I recently read an article about how the next sought-after job skills will be critical and creative thinking.

Wow, did that make me happy.

As a student at a large university, I have always felt I was “lesser” than some of my peers who are studying engineering, computer science, or biology. Here I am, the advertising major. Which, apparently, if you aren’t a math or science major, you are considered to be a “blow-off student.” I don’t know when the heck that happened, but I can tell you that I am a student at a Big Ten University in a top-ranked program, and I am by no means a “blow-off student.”

This made me think about how big a role critical and creative thinking has played in my life as a student, an employee, and as a person. I strongly believe that most of my accomplishments have been because I am a critical and creative thinker. I mean, that probably has something to do with me being at a very elementary level on InDesign and working at a design studio, right?

So how the heck do you know if you are hiring critical, creative thinkers? Employers obviously want these people, but how do you know when a candidate actually possess these traits?

Look beyond the GPA, the test scores, and the numbers. Obviously, look for someone competent. But don’t rule out a candidate out because they have a 3.5 and another has a 3.97. Someone who is considered a critical thinker doesn’t just regurgitate information and memorize textbooks. So, when you interview them, what do you ask? Ask questions that will challenge their creativity. Ask open-ended questions. Critical thinkers will often go on tangents when answering questions because they aren’t answering with a script. They are thinking the question through. Ask about their experience and look for them to talk about their passions—not just their job titles and what they did. Ask them why they did it.

Thinking back to my interview at Redhead, I’m pretty sure I didn’t knock it out of the park. They asked me what I would charge if I was hired to wash all the windows in Seattle. You know what I said? Well, I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle so I’d probably do it for free for a while. (*facepalm*)

Anyway, the end of the article said these people will starve for a few years, but eventually, their skills will be extremely valuable. I’m OK with that.