5 testable qualities that determine a candidate’s potential

From The Big Idea: 21st-Century Talent Spotting by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz:

Having spent 30 years evaluating and tracking executives and studying the factors in their performance, I now consider potential to be the most important predictor of success at all levels, from junior management to the C-suite and the board. I’ve learned how to identify people who have it and to help companies develop and deploy them.

The first indicator of potential we look for is the right kind of motivation: a fierce commitment to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals. We consider motivation first because it is a stable—and usually unconscious—quality. If someone is driven purely by selfish motives, that probably won’t change.

We then consider four other qualities that are hallmarks of potential, according to our research:
— Curiosity: a penchant for seeking out new experiences, knowledge, and candid feedback and an openness to learning and change
— Insight: the ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities
— Engagement: a knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people
— Determination: the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges and to bounce back from adversity

5 thoughts on “5 testable qualities that determine a candidate’s potential

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  3. Hi David,
    This post reminds me about legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch – 4E approach to hiring:
    1. Positive energy – does the person go, go and go some more. Do they thrive on action and relish change? Do they start the day with enthusiasm and usually end it that way.
    2. Ability to energize others – positive energy is the ability to get other people revved up. People who energize can inspire their team to take on the impossible – and enjoy the hell out of doing it. Doing so takes a strong knowledge about your business and strong persuasion skills.
    3. Edge – the ability to make yes or no decisions.
    4. Execute – the ability to get the job done.

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