We have all seen those job adverts right? For junior roles where they ask for an endless list of skills and experience, and all for a low salary. And then those organisations wonder why they struggle to recruit. Instead of validating candidates based on what degree they have or which specific company they worked at, how about viewing the recruitment process as something different? How about thinking about the potential the candidate has to do brilliantly in your role? Perhaps they have skills they have demonstrated in something other than the role they have been doing? Perhaps you’re missing out on people who could bring a lot to your organisation simply by insisting on a particular qualification?

Here’s some ideas to think about how you can hire for potential.

See recruitment as an ongoing process

What I mean by that is that you need to think about how you are going to appeal to potential employees all the time. Not just when you have a vacancy. What you want is people who ant to work at your organisation, people who are eyeing you up and like what they see. And that is not based around a specific role, skills, or tasks. People who like what your organisation does, and believe in the mission and values, will be looking out for opportunities to join you. Those people might not have exactly the number of years’ experience, or certificate you thought they will need.  What they will have is a belief in what you do, and a desire to join you and perform well. That level of interest and passion for what you do will generate candidates who genuinely want to perform well in your organisation. This is sometimes described as a form of ‘passive recruitment’. There are people out there who are not necessarily looking for a job, but they love what you do, and can be tempted to join you, if they see an opportunity.

Focus on the person

Instead of drawing up a long list of tasks that people have to have done in a previous role, or specific software packages they must have experience in, think about the people you are interviewing instead. By asking the right questions can you determine things you need to know about their abilities to perform the role? For example, if you need someone who is organised, ask them for examples to show that. If you need someone who can communicate well, ask them about that. See the recruitment process as the opportunity for people to show you what they can do. And to show you how much they want the role. This is not about creating lots of barriers for people and tasks they have to do to show you their potential. Give each person the opportunity to shine and show you what they could do in the role. Recruitment is a two-way process. It’s about you finding out about each other.

Bring in different perspectives

The recruitment process is by its very nature, full of potential for biases and preferences based on each person’s own biases and experiences. To hire for potential, you need to think about how to overcome that. So bring in different types of people to the process, who will view candidates in different ways. Be creative in how you all assess candidates, so the process does not have biases built in. For example, instead of asking people to present on something about your company, you could ask them to talk about something in their own life. So that you make candidates feel more comfortable and able to talk about their own experiences. And if you have a diverse panel of people, they will view candidates in different ways. Often the best candidates to recruit are not the ones who seem like an obvious ‘fit’. Your aim should be to bring people in with different experiences and ideas so that you create teams with different perspectives.

And if you need help, or ideas about how you can think differently about your recruitment, email hello@watchthisspace.uk for a chat! We have an Inclusive Recruitment package to help you with recruiting and creating diverse teams.