2 December 2019

The Crystal Ball Of Recruitment: This is How To Predict A Candidate’s Success


We’ve all been there. We’ve hired a person with good qualifications, a decent education and polite manners. They said in their personality test that they love working in teams and are good at delegating. A perfect match for the role you are filling! 4 months in, the employee is not performing how you thought they would and you are struggling to get them back on track. Bummer.

The good (and bad) news is that you are not alone, 75% of scaleup hires end up unsuccessful. I know, what a huge number! And an even bigger number is associated with the cost of bad hires, but you probably know that already. What I want to focus on instead is the solution. Is there any way to prevent this? First, we must go back and see where we went wrong.

Let’s trace our steps back

If you are like most, you hired this candidate mostly based on past information, i.e. work experience and education, and then used a personality test as a sprinkle on top. If you are hiring for a role where you don’t want to train someone from scratch, experience is important. Not as important as you might think though. In the end, no one’s most valued trait as an employee is knowing every nook and cranny of Excel, for example. What matters more is the person’s ability to be solution-oriented, interest in helping others and a person’s ability to creatively solve tricky problems.

In short, how a person will use the ‘hard’ skills he or she has. Most companies would rather hire a diligent problem-solver with mediocre knowledge in Excel who would have the potential to master it in 6 months on the job than someone with perfect skills but no interest in finishing their reports on time. But how can you predict who has the ability to learn Excel? How can you know how a person would apply their skills in your organization without yet working there? Maybe a crystal ball would help?


How can you look into the future?

A hiring manager’s dream is to be able to look into the future and examine how employees perform before they are actually hired. Are they well-liked by their team members, do they give valuable input, are they fast learners? Unfortunately, time travel is yet to be invented but we have the next best thing: measuring a candidates’ potential. Potential means looking at a candidate’s behaviour, personality and cognitive traits to see what they will be able to do in the future.

What you ideally want to know about a person’s future performance can vary between industries, companies and job roles. Being very flexible in your work is crucial in scaleups and startups, not so much in big corporates where employees need to be very specialized in their tasks. Being able to plan ahead is important for a marketing manager but less so in roles that are more reactive, like customer service.

Do you want to learn more about how to predict future performance when hiring your scaleup team? Download our Scaleup Hiring Playbook!


Define what matters to you

In order to assess future potential, you need to define what traits are required to be successful in your company culture. You also need to think about the qualities that are needed in different teams. Talk to the employees you already have to find what makes them perform well. Then compile all this data and find a way to quantify and compare these abilities. We at Equalture focus on gamified pre-screening because it’s fast, accurate and removes bias. Whatever the solution you decide to apply, make sure you assess all your applicants the same way. You need to have the same data for all the candidates in order to compare them with one another.

I hope this opened your eyes to look for potential instead of looking at the past. Good luck with defining your list of necessary cognitive abilities and personality traits, I hope all your future hires are successful!

Cheers, Emilia