The business environment is constantly changing.
New technologies are making it more complex and volatile.
We live in uncertain times.
With this in mind, it makes sense that the way we hire our people should change too.
Competency based appraisals and appointments are becoming more and more questionable.
What made an executive successful in a previous role can be irrelevant in the fast changing competitive environments, where companies strategies must change to keep pace with technological changes, market changes, and working practices
So whats the answer?… Focus more on candidate potential
What You Will Learn
• Why we need to change our hiring practices
• Putting more focus on candidate potential
• Potential indicators
• Qualities of potential
• Judging a candidates potential
• Other skills to consider
Why Change Our Hiring Practices?
There are two forces hurting businesses when it comes to hiring and making talent scare… globalisation and succession planning.
On the globalisation front, the world is becoming a much smaller place.
Technology and communication innovations are making it easier to grow your business into a worldwide concern.
This means that the demand for talent widens.
The talent pool available in area is being dipped into by companies worldwide.
Talent has more opportunity… you have more competition for this talent.
In terms of succession planning, many companies are failing to develop a pipeline of future leaders within their business.
As their staff leave or retire, they are forced to head back out into the talent pools to fill the void.
It’s clear to see that globalisation and succession planning (failures) are creating an increased need to change our hiring practices.
More competition means we have to change our ways, in order to achieve success.
Look, we know that we must get the right people into our business.
Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring, is the single most important element of success.
Let me explain how we can change…
The Goldmine That Is Potential
Potential is the ability to adapt to and grow into increasingly complex roles and environments
In my opinion its the most important determinant of success, especially when it comes to more senior roles.
As I mentioned when we started, the changing environment demands that our employees have to change.
It makes sense that we focus more on potential.
Now, potential is difficult to judge…
The First Indicator Of Potential
A good first indicator of potential is motivation.
People of high potential have that fierce commitment to excel in pursuit of goals.
And I’m not just talking about personal goals.
People of high potential are motivated more by collective goals… what I call ‘big picture goals’.
They have the desire to leave their mark, and have the commitment to continuously improve and grow.
Now, motivation is seen as stable… what do I mean by that?
Well, motivation is somewhat of a unconscious quality, and doesn’t change much overnight.
Say, if a person is driven by selfish motivates, you’re not going to see these change in most cases.
Four Qualities of Potential
Some research I read recently (sorry, for the life of me I can’t remember where), highlighted four qualities that are hallmarks of potential:
Curiosity: a desire to seek out new experiences and knowledge, along with a willingness to learning and change
Insight: ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities
Engagement: ability to use emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people
Determination: the fight within for difficult goals and ability to bounce back from failure
Everyone involved in the recruitment stage must understand these qualities and how we can spot them in candidates.
How Can We Judge A Candidate’s Potential?
Its super important that we delve into the candidates personal and professional history.
We do this by conducting in-depth and detailed interviews.
We need to carry out reference checks, looking out for any stories or examples that demonstrate the qualities mentioned above.
Look for signs of self improvement… someone that enjoys learning… someone that is able to learn from mistakes and move forward.
Some good questions to ask would be:
• How do you react when challenged?
• Do you invite input from?
• What do you do to improve yourself?
• How do you broaden your thinking, outlook, etc?
• How have you fostered learning in your organisation?
• How do you seek out the unknown?
For all ask for examples and delve into the detail.
Everyone can answer yes to a question or give a short answer, but can they provide you with quality and useful examples (evidence).
This is the same for when you are carrying out reference checks.
As you ask more questions, you start to get beneath the surface of the real candidate… you start to see their real potential.
You’ll either feel excitement about hiring, or feel no excitement at all.
But you will know!
What Else You Should Be Looking For
You should see by now that I put huge emphasis on potential… its my defining measure.
That doesn’t mean that you should ignore everything else.
Here’s a few other aspects i look at:
Intelligence: Whilst we are not looking for geniuses, we still need to hire candidates that are intelligent enough for your requirements… intelligence doesn’t dramatically increase over time.
Values: I’ve always said that values are super important, so why ignore them when hiring.
Honesty and integrity are vital in any hire, and you should be able to determine the candidates through interviews and reference checks.
Leadership abilities: Some competencies will be relevant and some not so… therefore you will need to consider whats important to your organisation and the role.
Check our my post on 8 Must Follow Rules For Great Leaders for more information.
You’ve Hired Your Star… Now What
Once hired, its time to focus on retaining.
Competitors will come knocking and try to pry away your best employees.
Simply consider what high potentials want…
They want autonomy, master and purpose.
• Give them the opportunity to and freedom to direct their jobs
• Provide them with the opportunity to learn and develop their skills
• Provide them with the opportunity to be part of something bigger, and feel that their contribution matters
You might like to see my post Making Sure Good Employees Stay for more help here.
Of course pay also matters, your stars will expect to be fairly compensated.
Therefore I’d always recommend paying over the industry average.
But pay isn’t the be all and end all…
Remember the other points I’ve just mentioned, these should be your priority.
High potentials will value these more.
Its also your responsibility to make sure the these employees live up to their potential.
So offer them challenging experiences, push there development, and help them progress.
To Wrap Things Up
If you put more focus on potential during your hiring process, you will start to see bigger wins in your organisation.
Companies that emphasise the right kind of hiring win.
Encourage the hiring of motivated, curious, insightful, engaging, and determined prospects.
Spread these practices throughout your business.
And watch your business grow.
Below are some post that I think a relevant to this article that should also help… Making Sure Good Employees Stay How To Improve Organisational Commitment & Job Involvement 8 Must Follow Rules For Great Leaders Give Your Employees A Voice The Power Of Open And Frank Communication How To Hire Killer Salespeople