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Identifying High Potentials in a Saturated Candidate Market

Identifying High Potentials in a Saturated Candidate Market

With large numbers of candidates being on the market many recruiters assume that hiring the right candidate will be relatively easy. With pressure to reduce hiring costs also being a concern, the temptation is to hire based on CV and traditional biographical interview techniques.

However, smart recruiters understand that recruitment is an opportunity to improve performance through selective hiring of high potential employees.

The Scientific Evidence

Research highlighted in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) shows that:

  • Top 1% of employees account for 10% of organisational output
  • Top 5% of employees account for 25% of organisational output
  • Top 20% of employees account for 80% of organisational output

Put simply, investing in selective hiring improves performance at the organisation level and will improve the performance of team members by 5 to 15%. In some sectors it can amount to more than 50%

At Senior Levels, Top Performers Contribute Double that of an Average Performer.

The HBR calls such people, “force multipliers” through their leadership and impact on colleagues through raising the bar.

What is Meant by High Potential?

High potential is more than just recruiting people who may achieve promotion in two to five years. It is about how leaders impact team performance as well. Individual success is not enough on its own. Instead high potential leaders influence at the enterprise level across the organisation through effective networking, cross-functional working and influencing.

One in Two Leaders Cannot Engage Employees

Those leaders who can engage others are often in high demand and are likely to be able to drive organisational performance.

How to Identify High Potential

  1. Ability – as measured using work sample tests where job observation can be made and through measurement of cognitive abilities. As important are strategic skills and adaptability as well as innovation and vision.
  2. Social skills – Relationship building and self-management skills which include networking and collaboration. This is called ‘Enterprise leadership’. High-quality psychometric assessments are effective at identifying these qualities.
  3. Drive & Motivation – This includes competencies around conscientiousness, achievement drive, and ambition. Again, these can be measured using psychometric assessment and discussions around motivation.

Quick Return on Investment

Much is made about the costs of a failed hire but less about the opportunity cost of a sub-optimal hire as evidence proves that high potentials contribute more to the organisation.

Can we help you?

If you’d like to discuss our approach to identifying high potentials call Phil Boyle on 02380 236944 or email him at pboyle@ramseyhall.com.

Phil Boyle is The OPG’s Managing Director and has advised extensively at board, senior and specialist levels for high profile charities and FTSE 100 companies.

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