To hire effectively, you must careful consider each candidate’s potential. Many hiring experts emphasize evaluating candidates for their ability to grow. Some even recommend going for potential over experience. However, many employers are understandably reluctant to put too much stock in potential and prefer to just hire for relevant skills and experience.
In this article, we’ll show you three reasons why candidates’ potential is so important. You will also learn four ways you can start hiring for potential today.
3 Reason Why you Should Hire for Potential
- The world is a constantly changing place. Just like your business, your employees need to be able to adapt to changes and advancements in best practices. Candidates should be flexible enough to handle new information and technology. The capacity to learn is essential to every role. Candidates who want to do well and develop are likely to have other desirable traits as well.
- Remember that past job titles and very specific roles aren’t everything. When you consciously consider potential, you can guard against assumptions based on past job titles and focus on abilities and behavior. An impressive resume can disguise someone who’s ready to jump ship quickly or never really achieved high levels of performance.
- Bemoaning a skills gap doesn’t magically create candidates with skills. You can’t afford to wait for a perfect, no-training-required candidate, and carelessly choosing one who is sort of close isn’t a strategy. Recognize candidates’ potential and you can select the most capable, ready-to-learn employees while your competitors are choosing people they hope can learn.
How to Evaluate Candidate Potential
- Pay attention to progression on candidates’ resumes. If it’s not there, ask. You don’t have time to read through every resume, but if you’re going to interview someone, go over their resume carefully. Look for signs of increasing responsibility or of additional skills learned over time. If there aren’t signs of progression on the resume, ask them how they’ve developed professionally over time. Lack of proven growth in skills, abilities and achievements is major red flag.
- Ask candidates to highlight and explain their accomplishments. Accomplishments can be as small as a good customer service or as big as saving the company a million dollars. Because this changes according to what position you’re hiring for, you’ll need to adjust your questions. The core is the same: you’re looking for ability and initiative.
- Uncovering key abilities, behaviors and qualifications. While the exact target of each interview question is different, they all have one goal: uncover traits, knowledge and abilities. Look for a balance of traits, qualifications, and responsibilities to avoid getting hung up on exact details of a candidate’s past.
- Use pre-employment assessment tests to help assess candidates’ potential. If a candidate’s experience is almost just what you want, but you feel they may be lacking in one area, put them to the test. They may not have been a leader yet, but do they have the makings of one?
The motto of experts who emphasize potential is “Past performance doesn’t guarantee future success.” Take a look at candidates’ abilities, their cultural fit, and signs of commitment and energy. You still need qualification standards, but don’t miss the opportunity to snag high-potential employees – and avoid getting distracted by flashy resumes.