Definition: One of the four main general emotional competency traits. This one is closely related to the Concentration trait. Focus is the ability to place one’s attention on the most important priorities and get them done. Focus is also the ability to listen to others. Someone with focus can
- pay attention to tasks and priorities
- identify what’s important and act accordingly
- stay on task in relation to other priorities.
If people are able to focus, they can listen to what is needed, prioritize their actions and meet customer and management deadlines.
Those who can’t focus go from activity to activity and are easily sidetracked. They may look busy or normal but don’t get results. This type of weakness may also show up with an extremely high ability to apply trait.
What the Trait is NOT: A desire or willingness to focus. It is more the ability to focus.
Job Requirement: Needed for most jobs but especially for the more technical and administrative ones.
Closely Related Traits: Concentration.
REGARDLESS OF HOW HIGH OR LOW THIS TRAIT IS YOU CANNOT MAKE A COMPETENCY JUDGMENT ON ONE TRAIT ALONE.
The Wimbush SL has 15 questions for Focus and the Wimbush IC has 18.
Extreme Low: 0 to 20. Low scores on this trait show the person lacks the ability to listen to what is needed or to place one’s attention on the most important priorities and get them done. Scores in this range are extremely rare and should be of great concern to hiring managers.
Low Range: 5 to 45. Low scores on this trait show the person could lack ability to listen, to place one’s attention on the most important priorities and get them done. The type of job position makes a big difference to a high or low score on this trait. For example, this is what a client said about an applicant who got a 39 on focus and 40 on concentration, “Focuses on tasks that are non-essential.”
Medium Range: 46 to 60. The borderline reading on this trait is 50.
High Range: 61 to 89. These people have the ability to listen to what is needed, or to place their attention on the most important priorities and get them done.
Concern: Low Focus (Below 20 and Concentration Trait below 30).
These are the same questions used on the Concentration Trait.
Are you more comfortable alone in a cubicle or in a more open environment with others? Why is that? (Ask more questions about it.)
What type of things distract you from your work (don’t accept, “nothing”)? Why is that? (Ask more questions about it.)
What else distracts you from your work (don’t accept, “nothing”)? Why is that? (Ask more questions about it.)
What works best for you when prioritizing your work?
(Change your line of questioning before the candidate learns what you are concerned about.)
What is your philosophy on dealing with work priorities?
What works best for you in fighting off distractions to get work done? What experience have you had with that?
What is your philosophy on dealing with distractions?
When have you have had to stop one project or task to start or complete another? How did you decide which one was more important?
Tell about a time when you too many tasks to handle. How did you prioritize them? What steps did you take to complete them all? How did you decide which ones to start with? Why were those particular tasks the priority?
What was the most complex project you have worked on? How did you approach each step? How did you organize your time and efforts? What side tracked your efforts?