Let’s say you’re looking to fill a CTO-level role for your organization. Maybe your company is looking for someone with 10-15 years of experience who has managed a development team for at least four years. Depending on your company’s goals, you may have other requirements, such as hiring someone who will successfully manage your globalization efforts by localizing your site or product for 20+ languages, or maybe someone who can swiftly prime your product and development team for an imminent IPO.
Where do you even begin? As a recruiter, even if you plan on actively sourcing candidates, you probably start with a job description that defines all of these particular skills and competencies, then work on filling in the buckets. But is this really the best way to effectively scout out top talent? Not according to this recent Harvard Business Review article, which highlights the importance of assessing high-level candidates based on their potential, rather than simply by their past credentials. The reason is simple: Today’s market is just too volatile for businesses to be able to rely on tried-and-true methods of strategy and management. What works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow, so if you truly want to cultivate an environment of highly adaptive leaders for your organization, you need a different toolset when assessing candidates.
Of course, evaluating a candidate based on their potential sounds much more complicated than using an experience-based methodology. However, there are a few indicators of potential that you could apply in your recruitment strategy for mission-critical roles.
Credentials will continue to influence the type of candidates that you bring into your pipeline for any role, but at the end of the day, it’s the potential of any individual that will truly impact their performance long term. Just as a college degree should not define an applicant, neither should minimal management experience. So whether you’re looking to fill a senior-level technical role now or if you’re simply looking to hire engineers who can develop their leadership skills as your company grows, using a potential-based model for hiring will ensure that you’re bringing on employees who have a strong ability to effect change.