When you set out on a recruitment campaign, you might usually begin by listing out some of the must-haves. These could look like…
- A qualification in ___
- X number of years’ experience in ___
- Exposure to ___, ___ and ___
Of course, with some positions, the need for education, knowledge and/or experience within a certain sector or skill is exactly that – a need. It’s required because the person you hire for this role will need to jump in and be able to continue a specific business operation or process, to maintain continuity, to keep the ball rolling.
And sure, if this could be the case every time – a seamless process from offboarding the current staff member to onboarding the new, and no loss of productivity or hiccups along the way – things would be pretty ideal. But when you replace a staff member with an almost-carbon copy, are you really moving forwards?
Here’s where hiring on potential comes in.
What do we really mean by hire on potential?
Very much as it says on the tin, hiring on potential means looking for the “could-bes” instead of the “must-haves”. It means delving deeper into who this talented individual could become and what they could achieve. It means appreciating what they’ve done so far, not what they haven’t.
Hiring on potential means empowering your new hires to develop and learn from day one. When you commit to bringing someone aboard on the basis of, “You may not have done it yet – but we know you can,” you’re giving them something to be excited for and to work towards… Which makes it all the more exciting of a prospect.
A way to expand the skills and experience of your team
Hiring someone to slot right into the spot that another just vacated, same skills, background and experience to boot, is an amazing thing – but it’s not adding something new. It’s not an expansion, but a continuation. And, like the old saying goes, if you’re not moving forwards you had might as well be going backwards.
By taking into account all the skills your new hire has, plus everything that these could lead them to learn, you’re complementing the existing skills on your team with a heap of new ones – and more to come.
A way to stay competitive in a competition-rich marketplace
Something to sweeten the pot a little? It’s no secret that inevitably, when you hire on potential, you’re likely going to be able to budget slightly less for the role and offer more as the responsibilities/skillset of this person grow. That means cost savings.
Alongside this, you’re no longer necessarily competing for those same skills your competitors are after – meaning your talent pool just expanded exponentially. By looking for the potential in this person, at where the skills they currently have could lead, you open up a new group of jobseekers. Particularly, those who are now ready and raring for a step up; an opportunity to prove themselves.
Why you should make your next hire on potential
We all talk about a growth mindset, and hiring on potential rather than absolute is a true demonstration of exactly that. It’s not about “giving someone a chance”, lowering your standards, or throwing caution to the wind. It’s about making a careful, strategic decision based on what you can see now – and what you can see the potential for in the not so distant future.
The Konnexus Team