Hiring for the Future: How to Assess for Potential

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Hiring for the Future: How to Assess for Potential

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At the beginning of the year, studies predicted one of the game changers in the recruitment sphere to be that 79 per cent of organisations will promote talent from within. This means that rather than source external talent, many companies will look to fill key positions with “homegrown” talent.

Such companies have implicit faith in the quality of their employees; this presupposes that they possess a workforce characterised by high potential talent.

Hiring for potential is a departure from the norm of hiring for experience. In the recent past, organisations hire employees on the basis of their past achievements and accomplishments in previous jobs and/or similar roles; while this may provide an insight into the suitability of a candidate for a role, it by no means guarantees that they will perform excellently when hired.

If top on the priority list of organisations is hiring and retaining the right talent, as it should be, it only makes sense to make potential the bedrock the of their hiring process. An individual who possesses the experience to function effectively in a role has the capabilities, no doubt, but may have lost the zeal to re-invent themselves to suit the realities of a different organisation.

Employee potential is critical to long-term business success and with competition for talent stiffening daily, organisations must devise a strategy to attract and keep high potential talent.

However, the challenge is identifying who makes the cut as a high potential talent. Many times, employees have been wrongly hired because they failed to conduct the right assessment to determine candidate potential.

The Global PageUp HR Innovation Study of 2016 found that only 53 per cent of companies were confident that their talent acquisition strategies were building future workforce capability. Majority of these companies tend to use engagement, ability, and aspiration to hold successive leadership as the criteria for evaluating high potential talent.

Nevertheless, the most effective tools to assess for potential effectively and successfully are:

Assessment and Development centres are suitable for identifying potential talent at an early stage. Through a range of activities such as personality and cognitive assessment, group exercises, role-play, presentations and interviews, a candidate’s potential can be fully evaluated. Tools such as Hogan high potential report and Korn Ferry assessment of leadership potential are specifically designed to aid selection decision, talent assessment and employee development and are invaluable in measuring candidate competencies in leadership, business and interpersonal relationships with a view to determining their potential level. Assessment and Development Centres also constitute a conduit for strategic leadership as regards training and development of talent within an organisation.

 

Some organisations develop their own bespoke ready-to-deploy assessment tools and processes to identify high potential employees. A typical example is the Current Estimated Potential (CEP), a global process implemented by Shell for the purpose of identifying leadership potential.

 

This assessment gives organisations an all-around perspective of a candidate’s abilities, drive and cultural fit for their context. It is particularly important in work environments which operate a flat structure or regularly engage in cross-functional project-based teams. The 360-degree employee feedback assessment involves a series of tests which measure an employee’s key experiences, leadership skills and professional conduct with a view to gauging their potential to take on higher responsibilities within the organisation in the near future; and crafting a developmental plan for them if they are found to have high potential.

When organisations take themselves through the rigour of identifying, hiring and developing high potential employees, they not only succeed in setting themselves on the path to sustainable success, they also solve the problem of succession within their ranks.

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