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    The hiring landscape has continued to grow exponentially, and the demand for talent isn’t slowing down. Many organisations and hiring managers within them are struggling to find available talent for roles that would have previously been considered “easy” to fill.

     

    What does hiring for potential really mean?

    As a recruitment partner, we have this conversation often with clients to provide comprehensive education on what this actually means in practice. Hiring for potential can sound like a risky move, when in reality it can enable you to strategically mould someone whilst also having clarity that their baseline skill set is there.

     

    Let’s debunk a few common questions that we get on this topic:

    “What if they’re too junior, am I going to spend all of my time training them?”

     

    The idea with hiring for potential is that they ultimately will grow into that role within a 12-18 month period. Let’s take the example of you hiring for a senior leadership position; you would still look for someone with all of the skills of a manager, however, they may not have had exposure yet to the level of strategy and collaboration that a senior leader would have. 

    You can, as an employer, upskill and coach that individual in to that role because the fundamentals of being a good leader are already there. 

     

    “How do I know that they will fit the role in the future?”

     

    With many technical roles, especially at mid to senior level, there are certain things you can test for in an interview process to see someone’s suitability. Ultimately, regardless of whether you hired the “finished article” or for potential, you always try and see someone’s future with an organisation.

     

    “What if they leave before they reach that seniority?”

     

    There is only so much control that you can have over someone leaving your organisation, but as an employer, you have a duty of care to focus on retention and keep employees engaged – just as much as your recruitment partner or Talent Acquisition team has a responsibility to screen that candidate effectively. Regardless, hiring will always have this element regardless of whether you’re hiring for potential or hiring someone who is ready-made for the job.

     

    What are the benefits of hiring for potential?

     

    Budget-effective

    Hiring is expensive, and the average cost for a mis-hire in the life sciences industry in the UK is 4x the salary they were hired for. So, even making two or three unsuccessful hires in a hire can put a considerable strain on your hiring budgets – regardless of the size of your organisation. Hiring for potential enables you to safeguard this to a degree, whilst also being able to offer attractive remuneration and bonus packages for individuals who do progress to the level you intended to originally hire for.

     

    Gives clear career progression and trajectory (which is a common reason why individuals leave)

    In our experience as consultants, there are three main reasons why individuals leave an organisation: lack of progression, better pay, and better culture. 

    Progression is a discussion point that comes up more often than not, as no one wants to feel stagnant in their role. So, to mitigate this – offering clear progression opportunities and a trajectory that can be achieved in a 12-18 month period will make your proposition a lot more appealing to candidates, especially if you’re a fast-growing company. 

    This benefits both parties, as you can also succession plan effectively, and the new employee will be motivated to reach the next step in their career. 

     

    Enables you to mould and shape teams in an effective way

    Training is the main element that can put organisations and hiring managers off hiring for potential, which is completely understandable, especially if you don’t have a strong L&D function to support employee development. 

    However, if you do have this in place – hiring for potential should be an option that you look into. You can shape individual to grow with your organisation and you’re less likely to feel resistance, which can be rife for incredibly senior positions. 

     

    You can scale quicker than your competitors who aren’t flexing on their needs in a competitive market

    To stay ahead of the curve, the curve being your competitors in the market, you have to move quickly when it comes to hiring talent. And, this extends beyond refining your interview process and investing in a robust talent acquisition strategy. 

    Having flexibility, seeing potential, and adapting your job descriptions can enable you to have a more agile, open, and ultimately highly skilled workforce. Too often organisations look for the “perfect” candidate (which the majority of the time, doesn’t exist) – so hiring for potential can still enable you to attract and retain incredible talent.

    To learn more and speak to a specialist consultant, contact us today.

     

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