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[Blog] Hiring for Potential vs. Hiring for Experience

When the labor market is tight, do you hold out for the candidate with the perfect experience or do you embrace the power of potential?

Learning to hire for potential opens up the candidate pool significantly. Additionally, just because someone has relevant experience does not mean they will be successful in your organization. It comes down to cultural fit and the ability to succeed with your individual team.

How to Hire for Potential

So, what does it mean to hire for potential? Hiring for potential doesn’t mean a candidate is completely lacking skills and qualifications required for your position, but it does mean that the candidate has a surplus of people skills and emotional intelligence. It also means that your team is able to see transferrable skill sets from other industries.

Hiring for potential may allow you to hire people who have more opportunity to progress in your organization. If someone is highly motivated, has the ability to learn and adapt, and is excited about taking on new challenges, chances are that that type of person has more propensity for success than if you hire someone with direct experience but no intangible assets. The right attitude and approach go a long way.

Looking at potential can also improve your organization’s diversity. If you are consistently hiring people based on a strict experience profile, you are likely missing out on infusing your organization with new ideas and different backgrounds.

Training Your Leaders

To hire for potential, your managers and leaders will have to shift their mindsets. It’s important to reiterate that looking at potential rather than experience does not mean your team is lowering standards. It means your team is focusing on hiring based on skills that cannot be taught. Your team should take the time to think critically about the role at hand, and the skills that are absolutely necessary to fulfill that role successfully. Shape questions that assess people skills and emotional intelligence, along with a person’s ability to learn. Ask each candidate a consistent set of questions to provide a fair interview experience.

The power of potential will not only improve the talent on your team, but it will also help you save time and resources in your hiring process. A win-win!

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