Hiring for Potential: 3 Qualities You Should Not Miss

Given the rapid changes in technology and the way they are shaping our society, the very concept of hiring for potential — as opposed to the traditional mode, which is experience — is beginning to make more and more sense. Hiring a candidate because of experience places value on his past work and his present skills which are supposedly applicable to his current tasks.

But if something as revolutionary as artificial intelligence or cryptocurrency is about to become integral to the operations of the company, what previous criterion should the global mobility manager look for in future talents who can master these new trends?

Or in a dynamic region like Silicon Valley, where software and skill sets alike seem to change by the year, how can the beleaguered human resources manager determine which of their future hires can easily adapt? Which of their assignees can help see the company ascend to the top of this new wave?

The simple answer is:  check for qualities in the candidate that indicate their potential to respond to challenges that are groundbreaking, disruptive, and perhaps even downright alarming. Forbes takes this position and points out a few traits that the smart recruiter should look for. Among them are curiosity, determination, and motivation.

These days, curiosity does not just not kill the cat — it can probably launch stellar careers. One way to succeed in the 21st century is to be a lifelong learner. That means never staying complacent with one’s knowledge and abilities but always trying to improve them and developing new talents and abilities.

As The Economist puts it, that behavior is now “an economic imperative.” One survey it cited shows that professionals themselves recognize that hard truth:  54% of working Americans believe that they will continue retraining themselves throughout their entire professional lives.

It is the naturally curious who has a passion for discovery who makes natural lifelong learners. They do not shrink from change but actually study how they can make it work to their advantage. They are solution providers who get to the heart of a problem and turn it around.

If the quest for knowledge starts an assignee toward the path of competitiveness, it is determination that actually makes them finish the course. Even the most brilliant savant will back down if they are faint of heart. Determination, however, can push even those who may not be as gifted to take on and finally complete a tough assignment. A determined assignee will not allow doubts, challenges, rejection, and even failure from preventing them from fulfilling their mandate. Four-time Olympic gold medallist Jesse Owens says determination cannot be separated from success:  “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into  reality, it takes an awful lot of determination.”

The third most important quality to look for in assignees is motivation, which actually fuels determination. If curiosity is the car’s GPS, determination is the engine, and motivation is the oil or electricity powering it.

A motivated assignee is a determined one. When the chips are down and discouragement is chipping away at their resolve, the actual reasons that propel them to succeed can give them an actual boost.

Motivation can vary:  it can be professional advancement, prestige and power, financial security, the desire to make a difference, the respect of society, or sheer love for family. But it is the spark that keeps the engine running and accelerates the assignee to cross the finish line, despite bumpy roads, stormy weather, and nearly-punctured wheels.