Stop Hunting Perfection And Look For Potential

ThinkstockPhotos-452269237If you’re hunting the ever-elusive purple squirrel, aka the perfect candidate, you might want to rethink your target. It takes time to find a perfect match for each and every role — and for some positions, there just isn’t a perfect fit out there yet.

Also, the hiring process isn’t getting any shorter. In fact, the average length recently hit 22.9 days in the U.S., according to a recent survey by Glassdoor.

So, you could waste weeks or even months searching for perfection that doesn’t actually exist, or you could focus on something more realistic: potential.

Looking at high-potential candidates (HiPos), or candidates with the ability to learn and grow into a role, could be the answer to filling positions more quickly. Though they may not yet meet all the hard qualifications, with a strong development plan, these employees can eventually exceed position needs and help a company excel.

Here are some tips for crafting your recruiting process to reveal HiPo candidates:

1. Include growth opportunities in your job description. To high-potential candidates, knowledge and experience are almost as important as compensation. Express plenty of opportunities for growth and development in the job description. Include specific hard skills the candidate can expect to acquire.

2. Don’t limit your search to local talent only. Great talent is out there, you just have to broaden your search. Once, my team found a great intern who completed a one-way video interview from his college apartment, halfway across the country, in New Orleans. I knew he’d be a great fit immediately — he was dressed up in a nice shirt and tie and extremely passionate about the position.

Get in touch with candidates outside of your locale, virtually, through video. Use a short video interview to pre-screen candidates, no matter where they live. Ask questions they can record answers to and send back to you for review, at your leisure. Pick out the top potential talent to keep in mind, as new positions need filled.

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3. Create screenings that let candidates shine. When my company was seeking a new customer success team member, the position sat open for a little longer than we had hoped. But, while reviewing our video interviews for administrative assistant, we found someone whose personality was perfect for the customer success role. So we hired her for it, and it turned out to be a great move.

Video is a great tool for candidates to show off their personalities and professional essence. Ask applicants to introduce themselves to you via video. Evaluate and reach out to those who appear to be most ambitious or hold potential for roles you need to fill for an interview.

4. Ask about career goals. If a candidate has goals in mind, you’re more likely to find potential than with someone who doesn’t know what she wants. Ask candidates about their career goals during the initial screening. Where do they see themselves in a year, five years, and ten years? What concrete successes do they want to achieve?

5. Find out who’s eager to learn more. HiPos are continuous learners and doers — they’ll ask plenty of questions about what it’s like to work at the company and how different processes work. With candidates like these, it helps to chat in real time so use a mobile-enabled platform to chat via video.

Connecting through video is more personal and will help you better gauge candidate interest through visual cues like body language. For example, you can tell a candidate is engaged when they lean forward and their eyes light up in response to information.

6. Look for “whatever it takes” mentality. Attitude and mindset is everything, when it comes to getting things done. What a HiPo candidate lacks in experience, he or she should make up for in diligence. Ask behavioral-based questions that reveal candidates who are persistent and willing to do what it takes to overcome challenges.

High-potential candidates might be the solution staffing professionals need to fill roles that would otherwise sit empty for months. Great talent isn’t always readily available — sometimes it must be created. Forget the purple squirrel, and focus on someone a company could really benefit from, with a little investment.

What are some other ways to find high-potential candidates? Share in the comments below!

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Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform. Learn more about using video interviews for staffing and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

Josh Tolan

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