For ages, we’ve judged people based on what they’ve already done. Medals on the shelf and awards on the wall have always opened doors and landed jobs. It’s like using the rearview mirror to see where someone’s going. But hold on a minute โ€“ does a good driver in one car automatically mean they’ll ace a different road?

That’s the big question in hiring: Should we stick with the familiar comfort of past achievements, or take a chance on hidden potential? Everyone knows past wins aren’t guarantees for the future, but proven track records can be shiny and tempting compared to the unknown promise of what someone “could” do.

But things are changing fast. Skills get outdated, jobs shift and twist, and yesterday’s top performer can suddenly be lost in the fog. So, is it time to ditch the rearview mirror altogether? Or can we use it to learn from the past while still looking ahead?

Before we begin, let’s understand both sides.

Understanding ‘Potential’ and ‘Performance’

Performance is like a snapshot of someone’s skills in their current role. It shows how well they’ve done so far, but not necessarily how they’d handle a completely different job or climb the ladder.

Potential, on the other hand, is about what someone could achieve. It’s like asking, “Do they have the raw talent and drive to excel in a future role with more responsibility and complex challenges?” This includes things like their motivation, soft skills, personality traits, and even brainpower.

Research indicates that as we enter adulthood, typically around the age of 25, our brain ceases its natural process of developing new neural pathways. Consequently, our established habits, biases, and attitudes become more entrenched.

In contrast, performance indicates a personโ€™s knowledge, experience & job skills. These aspects can always be trained/improved using learning interventions and practice.

The Hidden Truth โ€” Potential & Performace โ€” PerspectAI
The Hidden Truth โ€” Potential & Performace โ€” PerspectAI

Beyond the Boxes: Why Past Performance Isn’t Everything

Reward for performance, hire for potential!

While past achievements deserve recognition, when it comes to hiring, potential paints a brighter picture of future success. It’s like choosing a seed with hidden potential over a perfectly ripe fruit.

Therefore, assessing a candidate requires a slight shift in mindset. Some candidates might not tick every box, so sometimes, it might be necessary to lower your requirements on past performance.

This is not the same as lowering your hiring standards. It just means that youโ€™re prepared to accept candidates with slightly less experience or qualifications. So, stop continuing your search for the mythical purple squirrel!

Look out for the right abilities and attitude. If you get this right, theyโ€™ll scale into that squirrel in no time!

Sure, there might be a misstep or two along the way โ€“ that’s part of the growth process. But by seeking out individuals with the spark of “A-player” potential, you’re investing in your company’s future. Every superstar was once a rookie, and nurturing raw talent is how you build a high-performing team that thrives in the long run.

Unlock True Potential
Unlock True Potential

So, skip the resume checklist and look for raw talent, drive, and a hunger to learn. That’s True Potential, the hidden superpower that takes you and your company to unimaginable heights. It’s not just about one person, it’s about everyone reaching their best together.

At PerspectAI, we see beyond the resume. We know brilliance can bloom anywhere, at any experience level, not just on polished paper. That’s why we hunt for hidden talent, for the raw spark of potential that can ignite into future success.

Embrace true potential with us, and watch your team soar!

Esha Jain
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Author Esha Jain

Sharanya is a People Science Associate at PerspectAI. HR Tech and the future of AI intrigue her, and she loves reading up! On other days, you can find her enjoying music gigs or concerts.

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