Problem Solvers Vs Problem Finders

employers, candidates, Automotive...


On a site tour this week, a client I work with gave me a great Person Specification.

He simply said….

‘We are looking for Problem Solvers … not Problem Finders’

I recruit for Electrical Contractors in a variety of industries; This particular client works in the automotive industry. Within Automotive there are a lot of challenges that may not be found in other industries particularly because; Production is pretty much constant, every last space is filled with something productive,  there are moving robots, giant press machines & staff working at all times so it’s a really busy, loud industrial environment and the majority of the work is at height above the production areas; so it’s difficult to gain access to everything you need to at suitable working hours.

In this challenging environment it’s so important to find solutions quickly and fix any problems that arise as quickly as possible. So it is really important for us to find problem solvers; people who focus on the problem, analyse the situation drawing on their knowledge and experience to find a solution that works to reduce disruption to production & keep everyone safe.

Problem solving is an important skill for anyone looking to be successful in their work; It’s a skill as a recruiter I see less and less more recently –For example contractors going to work for us need to complete and return paperwork & ID to us so we can make sure we are complying with the Law and they get paid on time and correctly. We often take calls with many problems about printing the documents, scanning documents back. I Appreciate working long hours and getting access to a printer/ Scanner can actually be difficult (I have this problem every time I have to print a boarding pass!) so I do understand; but there is no use moaning about it – we have to comply with the Law if you want to be paid (I need a boarding pass to go on holiday) so it has to be done, so the quicker we find a solution… poof no more problem.

I do however think there is a place for Problem finders. It’s a question of perspective we need people to find problems BUT also think of solutions to fix the problem, improve, be innovative & Creative.

Stopping at the problem finding stage is basically just finding issues and moaning about them which is unproductive, can affect morale, de-motivate your team and doesn’t move you forward.

If you are a problem finder, try thinking of solutions before talking about the problems with other people and see how your whole perspective changes – If you’re a manager you will see the mind-set and perspective of your team become more positive and able to more confidently make decisions as their problem solving skills develop.