Decision Toolbox acquired by leader in integrated employee engagement solutions, Engage2Excel.Read the full story.

Need A-Players? Look Past Experience and Hire for Potential

image description

You have a crucial spot to fill on your team, and the best strategy for hiring your A-player to drive results is to look for comparable experience in a similar role, and even better, a similar industry….right?  Not so fast…

It’s a Trap

Looking at only previous experience that closely aligns with your role, and only at those who are already familiar with your industry seems to be a recipe for success, and those criteria certainly can help you identify someone who can do the job.  But is that all you really want?  Or do you really want someone who can excel in your role and help your company drive business success?  If so, you need to step outside your comfort zone.  What you’re looking for is an A-player, and these elusive creatures aren’t necessarily identified by a list of skills and previous employers on a resume.  What you really want is to hire for potential, not experience.

Reach for the Stars

Decision Toolbox CEO Kim Shepherd calls this recruiting approach “hiring Colonels with potential.”  She believes that if you need a General in your organization – you know, that person who is going to come in and lead others, make an impact, and win the war for your company – you shouldn’t necessarily go out looking for that General.  Instead, you look for someone who shows motivation, someone who aspires to be that General but hasn’t yet had the opportunity to prove themselves, but has all the makings of a great General.

Potential Traits

So how do you identify that Colonel with potential?  There are many complex studies out there that dissect the anatomy of a high-potential employee, but this list from Forbes contributor Claudio Fernández-Aráoz is beautiful in its simplicity and hits the potential on the head:

  • Curiosity: a penchant for seeking out new experiences, knowledge, and candid feedback, and an openness to learning and change.
  • Insight: the ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities.
  • Engagement: a knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people.
  • Determination: the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges, and to bounce back from adversity.

While having experience in your industry or a similar role certainly doesn’t hurt, the high-potential employee is capable of  expanding on the skills they have to fill in any gaps in their experience base and will embrace the challenge of learning the skills needed, thanks to their endless curiosity. They’ll dive headfirst into the role, making sense of all the information they have at hand, taking your business goals into consideration and coming up with creative ways to meet them.

Potential = Passion

Attracting and engaging passionate employees seems to be the target we’re all aspiring to hit.  While there are many factors that impact the passion of your employees (including your company culture), you can’t ignite passion if there’s no spark there to start with.  Assessing your hires for potential, then knowing how to tap into their passion will fuel your company’s success.

 

To learn more about Decision Toolbox, please contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

Did You Enjoy This Article? Sign up for Decision Toolbox’s monthly newsletter: Inside the Box.

Inside the Box will share the secrets of life long happiness….not really, but we will provide you with some great talent acquisition articles and tips that will hopefully make your working life better. You’ll also get the inside scoop on DT.

2 Responses to “Need A-Players? Look Past Experience and Hire for Potential”

  1. June 04, 2014 at 11:27 am, Leesa Goldin said:

    Thank you for the article. I can help but wonder if the author really means “Colonial”. The term doesn’t make sense in this military analogy. Perhaps Colonel?…

    co·lo·ni·al /kəˈlōnyəl,-nēəl/ adjective adjective: colonial

    1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a colony or colonies.
    “British colonial rule”
    •relating to the period of the British colonies in America before independence.
    •(especially of architecture or furniture) made during or in the style of this period.
    2. (of animals or plants) living in colonies.

    noun
    noun: colonial; plural noun: colonials
    1. a native or inhabitant of a colony.
    2. a house built in colonial style.

    Reply

    • June 04, 2014 at 12:04 pm, Kelly Graham said:

      Great catch, Leesa! Typo for sure and it has been corrected. Thank you so much!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

See what our clients are saying…

Believe it or not, we don’t have giant heads. See More Client Quotes

  • " (DT Recruiter) was professional and understanding. A great partner in our search efforts! "
  • " (DT Recruiter) was a terrific recruitment partner...personable, enjoyable, responsive, willing to go above and beyond, open to feedback/learning...she was great! "
  • " I appreciate all the time put into not sending me dozens of candidates but instead screening and only sending me what I was looking for. "
  • " (The DT Recruiter) was terrific. She dealt with some of the internal struggles our company is having in terms of "what type of candidate do we really need vs. what we thought we needed." She helped management think through the type of candidate we were looking for and was a huge asset to us. I also liked the web based system that DT has set up. I felt informed throughout the process. "
DecisionToolbox 800-344-2026 info@dtoolbox.com