Key factors for analytical skills
There are several activities you and other employees in your business can undertake to develop your analytical skills. Engaging in these activities regularly can strengthen the analytical skills of employees across your organization:
- Communicating with others
- Creation and development
- Workplace assessment and evaluation
- Data and information analysis
- Learning new skills
Communicating with others
Communicating with colleagues, customers and clients helps develop analytical skills because it requires constant processing of information. You can also improve your analytical skills by explaining your analysis to others. Both verbal and written communication can have beneficial effects. Participating in team-building exercises, delivering customer service and giving presentations all provide opportunities for communication.
Creation and development
Creating workplace content often requires analytical skills, as potential problems and areas for improvement must be identified and solutions found. Participating in creative processes, including brainstorming and collaboration, can improve analytical skills. That is because the more you are involved in problem-solving, the more natural finding solutions becomes. Creating a wide range of content can strengthen analytical skills, including creating budgets, strategic plans, marketing campaigns and new products.
Workplace assessment and evaluation
Workplace assessment and evaluation tasks require employees to apply their analytical skills to make businesses better. During these tasks, employees analyze workplace processes, products and marketing and determine how they could be more successful. They use their attention to detail to identify important information and anomalies, which may indicate errors in the data. Strong analytical skills help employees find better solutions for their company.
Data and information analysis
Workers in a range of fields also evaluate information from outside their organization during data and information analysis tasks. Employees analyzing industry trends, government policies and other factors that may assess their business must examine large volumes of data and look for patterns in it. This practice goes beyond reading and involves deep comprehension and analytical skills.
Sometimes employees must perform independent research, rather than having data and information presented to them. During the research, employees must use their analytical skills to define the scope of their research, identify which resources and information are valuable to them and synthesize this information for use. Research often occurs in conjunction with data and information analysis.
Learning new skills
Learning new skills encourages you to engage and use your brain in new ways because it encourages active participation, rather than passive information absorption. This deeper cognitive function will make you a better analytical thinker by stimulating your brain and improving your knowledge. Your analytical skills will encourage you to question why you perform the new skills in a particular way and discover ways to connect your new skills to your current duties.
Three places candidates can show analytical skills
Candidates can show you they have analytical skills in several ways throughout the hiring process. Look for evidence of analytical skills in the following places to hire candidates with this vital skill set:
- Resume: Analytical, critical thinking, problem-solving and evaluation are all keywords candidates may include on their resume to show they have analytical skills. You could look for these and related keywords on resumes or enter them into recruitment management software to screen applicants.
- Cover letter: Candidates with strong analytical skills often include analytical and related keywords in their cover letter. Look for both the presence of these words and examples of times they showed their analytical skills.
- Job interview: Candidates should also mention examples of times they used their analytical skills during the job interview. Ask questions about their experience using analytical skills, especially for tasks relevant to the position, to determine whether an applicant is best suited to the position.
Related:How to Read a Resume
Analytical skills FAQs
Browse the following FAQs for answers to common questions about analytical skills:
How can you test analytical skills in an interview?
Asking questions that encourage candidates to share their experiences and share problem-solving solutions can help you identify job applicants with strong analytical skills. Ask candidates for examples of times in their life that they have relied on their analytical skills. Asking questions about the candidates’ decision-making processes or research techniques can also reveal details of their analytical skills.
You could also pose hypothetical scenarios, such as dealing with an unsatisfied customer or seeing sales drop suddenly, and ask candidates how they would handle these challenges. Candidates with the best analytical skills will take all relevant factors into consideration. They may even ask questions for more information to help them make the right decision.
Give your candidates plenty of time to answer these questions. People who have strong analytical skills stop to consider and review all the information they have rather than making quick decisions.
Can analytical skills be taught?
Analytical skills can be developed over time by solving problems, working in teams and other activities. However, most people believe analytical ability is an inborn quality. This natural ability is built on over time, as people are exposed to problem-solving techniques, rather than taught. Hiring managers must decide how much time they can devote to helping someone hone their analytical skills when hiring a new employee for a role with a strong analytical focus.
Do all employees need analytical skills?
All employees need analytical skills to identify and solve problems that occur at work. Challenges occur for employees at all levels across all industries, but analytical skills help workers manage them. However, some roles, including data analyst and manager, require stronger analytical skills than some other roles, such as cashier or waiter.