Let’s start with a question – what is talent?
The words which immediately spring to mind are skill, expertise, experience, etc., closely followed by the idea of sector or job know-how. Only when several candidates arrive at the finish line in a dead heat, does personality comes into the equation. But why in this order?
The key ingredient of talent is above all personality. But, be careful, this does not just mean recruiting nice people. A professional personality is built with experience, but not only with this. Does this all seem rather vague? Of course – recruitment doesn’t claim to be an exact science. A professional personality consists of three dimensions – vision, motivation and adaptability. Take, for example, when there is a management vacancy and you want to promote a member of the team. Obviously, you bet on the most experienced; but someone younger and with less experience arrives in your office with a Powerpoint presentation ready to show you what he or she sees as the opportunities of tomorrow. The game has changed and your choice is not now so obvious.
Talents which don’t immediately surface on the first reading of a CV are also worthy of your attention; in fact these can often be a game changer! Try looking at recruiting with a fresh perspective. Don’t just look at diplomas, experience with a competitor or in a similar job, etc., give candidates the chance to prove themselves during the interview by testing their adaptability, their willingness to learn and their values. You could, for example, focus on international travel, participation in MOOCs and digital learning, membership of associations, sports, etc. A video CV can also give you a better overview of personality traits which are difficult to convey through a written CV.
A candidate who held a similar position with a competitor can reproduce the same social pattern in your company, even though your values differ. The team he or she joins will be destabilised. On the other hand, if the new recruit comes from another sector or another activity, you will have chosen him or her based on the motivation to do the job. This person will want to learn and will listen to colleagues. Moreover, he or she will quickly fit in and in return for the training received will bring you a fresh and out of the box perspective.
So, be daring in your recruitment! This is our mindset at Morgan Philips Executive Search, where clients’ needs are defined meticulously in order to select profiles offering something other than simple technical skills. We look for candidates seeking new challenges and able to bring an innovative view to the job and the company’s issues. And profiles with ‘the right stuff’ are not always where you thought they would be!
Sonia Khelif, Deputy Managing Director, Morgan Philips Executive Search France