How Much Should Potential Factor Into Your Hiring Strategy?

NSC Technologies


Companies are putting more emphasis on potential than ever before. With the labor market currently being as tight as it is, companies are having to hire more candidates without essential skills in the hopes they can gain these skills through classes or on-the-job training.

Although the labor market might be forcing your company to hire less-experienced candidates, hiring for potential does have a number of advantages. Because less-experienced professionals are less set in their ways, they are more likely to adopt company practices and foster innovation with fresh perspectives.  These workers also tend to command a lower salary, and hiring more of them could be an opportunity to increase workplace diversity.

If your company is looking to place a greater emphasis on potential in its hiring process, consider the following factors.

Education doesn’t predict performance

Hiring personnel looking to recruit high-potential candidates might place a lot of emphasis on candidates’ educational background, such as the degrees they hold or the schools from which they graduated. However, research has shown that educational background isn’t a major factor in determining performance.

Therefore, you should avoid putting too much emphasis on recruiting from top-ranked schools or candidates with advanced degrees.

Look for unique value in previous experiences

Like education, the status of past experiences is also a poor predictor of performance. For example, just because a candidate worked for NASA or held a management position in the past doesn’t mean they will be successful in your organization.

Instead of focusing on employer brands or the status of past positions, pay attention to the contributions candidates made in their past jobs. Did they put innovations into place? Did they earn promotions? Were they given big responsibilities?

The answers to these questions can indicate the potential a candidate has to make valuable contributions to your organization.

Focus on cultural fit

Even the most promising candidate can’t thrive in an atmosphere that they don’t fit into very well. Asking candidates about what motivates them and holding group interviews that include current employees are two great ways to assess candidates’ potential for cultural fit.

Future need for leadership

Shifting demographics are expected to make senior leadership talent more scarce in the future, and one way to prepare for this shortage is to start grooming your company’s future leaders today. Some companies fall into the trap of promoting people based on past performance, but this can sometimes lead to disappointment, as past performance doesn’t always predict future results.

When hiring employees today based on their potential, it’s important to remember these men and women could be at the top of your organization in the not-too-distant future. This is why properly assessing candidate potential, by gauging motivation, career engagement and curiosity, is critical to the long-term health of your organization.

At NSC Technologies, we specialize in helping our clients source talent based on the criteria they provide. Please contact us today to find out how we can assist your company.


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