Be Bold: Hire For Potential

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Do you struggle to find the right mix of experience, personality and power skills? If so, it’s time to be bold, and hire for potential.

Nobody wants to hire a square peg for a round hole. But what if you could identify those, who with a little work and time, can lose their ‘pointy corners’ and evolve into a great fit?

“Most employers can benefit from challenging the status quo of how they select people for open roles. Instead of searching for ‘holy grail’ external candidates whose prior experience precisely matches the responsibilities in an open role, leading organisations create systems for evaluating candidates based on their capacity to learn, their intrinsic capabilities, and their transferable skills. This requires designing assessments that are fit for purpose, focusing on the few core skills that matter for success in the role.”

McKinsey, Human capital at work: The value of experience, June 2022

Personality and power skills

Of course there is a baseline, the innate personality traits which are largely fixed. You’ll never turn that ‘big ideas’ person into a ‘fine detail’ individual, or vice versa. They can squash or stretch for a period of time, but will never be at their best in the long term.

Beyond the baseline however, there is much that employers can do to help an individual grow into their role. They will gain crucial technical skills and experience on the job or in a formal training programme. This is of course a well trodden path of career progression. Yet less focus is placed on developing the power skills of emotional intelligence, resilience and motivation.

It’s generally assumed that these form part of an individual’s character. The person is either good to be around, or not; resilient or not; self motivated or unengaged. And all this is decided by glance at a CV, a 15 minute interview or a team Zoom call . This black and white attitude to power skills reduces the talent pool available to recruiters and those tasked with long-term succession planning.

Ask the right questions

For sure, you need that baseline personality profile, and be able to tick off the technicals. But you also need to assess for power skills.

  • How emotionally intelligent is your candidate? How can they improve their emotional awareness and regulation? Do they have regard for others and strong social awareness of their coworkers and external stakeholders? Any one element of this could make the difference between clinching that big sale, losing that key account or creating dysfunction in their team. Ignore emotional intelligence at your peril.
  • Don’t ask if your candidate is motivated, ask instead what motivates them. Motivation comes in different forms. It could be financial, it could just as easily be the achievement in recognition of quality work. It’s a costly mistake to assume what motivates you, will motivate the candidate in front of you. If the role and/or organisation offers the wrong ‘carrot’, it could be regarded as a ‘stick’. The result? Disengagement, low morale and poor productivity/burn out.
  • Does your candidate have the right resilience for the role? As with the other power skills, it’s all about matching the skill (or the potential for skill) to the role. An all-round resilient workforce is of course desirable. However, it is critical in leadership roles where there is no room to hide. Even if your team is feeling wobbly, the leader must always project a positive, yet honest outlook. This can be tough and requires real depth of self awareness to deliver. Perseverance is an essential skill to master, for both teams and their leaders. As we navigate this VUCA world, the ability to thrive through uncertainty will be the key to your success.

Grow your own potential

Some may find their power skills sit comfortably in the ‘flow zone’. We would argue these people are akin to unicorns. Good luck finding one of those in a hurry … However, plenty have potential. With bespoke training and coaching you can grow your own unicorns. And, because you’re investing in their long term development you stand a great chance of keeping them grazing and growing in your own pasture.

Holst helps organisations to create effective workplace cultures where potential can flourish. Join us on 26 September to take part in our free 1 hour session about developing perseverance, a dimension of resilience. You’ll get a taste of how our development programmes help organisations to make strong hiring and succession planning decisions, build cohesive teams and support effective leadership.

Develop your perseverance with resilienceflow®

Join us online at midday on Monday 26 September for the FREE power skills series: dimension lab® Perseverance

Contact us to learn more.

More to explore

job benchmarking

Create the benchmark for success

Take uncertainty out of your hiring and promoting processes with accurate and objective job benchmarking. It can be hard to pin down

destination employer

Reach Up: Be A Destination Employer

Set your sights high. Be the destination employer everyone wants to work for. From quiet quitting to the great resignation, the outlook

Booking Enquiry

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.