<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1770253589940451&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The 5 factors that determine employee potential

Posted by Bob Corlett on July 16, 2014

Interviewing strategies are mostly about trying to predict whether someone will succeed in a job. For most people, that feels like taking a shot in the dark.

But now, for many jobs, you need to be able to predict if someone will succeed in not only the current job but also the next evolution of that job as it grows and changes. That feels more like taking a shot in the dark to hit a constantly moving target.

Traditional interviewing methods now only tell part of the picture. Past performance plus knowledge, skills and abilities were once decent indicators of someone’s ability to do a job. But now employees need a more elastic set of skills to thrive in most organizations — the employee has to grow and change as fast as their job does.

So what factors help you to predict who will thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment?

Over the past 20 years, executive search firm Egon Zehnder catalogued the qualities that best predict future performance in a VUCA environment, and they report that five factors have an 85 percent predictive accuracy. As they see it, the factors that identify candidates with “high potential” are these:

1. Motivation

Fierce commitment to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals. High potentials have great ambition and want to leave their mark, but they also aspire to big, collective goals, show deep personal humility, and invest in getting better at everything they do.

2. Determination

The wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges and to bounce back from adversity.

3. Engagement

A knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people.

4. Curiosity

Penchant for seeking out new experiences, knowledge, and candid feedback and an openness to learning and change.

5. Insight

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

It’s a solid list. Some variation of these factors has appeared in quite a bit of hiring research.

Motivation and determination have been validated by the fascinating research into “ grit.” You need people who can handle the daily grind of innovation and don’t quit when things get tough. Because in business, your plans don’t always work the first time (or 2nd or 500th). Without an almost compulsive drive to succeed in the face of failure, success will probably elude you.

Humility and engagement also figure prominently in Wharton Professor Adam Grant’s thoroughly researched book, “ Give and Take.” He outlines how our individual success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.

And finally, without curiosity and insight, people simply cannot successfully navigate through ambiguity. But don’t worry, hiring people with all these attributes does not have to be a shot in the dark. If you structure your interview sequence properly, you can learn quite a bit about ability to thrive in a VUCA environment. Here’s how.

This article originally appeared in the Business Journal

Topics: Hiring Process