Should You Hire for a Position? Or Hire for Growth Potential?

There is a difference between hiring for a position and hiring for growth. If you need to fill an immediate skills gap, finding a candidate with potential may not be the priority. However, to grow a business, an eye to the future is necessary and recruiting individuals who will grow and develop in parallel with the firm is key.

Dinah Wisenberg Brin of Fast Company provides a practical example to differentiate the two hiring strategies. A company might hire a CEO who has extensive experience and a solid MBA; however, in a rapidly shifting global economy, the individual may fail to re-orient the company successfully. The CEO can provide immediate management, but not the ability to negotiate a changing future environment.

The Harvard Business Review featured an article by Claudio Fernandez-Aroaz, who emphasizes that current business environments are becoming more complex. Hiring individuals with certain abilities and potential, rather than past experience or qualifications, is becoming more difficult as global competition for talent increases. However, what are the abilities, and how can a hiring manager identify them?

Fernandez Araoz cites curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination as character traits that show potential. Behavioral interviewing is an approach that provides insight into the candidate’s potential.

  • Ask the candidate to describe how they learned about something they are interested in. Perhaps they have a hobby, such as music, and have successfully pursued it and now play in a band. Perhaps the candidate had the initiative to start a business at one point.
  • Ask the candidate to describe the hardest thing they have done. How did they overcome it? This can provide a gauge of their determination and ability to cope with unexpected events.
  • If you are hiring for a role that requires interaction with clients and customers, ask the candidate to describe a difficult client situation, how they handled it, and the outcome. This can indicate their customer skills and their capacity for problem solving.

Volunteer work, student bodies that a candidate has been involved in, or life experiences all demonstrate a candidate’s potential and the value that they can bring to your company. Try a non-traditional approach to your hiring and hire for your company’s future growth. Contact the recruiting team at Contemporary Staffing Solutions for help finding the right candidates for your open positions. We look forward to hearing from you!