Here's Why You Should Hire for Potential, Not Experience

by Danial
Oct 29, 2018 at 4:33 AM

Interviewing is not easy. It's hard to judge a candidate's potential, and all too easy to rely on job requirements and experience.

If you're hoping to improve quality of hires, concentrating on potential and a candidate's ability to grow within your organisation could give you better results than just looking for required experience.

Reflect beyond a candidate's current skills during the assessment process. After all, it's where people are going, not where they are that truly matters.

Potential over Experience

Kaizen is a japanese principle that means culture of continuous improvement. Every employee should not only strive to improve on their professional growth, but also take responsibility for improving the company.

Every new employee must have the determination and drive to advance both the company and themselves.

When you are looking at candidates it is important to judge not just where they are, but where they're going and how fast they're getting there. Growth trajectory should be a key part of the assessment process.

Technical skills can be learned, but it's way tougher to teach skills like determination and self-motivation.

Who would you prefer?

Candidate 1: Fits all the requirements for the role, but hasn't tried to expand their skill sets in any of their recent roles.

Candidate 2: Doesn't fit your requirements today, but has a history of instantly expanding their skillset and improving in past roles

If you could take a more strategic approach in hiring employees, think about the future and a candidate's progression. These two can make a big a difference to the success of your company. 

Pro tip: You should focus on the importance of potential among your team. Build an internal talent pool and identify existing members of your team that have the potential to succeed at open roles. If you get this right, it can be incredibly effective.

Press the Reset Button

You may have to change your mindset when you are assessing for potential. Sometimes you might need to lower your hiring bar.

Don't mistake this as lowering your standards. It just means that you're ready to accept candidates with slightly less experience or qualifications. Do remember that these skills can be learned.

Identify existing members of your team that have the potential to succeed at open roles will bring success to your company.

Search for unique traits like grit, hustle and determination to identify a candidate's potential. if you get this right, they will turn into the perfect employee!

You might make the odd mistake, but seeking out people that have the potential to be "A+ Players" is the best way to make sure your company keeps moving forward.

Hire the perfect staff with a good balance of potential and experience on

This article is adapted from "Why You Should Hire for Potential (Not Experience)" by Ben Slater.