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| 1 minute read

We need to talk about talent and potential

There are very few companies today who are not struggling to hire the talent that they need. Employee turnover will continue to be high for the foreseeable future, driven by changing employee behaviors and rising inflation. Hiring volumes are up across all sectors and competition for talent is fierce.  

How are businesses responding to these challenges?  Most are doing the same things that they have been doing for the last few years - utilizing the same approaches to source talent and the same processes to screen and hire talent.

For the 25 years that I have spent in talent acquisition we have been on a quest to continually enhance the way we hire the perfect job-ready candidates.  Hiring Managers understandably look for candidates that can hit the ground running, can be productive quickly and they evaluate candidates based on the extent to which they can demonstrate that they have done the job before.  This approach now seems short-sighted and naïve.  

Skill requirements are changing rapidly and the job-ready candidates that we hire today are unlikely to possess the skills that we will need from them in three years time (Gartner research shows that for sales, finance and IT roles over 30% of the skills needed to do a job in 2017 will now be obsolete).  The only solution is to start hiring for potential.

To make this argument even more compelling let's consider the need, the imperative, to hire significantly greater numbers of diverse candidates in to our organizations.  We will not see a significant shift in our diversity hiring unless we start doing things fundamentally differently.  

The light on the horizon is the fact that there are millions of 'hidden' workers who are not being considered by recruiters and employers as the HBR article below demonstrates - more than 27 million hidden workers in the United States alone. “These are people who want to work,” says HBS professor and study coauthor Joseph B. Fuller. Some may be underemployed or working on a very part-time basis, while others have been locked out of the labor market altogether."

Talent leaders are under huge pressure today and are responding in an understandable way - trying to do more of what they have always done.  But it's not enough and it won't offer strategic advantage. We have a real opportunity today to recognize the market challenges, to be brave and to propose new solutions.  Hiring for potential should be one of those solutions.  

The surveys showed that companies that intentionally seek out hidden workers are 36% less likely than others to face talent and skills shortages. What’s more, those workers outperform their peers on six key criteria: attitude and work ethic, productivity, quality of work, engagement, attendance, and innovation.


innovation, upskilling, talent acquisition, candidate attraction, diversity equity inclusion, leadership, internal mobility, reskilling, future of work