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How high is your adaptability quotient and why is it important?

In today's highly dynamic work environment, the ability to move quickly and adapt to new situations is more important than ever. Employers are placing agility higher and higher on the list of required human skills when hiring new employees. So chances are that your AQ or adaptability quotient will become decisive in your next job application. But what exactly is the adaptability quotient? How do you measure your AQ? And how can you emphasise your AQ to a potential new employer? Valentine Leseine, recruitment consultant at international recruitment firm Robert Walters explains.  

What exactly is the adaptability quotient? 

The adaptability quotient, also known as AQ, is a measure of an individual's ability to adapt to change, new circumstances and uncertainty. However, it goes a step further: this term also includes proactively embracing change and seizing the opportunities it brings. With a high AQ, you are able to learn quickly, implement new technologies and find creative solutions to unforeseen challenges. 

"By incorporating the adaptability quotient into the recruitment process, organisations can gain a competitive advantage."

"They attract resilient, proactive professionals who continue productivity during periods of change. They also have an eye for innovation, which helps to future-proof the organisation." 

How do you measure your AQ?  

Valentine: "There are no set rules for measuring adaptability quotient, and you can't assign a value to it like, say, IQ. However, you can get an idea of your own adaptability through self-assessment. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions:  

  1. How eager to learn are you?  
    Do you like learning new skills and expanding your knowledge, even if it is outside your comfort zone?   

  2. How do you deal with challenges?  
    How do you react to unexpected problems at work? Are you able to remain calm and come up with flexible and thoughtful solutions? 

  3. How do you deal with change?  
    Have you worked in different teams or projects before? How have you dealt with changes in working methods or team dynamics? Perhaps you have already made significant changes within the organisation yourself? 

Curiosity, problem-solving ability, stress resistance and flexibility are all characteristics that contribute to your AQ." 

How do you emphasise your AQ? 

"Do you consider your adaptability one of your assets as an employee? Then don't hesitate to mention this human skill on your CV," says Valentine. "If you have already participated in certain innovation projects, such as implementing new software or optimising working procedures for example, these certainly deserve a place on your CV too. Prepare well for the job interview by thinking in advance about situations where you were flexible and creative in solving problems or dealing with change." 

More than just AQ 

"As important as adaptability and flexibility are for employers, AQ will never completely replace the other criteria on which applicants are assessed," Valentine knows. "Some positions require strong analytical skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are more likely to be related to IQ or cognitive ability. In turn, EQ or emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in team dynamics and effective cooperation. So AQ cannot be viewed separately, but adds an additional aspect to the picture formed of the candidate, as a person and as an employee."


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Have a look at our latest jobs or contact one of our offices.

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