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Measuring Candidate Potential

"Geopolitics, business, industries, and jobs are changing so rapidly that we can’t predict the competencies needed to succeed even a few years out. It is therefore imperative to identify and develop people with the highest potential."


- Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

  1. Motivation: The fire within to excel; those that are highly motivated seek out big collective goals, invest in themselves to do better and want to leave a legacy. It’s typically an unconscious competency but a quality easily identified and one that rarely changes throughout one’s life.

  2. Curiosity: The tendency to pursue new and different experiences combined with an openness to learn and change.

  3. Insight: The ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities.

  4. Engagement: The ability to leverage both logic and emotion to connect with others – it’s unique in that engagement is something that changes based on the environment and surrounding people. Individuals that have this quality have the aptitude for understanding when and how to adjust.

  5. Determination: We finish with determination as it serves as a grounding point for the other qualities – ensuring one sets big goals, doesn’t stop in the face of adversity, never stops learning and uncovers the impossible.

You probably have a documented process by which you assess candidates and it’s likely good. In fact, based on our research, 90% of established organizations use standardized questions to evaluate experience and skills. We’re confident you consider your candidates’ relatable job experience, talk through education and use behavioral interviewing not to mention vet for culture fit all in the pursuit of hiring the best.


What if we told you that you are only getting 50% of the story? What if the evaluation techniques you are leveraging only assure that the candidates will be able do the job, but may not have what it takes to grow with your firm and drive innovation? Candidates can be taught skills, and over time, develop experience. What can’t be taught and what is critical in today’s business climate is long-term potential.


The rest of this white paper lays out 5 simple qualities we assess to ensure the candidates we present to our clients have been vetted for their potential in addition to their experience, skills and culture fit. So what are the five qualities?


When considering candidates for strategic level hiring, the criticality of potential is exponentially more important. It’s not about what they can do today for your firm, rather how will they continue to innovate year after year. So how do you assess the potential a candidate possesses? The assessment tools you use and the questions you ask should be tailored to the level and role – just be sure you have alignment within your assessment team BEFORE you start assessing candidates. Keep the following in mind:

  • Consistency above all else with an in-depth interview process

  • Assess outside of a vacuum; that is to say, gather multiple perspectives from key stakeholders

  • Utilize an objective means to measure – require rating of competencies and/or qualities


Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated – asking simple questions and organizing them to easily compare candidate evaluations will help your team master the ability to measure potential and predict long term fit. The following examples illustrate the questions don’t have to be complicated to be effective.

  • What are your go-to resources to broaden your personal or professional development?

  • How often do you leverage them?

  • When do you seek the advice of others? The last time you did so, how was your understanding or perception changed?

  • When was the last time you felt challenged and how did you react?

  • What steps do you take to build cohesive relationships?

Once you have those high potential candidates hired be sure to provide them the autonomy, mastery and purpose to elevate their careers while driving innovation in your company. If you’d like to learn more about how we incorporate measuring candidate potential into a comprehensive recruiting process, contact us for more information at

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