How can you assess ‘professional curiosity’?

After another tragic case of child cruelty and neglect hit the headlines recently, the comment was made in the aftermath that social workers lacked “professional curiosity” in the way they accepted the word of the mother in the case regarding her child’s injuries as accidental.

This got me thinking about how one might assess ‘professional curiosity’ in a recruitment situation – something that indeed seems likely to rise up the agenda when social workers are being recruited in the future.

Occupational personality assessment exercises can indeed explore relevant aspects of work–based style in this area, including: an evaluative and questioning approach; the ability to spot flaws and inconsistencies in information; less willingness to take things at face-value; and less willingness to extend trust towards others. Perhaps an eye for detail in important too, combined with the inclination to look more conceptually and in a broader way at problems.

But there may also be aspects of ability required too; some ability tests can explore the capacity to spot connections and patterns in disparate information which others may not necessarily see.
Clearly there is an urgent need to explore this critically important area if further tragedies of this type are to be avoided.