15.05.2021 | Blog 4 |

Structured Thinking – a popular hiring requirement

| How often do you read formulations like “You provide an analytical approach and structured thinking” or “Strong analytical and structured thinking characterizes you” in the profile requirements of job advertisements? The competence of structured thinking is increasingly being looked for in job advertisements as an essential prerequisite for employment. The first question that arises here is what exactly is meant by structured thinking and where is it an advantage?


What is meant by structured thinking?

Structured thinking or “system thinking” refers to the ability to recognize long-term consequences as well as fundamental systems within current, operational events and to classify them correctly (Vogel, 2018). Such basic systems can be understood as hierarchies, standards and guidelines as well as contexts.

The recognition of a certain system in everyday life helps an individual to better understand his or her world system. Those who think in a structured way or have a structured approach know how to give systems an appropriate significance and thus better classify issues (Vogel, 2018). The abilities of classifying and estimating play a special role. If issues can be correctly classified or assessed, situations, problems, priorities or coherences can be recognized and approached more effectively.


Why is structured thinking an essential soft skill in the working world?

Structured thinking can be used in a wide variety of situations and is even mandatory in some. Especially positions that require fast action, involve many change processes and encompass larger work areas require a structured approach because such positions often have a more complex structure than smaller, routine work areas. In addition, more complex and larger work areas give rise to more problem situations that need to be solved quickly.

In such environments, structured thinking can help to make more complex issues accessible. By perceiving coherences and processes, more complex structures can first be broken down analytically. In this way, individual issues can be better understood, and problems can be recognized as well as solved more quickly. By assessing or classifying contexts analytically, work structures can be better adapted. For example, structured thinking enables essential tasks to be differentiated from unessential ones.

This in turn has a positive effect on one’s own way of working, or more concretely, on one’s own productivity.
Furthermore, structured thinking promotes a critical mindset. It encourages people to scrutinize structures, processes or decisions more deeply and to conduct targeted error analysis.



Structured thinking is an essential hiring criterion. It is required in many different situations and enables people to perceive their environment in a more structured way. This results in many positive advantages, which promote a fast, analytical and efficient way of working.

Within the Hartman Value Profile, the ability of structured thinking can be measured. Candidates are asked to understand, evaluate and then arrange 18 statements in terms of their own value system.

High scores in the dimension “Structured Thinking” suggest a strong strategic analysis ability (ability). Additionally, high scores ascribe a strong “will to analyze” (willingness) to the candidates, which indicates a keen process orientation and systematic working (Vogel, 2018). Since such skills are crucial in the working world, which is not least evident in job profiles, structured thinking is one of the essential competencies taken into account in the HVP and at the same time considered as a popular hiring requirement.


Author: Dimitra Sismanidou, May 2021
Copyright: IAM Global GmbH



Vogel, U. (2018). Profilingvalues: Handbuch. System, Anwendungen und Interpretation des Reports. Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Profilingvalues.