The Physical abilities

When rope is selling at $.10 a foot, how many feet can you buy for $.60?

Assume the first two statements are true. Is the final one:
1. true 2. false 3. not certain?

a. The boy plays baseball
b. All baseball players wear hats
c. The boy wears a hat.

The Wonderlic is both a speed (almost nobody has time to answer every question) and power (questions get harder as you go along) test, so the average score is pretty low – about 21/50. And because it is able to provide valid information at a cheap price ($2 – $6 /applicant), more and more companies are using the Wonderlic in hiring decisions. For example the Factory Card and Party Outlet, which has 182 stores nationwide, use the Wonderlic. So does Subway, Peoples Flowers, Security alarm, Workforce Employment Solutions, and many others. Most companies that use the Wonderlic don’t use it in place of other hiring tools like applications forms or the interview. Rather, they add the Wonderlic as another source of information – in this case, because of the Wonderlic’s ability to provide valid data on applicants’ intelligence levels.

Interestingly, while intelligence is a big help in performing a job well, it doesn’t make people happier or more satisfied with their jobs. The correlation between intelligence and job satisfaction is about zero. Why? Research suggests that although intelligent people perform better and tend to have more interesting jobs, they also are more critical in evaluating their job conditions. Thus, smart people have it better, but they also expect more.

In the past decade and a half, researchers have begun to expand the meaning of intelligence beyond mental abilities. Some researchers believe that intelligence can be better understood by breaking it down into four subparts: cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural. Cognitive intelligence encompasses the aptitudes that have long been tapped by traditional intelligence tests. Social intelligence is a person’s ability to relate effectively to others. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions. And cultural intelligence is awareness of cross cultural differences and the ability to function successfully in cross cultural situations. It’s important to note that this line of inquiry toward multiple intelligences is in its fancy, and the claims made don’t always match the scientific evidence. Furthermore measuring intelligences other than cognitive intelligence has not proven to be easy. Of course, there are many cases in which so called smart people those with high cognitive intelligence don’t necessarily adapt well to everyday life, work well with others or succeed when laced in leadership roles.

To the same degree that intellectual abilities play a larger role in complex jobs with demanding information processing requirements, specific physical abilities gain importance for successfully doing less skilled and more standardized jobs. For example, jobs in which success demands stamina, manual dexterity, leg strength, or similar talents require management to identify an employee’s physical capabilities.

The research on the requirements needed in hundreds of jobs has identified nine basic abilities involved in the performance of physical tasks. These are described below.

Nine Basic Physical Abilities:

Strength Factors:

1. Dynamic strength: Ability to exert muscular force repeatedly or continuously over time.
2. Trunk strength: Ability to exert muscular strength using the trunk (particularly abdominal) muscles.
3. Static strength: Ability to exert force against external objects
4. Explosive strength: Ability to expend a maximum of energy in one or a series of explosive acts.

Flexibility Factors:

5. Extent flexibility: Ability to move the trunk and back muscles as far as possible
6. Dynamic flexibility; Ability to make rapid, repeated flexing movements

Other Factors:

7. Body coordination: Ability to coordinate the simultaneous actions of different parts of the body.
8. Balance: Ability to maintain equilibrium despite forces pulling off balance.
9. Stamina: Ability to continue maximum effort requiring prolonged effort over time.

Individuals differ in the extent to which they have each of these abilities. Not surprisingly there is also little relationship among them: A high score on one is no assurance of a high score on others. High employee performance is likely to be achieved when management has ascertained the extent to which a job requires each of the nine abilities and then ensures that employers in the job have those abilities.