Recruiting for Potential and the 6 Pitfalls to Watch Out for


The predictive hiring tools we use at Mint Kulca focus on combining data with science. Data selected at each step in the hiring process, and science taken from psychometric assessments. These hiring tools predict, with high accuracy, how well candidates will fit the role and culture of the business.

This allows our clients to hire the right candidates 90% of the time. Using our platform will help you maintain a more effective recruitment process.

At Mint Kulca, we partner with Thomas to bring the power of psychology to the users of our applicant tracking system. We would like to share with you our take aways of a recent Thomas article. It looks at recruiting for potential and the 6 personality traits that are typical derailers of success at work.

Why is Recruiting for Potential Important?

Rapid technological advancement and sociological shifts have pushed upskilling and reskilling to the top of HR Leaders’ agendas. With the working world evolving ever faster, hiring managers must now recruit for potential.

The potential to learn new skills and apply them to the changing demands of the workplace is vital. Many organisations still rely on CVs when making hiring decisions, but personality is far more predictive of job success than experience.

Assessing Potential and the 6 Recruitment Pitfalls to Watch Out for

The following six personality traits are typical derailers of success at work. Assessing candidates against them will give you a clear indication of their potential to succeed in any role you may recruit for.

1. Low Conscientiousness

Self-discipline, organisation, and impulse control characterise conscientiousness. Research shows that conscientiousness is predictive of job success across all industries and markers of success. People who are disciplined in their professional lives and motivated to work hard are more likely to succeed.

In contrast, low conscientiousness is likely to limit the potential of your new recruits to outperform. On the other side of the coin, others may perceive individuals with extremely high conscientiousness as too critical. Perfectionism and indecision can sometimes hold them back. They might be at risk of burnout, making it important for them to take pre-emptive steps to avoid this.

2. Low Adjustment

The majority of people with low adjustment experience more stress and negative emotions than others. In today’s fast-paced world, individuals who can remain calm and composed are likely to be successful. Studies have shown that high adjustment improves performance and teamwork, while low adjustment reduces wellbeing and job satisfaction.

The global pandemic is a fitting example of why low adjustment could derail success at work. Faced with sudden or momentous change, leaders with high adjustment will be more easily able to adapt their leadership style to meet shifting demands. It is likely that companies which pivoted successfully in response to the pandemic relied on individuals with high adjustment.

3. Lack of Curiosity

In a market shaped by technological development, high curiosity can be an asset for your organisation, facilitating continuous improvement and innovation. An individual’s degree of curiosity determines their openness to change. People who are high in curiosity are innovative and inquisitive. Those with lower curiosity levels, however, prefer to take a more conventional approach.

Low curiosity may inhibit an individual from pioneering new, better ways of operating. This is something that great leaders are naturally motivated to do. Individuals with high curiosity are likely to be more responsive to training and engaged by work tasks that involve learning.

Open individuals will also be more interested in new ideas and colleagues with differing opinions. This is a trait that can make them more motivated to innovate in pursuit of improvement.

However, individuals that are excessively curious can lack focus and follow-through. Whilst curiosity does correlate with job success, conscientiousness and adjustment levels are stronger predictors of potential.

4. Poor Risk Management

The most effective leaders confront problems, take calculated risks, and have difficult conversations. Leaders often need to react as quickly as possible, rather than putting off difficult tasks and decisions. Studies show that fear restricts an individual’s potential range of responses to the perceived threat, which often results in avoidance.

Professional success requires courage. Top Performers find a balanced approach to risk. They incur just enough risk to motivate their teams and facilitate innovation, while simultaneously avoiding chaos and confusion. Reacting in an overly emotional or irrational way can harm an individual’s influence within an organisation. However, a healthy appetite for risk is essential when operating in today’s mercurial markets.

5. Low Competitiveness

Successful leaders have an intrinsic competitive urge and drive to achieve. A study of 147 salespeople in the United States found that competitiveness was a significant predictor of success. People who are high in this trait are driven by self-improvement and a desire for individual and team success.

Knowing when and where to focus this competitiveness is crucial. Successful leadership teams entertain constructive conflict, which improves the group’s ability to solve problems. Leaders must be able to focus their competitiveness outside the team in order to achieve success for the group.

On the other side of the coin, excessive competitiveness impedes collaboration and can alienate people and result in unproductive antagonism. Unlike conscientiousness, competitiveness may not lead directly to improved performance, although it is indicative of success potential.

6. Low Tolerance for Ambiguity

Being able to make sense of complex, contradictory, and ambiguous information is key to success in today’s complicated world. This is a highly sought-after trait in the workplace. ‘Ambiguity acceptance’ describes individuals’ capacity to tolerate the complex and unfamiliar.

Elevated levels of ambiguity acceptance are now a prerequisite for success in the workplace. This is because market uncertainty is pushing organisations to become ever more agile.

Individuals with higher levels of responsibility are regularly presented with conflicting information. They must be able to and decide upon critical issues without being overwhelmed.

How Can the Mint Kulca Platform Help You Recruit for Potential?

Psychometric assessments are one tool on our platform that provides an objective source of rich information. Through them, you can learn about an individual’s potential for top performance at work. This can inform your recruiting process and help you select high-potential candidates.

Are you interested in hiring for potential? Our system can help your company and its hiring teams or recruiting and hiring managers to improve on your recruitment process. Allow the various assessment tools and processes on our unique applicant tracking platform to help inform your hiring, succession, and development decisions.

Book a demo and let us show you how to select candidates with the potential to outperform today.

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