who is able to “make use of information that’s available in their journey to arrive at a conclusion or decision.”

The investment bank’s global head of recruiting, Michael Damaris, tells the WSJ that in order to determine whether a job candidate is, in fact, a critical thinker, the company likes to ask interviewees to evaluate a company’s market valuation or a stock pitch.

By explaining how they arrived at their conclusion about the worth of a company’s stock, Desmarais says the applicants reveal their critical-thinking processes.

Goldman explains in a 2011 post on its company blog that it also likes to judge creativity and problem-solving in its prospective employees.

It does this by asking brain-teasers like, “How many manhole covers there are in New York City?” and requiring interviewees to design a procedure for finding a solution.

“This answer may or may not be correct, but the important thing is to demonstrate one’s approach to problem-solving,” the company writes.