For me, (a relatively new business owner) this statement has become so much absolute, as I have trudged through the past 6 months’ of world turmoil, having to adapt to more of a ‘virtual’ way of life (previously talked about but not necessarily actioned) and seeing how the new normal is taking shape for so many of us, globally. Has this new or perhaps more adequately put, adapted way of working and thinking changed the way an organisation looks for tomorrow’s talent? My guess is, absolutely and hopefully…yes!
Looking back whilst moving forward, can we honestly say it is possible to identify people who can support your business in the future world of work? When I first thought about this question, I had to pause, whilst glancing back at how far we have come since the first effects of the “Covid-19 pandemic” on billions of us around the world. But, seeing how even the least resilient individuals or organisations have had to be more open minded in their approach to work and everyday life, I like to think that it is possible.
When tomorrow looks so different from yesterday, past experience is no longer the only effective measure for success. This ironically, has always formed a massive chunk of my thought process when recruiting with clients at any level. Most of my recruitment success has been down to focussing on connecting people in business. (hence the Collaborate slogan!) Yes, experience is so important, but for me, finding the right person doesn’t just mean focussing on experience – a lot of my attention is spent on finding that one person, whose attitude and capabilities suit the team I am hiring into, ensuring that they have the resilience to be part of the companies future, whatever it may look like.
I believe that people with high potential will, by definition, succeed, no matter what tomorrow brings – they’re people who can apply their learning from one situation to another, are resilient and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and can be creative in their thinking to get the best out of both systems and people.
Historically, my struggle has been on working with organisations to shift their mindset on recruiting for past-experience, with potential being a secondary consideration. Hiring ‘future proof talent’ comes when organisations switch their focus to hiring for potential first, and experience second.
Whilst capability / fit forms a large part of the “hiring success” puzzle, I don’t suggest that someone should be hired into a highly technical role, for example, without the necessary skills or past experience in a similar position. I do however recommend that by comparison, if candidate A has done every element of the role before, but scores low on potential, but candidate B has experience of some (but not all) elements of the role and scores highly on potential, candidate B should be the recommended choice, for long term success. Someone who has high potential will rapidly close their experience / skill gaps whilst further adapting to the future needs of the role and the wider organisation.
Interviewing for potential rather than black and white, on the cv experience may seem like a laborious, near on impossible task (what recruitment process isn’t?!) so I would suggest considering the following 3 pointers as part of your hiring process…try it and see what happens!
Digital Mindset: There is no question that the future is becoming increasingly more automated. If nothing else positive comes from Covid-19, digital capability may have! People with potential aren’t necessarily IT experts themselves, (thankfully, as that would see me out of a job!) but they do embrace technology, think creatively with technology, have a natural understanding of, or certainly an inclination towards technology, and are more resilient when it comes to technical solutions, automation and digitalisation.
Applied Intellect: In our Google-enabled world, knowledge has become less important than the application thereof. Being self-aware and understanding knowledge gaps but having a hunger for self-improvement is critical. Google is a fantastic tool for a great dinner recipe, but when used in the work place, can enhance capabilities and improve one’s skills too!
Determination / Grit: When change is a constant, the people who will thrive will be those who are resilient in the face of that change, can adapt, are tenacious in their commitment to achieving their goals and continuously evolve, whist being challenged.
“Nobody really knows what the future holds” but those that can adapt and evolve, are certainly the ones I want to be surrounded by. Whilst recruitment as an industry has definitely seen the huge impacts of covid-19, the successful recruiters will be those that are adapting, evolving and acknowledging the positive outcomes that will enable us to find success in what will be a new and different future.