Hiring managers aren’t always as good at identifying high potential as they think they are. A range of techniques seek to address this problem, but which is the most appropriate?
The problem with intuition
For any candidate, a good first impression is essential. But to what degree should a line manager trust their instinct on a potential hire? Turning down a candidate despite their obvious ability, could be considered egotistical or short-sighted, especially when others in the organisation aren’t asked for input. Businesses are increasingly recognising that it’s inappropriate for a single line manager to act as a gatekeeper to a business. If talent is allowed to fall through the cracks at this early stage in the screening process, companies will continually miss huge opportunities.
CVs offer a helpful window into a candidate’s immediate ambitions. However, they do not necessarily provide an accurate representation of a person’s character. Often identifying an individual’s potential within a workplace comes from understanding the motivations of existing staff, and hiring to match the ambitions of high achievers with a similar profile within the talent pool.
Supporting new hires with people analytics
If you haven’t heard of people analytics before, perhaps now’s the time to take note. The term broadly refers to companies’ use of data to better understand the potential of employees and candidates. With knowledge of individual’s’ personality types, performance metrics and ambitions for the future, a company can more effectively place and grow them within their role. Ultimately, this helps keep employees engaged, reduce attrition and develop high-performing individuals within the business.
By collecting data on individuals personalities, businesses can save time and money at the early stage of the hiring process. Initial screening of individuals’ attitudes and abilities can ensure that individuals meet requirements of a business’ culture, diversity quota, and can help predict their initial performance in the role. Without this information, businesses are more likely to mis-hire individuals, or passively take on candidates which suit the company’s short-term goals; all without considering their long-term role in the company.
Quantitative or qualitative?
Yet regardless of data’s ability to predict, measure and identify talent, more qualitative approaches to HR remain common, and for good reason. Lived experience is something we all share and relate to meaningfully, rather than numerical representations of ability. A hiring manager’s impression of a candidate’s personality may well be the best judge of an individual’s cultural fit within an organisation and an interview is often the most appropriate method of determining their competence.
However, each organisation’s HR department comes unstuck at some stage, whether that’s attrition, a lack of skills or flagging motivation. Rather than replace the hiring manager, data equips them with the information required to address these flaws.
After the contract is signed
Increasingly, statistical tests are able to demonstrate candidates more complex characteristics, such as their attitude to teamwork, determination and level of creativity. Rather than simply identify whether a candidate is an appropriate fit for a role, these measures can identify how they will perform within the first months of their appointment, as well as the support they need to settle into their role.
Soon the use of people analytics and other data-driven techniques will simply become a part of due diligence and an integral part of traditional recruitment techniques. Data will increasingly be used to send more fit candidates to pre-screening interviews, reducing the chance of a bad hire and helping companies support their employees’ growth within the business.
About the author: James Grant founded Weavee in 2015 after identifying how businesses struggled to recognise high-potential talent in candidates and their own workforce. Weavee blends big data analysis with psychometric methods to provide businesses with the information they need to hire and grow individuals in line with their objectives.