Look Forward, Not Back, When Identifying Potential

by Gareth Jones | LinkedIn | Twitter

Gareth Blog Pic

Consider the statement in the image above next time you are involved in recruiting someone for your organisation.

“Surely, a no brainer!” I hear you say. ‘The next 10’ is by far the more relevant and obvious choice. So why then, do so few of you actually demonstrate this thinking in practice?

The sad fact is that probably 9 out of every 10 HR and recruiting professionals who read this blog, do what someone has done before, and use previous experience as their defacto or prime method of talent identification and selection.

“I need a new Marketing Director. Clearly they must have experience of working at a Law firm!” said the Managing partner of the law firm. No!

The problem with using experience as your main identification and selection criteria is that it is the least reliable predictor of performance in the role. In fact, if you use previous experience as your primary method of selection, the absolute best you can achieve in hiring accuracy is 25%. At best.

To put that into perspective, lets pretend you have been asked to hire a sales team. If you use previous experience and sales performance as your chief selection criteria, then for every four sales people you hire, at best, only one of those sales execs is likely to consistently achieve the expectations you set for them (i.e. their target!) and reach their full potential. This includes, and probably more importantly, their own ambitions for the role.

You may find that hard to believe and you are not alone. One recent VP of sales I spoke to also thought it was unlikely so I posed them a question:

“If you could wave a magic want and replace all of your current 90 sales managers with people who could consistently hit target year on year and exceed expectations with customers, how many of the existing ones would you re-hire?”

I told him to sleep on it and we could chat about it next time we meet.

Want to guess how many they said they would keep when we met them a few days later?

None. A big fat zero. Not one of the existing crop would make it back in.

The Chemistry Group has been working with large multinational organisations for the last 10 years and we have research, which shows time and time again, that using previous experience as your core selection criteria is deeply flawed.

I’m not saying it’s unimportant. Clearly for some roles, having the skills and capabilities associated with a role can be quite important for success. You would certainly hope that your brain surgeon had previous experience of slicing and dicing grey matter wouldn’t you!

What I’m saying is that previous experience is the least reliable predictor of potential and performance in role.

So, if experience isn’t cutting it, what is?

Find out at the next myHRcareers networking event this Wednesday the 29th July 2015 at Harris+Hoole in Central London.  Come along and hear me share insight into what factors really predict potential and performance and more about talent acquisition and the future of recruitment.

Reserve your free ticket here –>  Summer Networking Party

Speaking alongside me will be Julie Tindale, Head of HR Transformation at Whitbread, and Tom Holmes, Director of Veran Performance.

Please join us at this free event.

In the meantime check out Julie’s take on Talent Acquisition (here) and Tom’s views (here)!

MyHRCareers is a community providing aspiring HR professionals with the connections, skills and opportunities needed to confidently progress their careers.  Join us on LinkedIn here