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Resources: Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

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Definition: The desire or willingness to do the minute yet important aspects of a task.

Greater Description: The willingness to check and recheck ones work for the smallest mistakes.

What the Trait is NOT: It does not measure a person’s ability to do detail correctly or to catch mistakes. In fact, I know many people, especially in management positions, who are great at doing detail but they hate it and don’t do it unless they have to. I know this because I tested them on my Detail test that measures the actual ability to do detail. However, people who like doing detail are usually good at it.

Closely Related Traits: Confronting Paperwork, Organization, and Concentration.

Note: In most cases it is advisable to have your candidates do the ability detail test especially if detail is important to the position and they did not do well on the aptitude assessment for detail.

Recommended Pre-Hire Assessments: SL Behavioral Aptitude, IC Behavioral Aptitude, Detail Test

TRAIT RANGES:

Extreme Low: 0 to 9. These people dislike messing with the finer points of a task. They will get frustrated quickly with the need to be exact and to recheck what they have done. If leaders, especially the big picture people, measure in this range, they should make sure they have others to delegate the detail work to. These people often do well in sales, customer service and other jobs dealing with people. This is not an indicator of attitude problems. WARNING: If “Organization” and “Confront Paperwork” are also low, this person is telling you in no uncertain terms they will be reluctant administrators.

Low Range: 10 to 39. These people don’t want to mess with the finer points of a task. They will get frustrated quickly with the need to be exact and to recheck what they have done. If leaders, especially the big picture people, measure in this range which is common, they should make sure they have others to delegate the detail work to. These people often do well in sales, customer service and other jobs dealing with people. WARNING: If “Organization” and “Confront Paperwork” are also low, this person is telling you in no uncertain terms they will be reluctant administrators or highly technical people.

Medium Range: 40 to 60. Shows a good balance between details and the overall picture and would be acceptable in most positions. This trait in this range would not adversely affect any position.

High Range: 61 to 90. These people love the challenges of getting the fine points right. They are happy to spend hours getting the most minute aspects right. These people can get so wrapped up in the details they miss the bigger picture, such as building relationships. These people make fine engineers, estimators, technicians, order entry workers, finish carpenters, clockmakers, accounting people and administrative assistants to name a few.

Extreme High: 91 to 100. These people love the challenges of getting the fine points right. They are happy to spend hours getting the most minutes aspects right. These people can get so wrapped up in the details they miss the bigger picture, such as building relationships. These people make fine engineers, estimators, technicians, order entry workers, finish carpenters, clockmakers, accounting people and administrative assistants to name a few. This is not an indicator of integrity/attitude problems.

 

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

Do you prefer to spend your time on the little things or the big things (can’t be both)?  (If they don’t know what you mean say this: Little things would include minor details getting something exactly right, checking for the most minor mistakes while big things would be getting projects done on time or discussing global ideas.)  Give some examples of the little things you like working on and the big things you like working on.  What little things didn’t you like working on?  What big things didn’t you like working on?  If you had to do one of those all day long, which would you prefer doing and which ones would you prefer not doing?  Why is that?  (Question their answers.)

What activity have you really enjoyed doing?  Why is that?

Have you ever been lost in the details of a job?

When have you paid too much attention to detail?

When have you realized you made a mistake after completing a project quickly?

Tip: Don’t telegraph the profile or the answers you would like to hear. Instead, ask questions where the correct answer is difficult to determine. For example, don’t ask, “Do you enjoy detail work?” (The obvious answer you’re looking for is that you love doing detail work, whereas the suggested first question’s purpose is not clear.)