SmartRecruiters Blog
Future Proof Candidates

How To Properly Identify Future-Proof Candidates

This is a guest post from our Marketplace Partner AssessFirst

When hiring a new employee, it is usually to fill a present need. Whether it’s for the software development team, marketing department, or business development team, all companies are confronted with hiring challenges that they must handle immediately.

However, If you’re stuck being reactive to your hiring needs, you might miss this important truth: the key to a successful hire involves selecting people who can evolve to meet the challenges beyond your current needs – needs that your company will face today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Technical skills last 2 years

Nowadays, technical skills that individuals possess have a much shorter half-life than they used to. This problem can be called the “obsolescence of skills”. With the accelerated pace at which changes occur in the workplace, the skills that are now considered fundamental may no longer be viable 24 months later.

The potential of your candidates matters

If we cannot rely on hiring people for their present skills, then what does one base their selection decisions on? The best way to future-proof your new hires is not to select them for their technical skills, but for their potential. Obviously, those selected will be able to do the work that the company needs today, but should have the ability to evolve, and the desire to learn and grow over time.

Potential can be defined by three key elements: skills, motivation, and personality.

Skills are what a person CAN do now. They refer to the person’s ability to process information.

Motivation is what a person WANTS to do. They correspond to the fundamental needs of the person and how they will work with data or with people, and if they like working in a strict or a fun environment.

Finally, personality tells you HOW a person will behave naturally. In fact, it directly determines behaviors that the person presents naturally – without pretense – whether in normal circumstances or stressful conditions.

It is crucial to establish the right selection criteria

The equation that recruiters must solve is very complex. When recruiting on potential, there are 2 requirements to meet. The first is to choose a person able to meet immediate company needs. In order to do this, you must correctly identify how a person will either be successful, or struggle in the role. This should allow you to create a list of specific criteria. On the other hand, you should also look at the traits that characterize the candidates who are able to grow and scale with your company.

The 3 characteristics of people who have the most potential

We can always assume that potential is contextual, as we have potential for some jobs but not others. However, here are 3 criteria that we can use to identify individuals who are consistently able to evolve to the changes that companies face.

  1. They understand better and learn faster. You can usually discover this by issuing an aptitude test. There are criteria for assessing this particular ability, by what is called the General Mental Aptitude test. Numerous psychology studies have shown that people who score high on such tests succeed in courses and training that are offered.
  2. There are are two types of people: those who play to win, and those who play to avoid losing. Only the first type are truly geared towards change and creativity. Those who want to win are the most action and change oriented.
  3. They are characterized by strong self-leadership. They know how to prompt action and activity. They also take responsibility for their actions and take initiative, even when the chances of success are not certain. This is good news, because this self-leadership can easily be assessed through a personality test.

Selecting the right hire is not an easy task, and the role of recruiters is crucial to a company’s success. To achieve success, it is essential that recruiters use reliable and objective data as well as their own experience. In fact, it is when these two types of information are used jointly that the best recruiting results can be achieved.

David Bernard

David is the CEO & Chief Creative Officer at AssessFirst