PSU Blog

Get the latest industry insights.


Hiring To Fill a Position, or Looking For High-Potential Candidates?

When candidates apply for an open position, there are some things about the outcome that they can easily understand and predict. If they have experience in the industry, they’ve read the posting carefully, and they’ve done some research on the company, then they have some idea of what they’re stepping into. But no matter how qualified they may be, applicants aren’t mind readers. And some truly excellent candidates apply for positions that aren’t likely to make the best use of their talents and skills.

What should you do when you encounter a highly qualified candidate for a mismatched, unavailable, or already staffed position?

Taking On High-Potential Candidates

A growing number of recruiters and hiring managers are adopting a strategy known as high-potential hiring. With a high-potential staffing plan in place, excellent candidates are recognized in the pool and contacted, whether they meet the needs of a specific position or not. After further screening and a broader review of open positions within the company, these candidates are 1.) placed in a unit, division or department other than the one for which they applied, 2.) hired for positions that are then adapted to make use of the candidates unique skills, 3.) hired for positions which are created on the spot and tailored to the candidate’s talents.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this kind of staffing model.

High-Potential Hiring: Advantages

Right at this moment, a slow economy has flooded the job market with a glut of available candidates, and hiring balances are tipped in favor of employers. But many experts predict a rapid reversal in the near future as the economy recovers and a wave of baby boomers reach retirement age. When this happens, hiring managers may regret their recent cavalier dismissal of highly educated, highly motived performers simply because their skills didn’t match the needs of the moment.

In addition, in this fast-moving, technology-driven age, demand for specific skills can rise and fall quickly. A candidate who spends a year honing his knowledge of certain software program may find that program hopelessly out of date within a few months. But while specific competencies may fluctuate in value, a strong work ethic, polished social skills, and gritty resilience are always in style.

High Potential Hiring: Warnings

While high potential hiring can keep top candidates on your team and out of the hands of your competition, don’t ignore the expensive realities that come with an overstaffed office. If you adopt this model, do so strategically and maintain a calculated focus on the long term. Don’t take on candidates recklessly, and don’t put yourself in the position of having to dismiss or downsize new recruits simply because of your own poor planning.

Are you searching for ways to tighten, refine, and redesign your staffing and hiring strategies? The NC employment experts at Personnel Services Unlimited can help. Contact our office and arrange a consultation today.