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What Is “Hiring For Potential” And How Do You Implement It?

If you’re among the 69% of employers aiming to hire new staff in 2018, you’re likely aware of the challenges that come with finding exceptional talent to fill key roles. Chief among those challenges according to a majority of employers? A lack of candidates with the right technical skills and the experience necessary to adequately perform in an assigned role.

Addressing the growing skills shortage will be a major challenge for many employers in 2018, but a crucial mistake that many may fall victim to is not hiring for potential. When an employer hires for potential, they commit to taking on candidates who may not have the necessary technical skills when they start, but do possess the personal traits that make them a great fit for the organization. By doing so, these employers pave the way for their employees to be successful (and loyal!) in the future.

Here are three ways to hire for potential in order to address the growing skills shortage:

Place emphasis on personal attributes

As you go through resumes and conduct interviews, you may be disappointed in a candidate’s lack of knowledge in a particular program or area. Looking past this may be difficult at first, but it’s important to remember that you can teach this program or skill over time. However, you can’t train character. By choosing a candidate you know will get along with your team and has the motivation to learn, you’re taking the steps to ensure future projects that require collaboration will be successful. Additionally, hiring an individual that you get along with will make it easier for you to mold them into the employee you want them to be.

Evaluate transferable skills

If a candidate isn’t proficient in a particular program or tool you’re looking for, but they do have expert-level knowledge in a similar one, it pays to give them a shot. Since they’re already knowledgeable in a similar program, it’s likely they’ll be able to pick up on the desired skill as long as they’re given some initial guidance. While it may take a little time for them to get up to speed, hiring for potential based on their transferable skills will pay off further down the line. After all, those given the chance to prove themselves and feel their employer is invested in their growth will be more loyal in the long run!

Ask behavior or situational-based questions during the interview

So how do you decide whether or not a candidate has the potential to be a truly great employee? During the interview, be sure to ask them situational and behavior-based questions. These types of questions are a good way to analyze a potential employee’s ability to handle adversity and their general attitude, which can ultimately reveal how they’ll be able to work and grow within your company.

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