Hiring High Potentials

When making hiring decisions, it’s inevitable there are going to be those candidates you would love to hire, but they just aren’t a good fit for the specific job for which you are interviewing. You know the ones. You’re rifling through a stack of resumes when one seems to literally jump out at you. The individual has stellar credentials – an impressive education, an extraordinary work history, and a fabulous track record of successes. They would be the ideal candidate for any number of positions, just not for the opening in question.

Such people are commonly referred to as ‘high potentials’. Naturally superior performers, they possess incredible potential to achieve amazing things, rack up an impressive set of accomplishments, and advance in the organization, possibly to the C-suite itself. So what do you do when a high potential magically appears in a group of candidates? Do you bring them onboard even if you have to create a position for them? Do you endeavor to build a relationship with them in the hopes of hiring them when an appropriate position opens up? Or do you heave a sigh and throw them back into the hiring pool, lamenting the fact that someone else is going to get to add them to their team?

Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” answer to these questions. Hiring decisions must be made specific to the organization and responsibility rests solely with the hiring management and the rest of the management team to determine if bringing a high potential onboard is a good idea, even if they must create a new position for them.

Following are arguments in favor of, and against, hiring them:

Pro:  With the economy in recovery mode, this could be a good time to roll the dice and take a chance with a high potential. In doing so, you are basically bringing a “sure thing” onboard – that is, someone who is guaranteed to be a top performer. You are also removing them from the labor pool, thus preventing your competitors from hiring them. Smart move!

Con:  Hiring someone when you don’t have a specific need for them is a risky bet. Sure, they are considered brilliant and talented, but those attributes may or may not be transferable to your specific demands. Furthermore, high potential people are a driven lot, by nature. They crave challenges and opportunities. If you bring them onboard, but don’t immediately give them lots of stimulating projects to work on, your goal of taking them out of the labor pool will be for naught, as chances are good they will fly the coop at the first halfway decent opportunity.

High potentials are a coveted class of employees. When one comes under your radar, you would probably be best advised to hire them IF it appears to be the right move for your company. Bringing a high potential onboard when you don’t have a specific need for them is a risky proposition. As with any hiring decision, this one must be undertaken with a great deal of care and consideration. After all, hiring is costly, so take time to do it right the first time.

For assistance with your company’s recruiting efforts, contact High Profile Staffing today.

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