Recruiting high potential talent is a hot topic for many of our larger clients and they all seem to look for different "things" to assess if a candidate is a HiPo. I really enjoyed reading this article as I have been privileged to have partnered a global $multi-billion US client during the last 12 years and witnessed them identifying exactly what makes a high potential employee for them but it took quite a while! Now that they have found the secret ingredients that work for them, the organisation's performance has accelerated at a rapid pace and it is, in fact, unrecognisable in every aspect of its business. It has been transformed from being a "lagger" in its industry to being a leader and one that was never approached for its employees by its competitors to one that is a rich hunting ground. Fortunately HiPo's love the culture that has been created, the fulfilment they get and the no limits available to grow their careers.
By recruiting these high potential employees my client has instantly raised the bar in its organisation and, whilst not everyone is a HiPo, the quality of employees from the bottom up is of much greater quality than that of 12 years ago.
I agree that we focus on 3 key areas when assessing candidates for this client;
Is the candidate able to do the job in hand and also future bigger or more complex leadership roles? What evidence can we find to support this? We delve into previous experience, gain references from work colleagues and use some sophisticated psychometric assessments such as Hogan to dig deeper.
2. Social Skills
A candidate's ability and desire to build strong relationships is critical to their future leadership potential. Building an internal and external social ecosystem is really important to success and so it is not only leadership or the ability to manage their own team but their ability to manage and influence all key stakeholders that are important.
Without an exceptional hunger for success and a strong drive to achieve outstanding results, ability and social skills don't really matter. Within this needs to be a hunger for proactive personal learning as high potentials will be stretched to have to deal with situations for the first time. Their desire to build in time for personal learning despite no time to do it is critical. Stepping out of comfort zones, being fine with making mistakes and being constantly curious to learn is all part of a high drive.
Once you have identified a high potential employee you need to ensure that you can offer them an environment to excel in and career opportunities to deliver their aspirations. If not then you will be a successful hunting ground for your competitors.
In our view, HiPo interventions should focus on predicting who is likely to become a key driver of organizational performance. That is, they should define future stars as the people who will “consistently generate exorbitant output levels that influence the success or failure of their organizations.’’ Fortunately, science reveals that regardless of the context, job, and industry, such individuals tend to share a range of measurable qualities, which can be identified fairly early in the process. In a review that compared scientific research on predictors of job performance to the qualities in highest demand for the 21st century workforce, we identified three general markers of high potential.