Why Smart Employers are Hiring on Potential, Not Experience


While it’s most employers’ go-to measuring stick, past performance is not a guarantee for future success. Combined with today’s low unemployment rate, many hiring managers are realizing that focusing on experience and even education often leaves them with slim and costly pickings. To address this, many have explored evaluating for potential as a hiring tactic. Here are five reasons why hiring for potential and not experience is an increasingly smart strategy:

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but being able to adapt one’s abilities and work priorities to the needs of the position is the key success factor. Identifying these attributes will identify the candidates’ raw potential.

Education doesn’t always mean success

In fact, on the predictors of performance, education came in at 0.09 on a scale of 0 to 1–which is well below an acceptable correlation. Only recruiting from the top universities, compared to a wider selection including lower ranked institutions, will eliminate many high potential applicants.

Cultural fit means they will thrive and be engaged

Hiring a candidate who meshes well with the manager and the team, or is enthusiastic about your brand would likely be more motivated. Additionally, giving a less experienced candidate a chance to prove themselves will not only allow you to measure the likelihood for thriving early in the game, it will also drive employee loyalty.

Hiring for potential often means more options and less cost

There is a greater supply of potential versus experience, whether it’s fresh graduates or seasoned professionals looking to shift gears mid-career. This relatively plentiful supply reduces costs and allows you to bring in more of the talent you need to support accelerated growth.

In the past, hiring has gravitated toward arbitrary and subjective measures, making it difficult to reveal a candidate’s true potential. Today, modern hiring tools and hiring experts are helping companies harness untapped talent effectively and cost efficiently, while allowing diamonds in the rough a chance to shine.

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