It’s been coined “The Great Hiring Debate.” When a company needs that ideal hire, should more emphasis be placed on a candidate’s hiring potential or their past work experience?
While finding the perfect match in both areas may be as likely as finding a unicorn, research shows it aids in retention. That’s critical to the bottom line in a tight labor market and hiring departments are taking note.
Traditional criteria are being re-examined for modern hiring. Research shows an Ivy League degree and high GPA may not be as important after a few years in the workforce. The candidate who did the same job for 10 years may not have the fresh insight of one coming from another industry.
What Does Hiring Potential Look Like?
Reviewing past job experience and performance is the less challenging part, but how do you measure hiring potential? Potential can be examined by multiple means in the workforce. Generally, it is the hidden qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
One way used to be through finding a good cultural fit into the company. But a cookie-cutter hire tends to overlook the need for diversity and innovation in the workplace. The same old, same old isn’t going to produce many new and exciting ideas.
Other employers look at the hire’s capability to climb the ladder quickly. Are they going to make an effective manager or grow beyond the current role within five or so years? But potential may look like more than just a moving-up mindset.
Lean Toward Learning Agility
A more rounded assessment may come from determining the qualities of an effective leader. Then it’s about finding candidates who already work in that same way. This varies by the type of business. Some companies look for open-mindedness, curiosity and problem-solving skills. Others want to see ambition or empathetic qualities.
Some companies focus on how far a candidate has already come since starting out. This can show more about overall career achievement than only looking at most recent work history. If they’ve already made huge strides, they’re apt to make more.
According to The Wall Street Journal, employers should seek to avoid the “doom loop,” or an employee who repeatedly makes the same mistakes and can’t process feedback. Instead, lean toward a hire who demonstrates “learning agility” and can adapt to new roles, listen and absorb feedback and who is eager to learn.
These are the employees who want to succeed. They want to grow and improve and they know the opinions of others matter. They show humility when they make a mistake and realize that they don’t have all the answers.
How to Prove Your Potential
To demonstrate hiring potential, examine what kind of qualities an employer is looking for in a hire. If possible, connect with other employees and seek out the reasons why people were promoted. How did they rise through the ranks?
Do your research. Read a company’s annual report, website and any online reviews to learn as much as possible about the employer’s practices and culture. For more tips on preparing, read Masiello’s blog on how to research a potential employer.
For the interview, consider your own learning agility, successes and what was learned from any failures. How did you meet a past challenge or embrace a new opportunity? Have examples at the ready to share and show genuine interest in expanding your knowledge base.
And so, while hiring for experience validates a candidate’s past performance, a company hiring for potential looks toward its future growth. It allows hiring managers to place value on the underdog. This is the candidate who may not have an extensive resume but demonstrates leadership ability and untapped talent.
Ready to pursue a new job opportunity or find your next great candidate? Contact Masiello Employment Services to learn more about available positions and our employer services.