There is a perfectly good three-word answer to this question: look for potential. Many businesses are so focused on the short-term exigencies of operations that they rush the hiring process, eager to fill the position and move on to other more pressing business issues. They shouldn’t fall into the trap of ignoring the value a candidate’s potential brings.
Put More Emphasis on the Candidate’s Potential
When hiring someone, look beyond their resume, CV, background checks, and even experience! This is especially true if you want to fill a position that offers long-term career opportunities. It is better to hire a person who does not know something but can learn in a month to do it perfectly than it is to hire someone who can already do something well but will not improve much.
In other words, hire for potential.
If, for instance, the position requires someone to lead a small team, then you may want to see if the candidate has leadership traits like passion, flexibility, and vision. Focus on the long game rather than a quick fix.
The goal should be to hire people who stay with your company and contribute their acquired knowledge and experience on the job to help the business grow.
Steer the Interview Beyond the Resume
While you will be able to learn a great deal about a candidate by asking them questions based on their resume, interviewing a candidate is also a golden opportunity to observe them before hiring.
Specifically, closely examine attributes that impact potential.
Notice, for example, if a person asks astute and informed questions about business operations. This is a good way to discern how prepared and responsible the candidate is. When they respond to interview questions, follow their reasoning closely and see how logically their ideas flow. This can be an insight into how intelligent they are.
Find Team Players
A potential hire can have an excellent resume, all the necessary experience, a strong work ethic, and a high IQ, but none of that will matter if the candidate cannot be a good teammate or fit within your business’ culture. It is very hard to get actionable information about how good of a teammate the candidate might be, but one way to try is to ask interview questions about experiences they have where they have had to deal with difficult people.
It can be easier to glean reliable information about how the candidate would fit within your business’ culture. All you have to do is ask the applicant questions about situations that would reveal their values rather than ask the candidate about the values themselves.
For example, you could ask them which charity they would like to give to. Their answer will tell you a lot about their internal beliefs. You are looking for answers to two questions: Will they be a good fit for your company’s culture? Do they share enough of your value and views and vision to be good team players?
Update Your Careers Webpage
Being able to spot potential will not be of use if you cannot attract good applicants. Your website is the first impression many applicants will get about your business and brand. Think about integrating the application process with your careers page. Make sure you focus on reliability and usability. This is to ensure that sure you don’t lose any candidates because of technical issues. Additionally, you don’t want your user experience to be anything less than outstanding.
Also, keep in mind that the careers page needs to be a direct reflection of the business. Display information regarding any hiring information along with benefits, potential career paths, culture, company awards, and news.
Give applicants a bit of insight into the day-to-day working life for the employees you already have. If you are consistent with the brand, it sets expectations for any candidates and can get them genuinely excited about the prospect of working there before they even enter the office.
If a candidate has oodles of experience, it can be hard to pass them up for a less-experienced applicant; however, if you want your business to succeed five years from now, choosing a candidate based upon their potential more than upon where they are at right now will pay big dividends in the long-run.
Try to ask questions in the interview that go beyond the candidate’s resume and explore their attributes, values, and ability to be a good team player. Before you do anything though, build out a great webpage. This shows applicants that they have a future at your company. Furthermore, you will be sure to attract more candidates that have the potential to make your business a success.
Attracting applicants, looking for potential, and hiring great candidates are all great priorities to have. These qualities will put your business on a solid foundation to grow upon into the future.