Selecting talent is a strategic and symbolic act.

The right track record, skill set, knowledge base, and developmental experiences are the foundation for success in a particular role, but if we aim only to fill a position, we are missing the point. The most effective organizations recruit strategically. They use every hiring opportunity as a chance to add a uniquely talented and high-potential team member to their ranks, arming the organization to perform at the next level. Whom you choose to hire, develop, and promote speaks volumes about what is rewarded on your team, what results are valued, and what behavior is tolerated in order to attain those results. The symbolic message is very clear; you can communicate constantly and say who you are, but how you select talent shows it. Aligning talent selection with your values and strategy drives performance and reinforces the culture.

Talent is Not the Same Thing as Skillfullness.

Skills, experiences, track record, competencies, and cultural fit are important, but they are all characteristics of who a candidate is, rather than what a candidate has the potential to become. Talented individuals (with a capital “T”) are the superstars who have the ability to excel in any context, master new skills, thrive during periods of change or relate to any audience. It is their relentless dedication to continually learn and improve —and their intrinsic desire to master new challenges—that makes them universally impressive over time.

Talent has predictors.

Looking for track record and cultural fit is the most common way organizations assess talent. However, these considerations alone are poor indicators of whether or not a candidate is Talented. It is impossible to retroactively discern what part a candidate played in a success or failure without understanding the context, and past success does not guarantee future success. Because Talent is a quality that manifests over time, it cannot be observed directly in a snapshot of a candidate, but it can be predicted. Over 25 years of researching the leaders who have a “sixth sense” for finding potential, CRA has uncovered nine predictors that inform the dimensions of Talent: learning and interpersonal agility, a deep and intrinsic motivation to achieve excellence, and a moral and collaborative core.

Talent and Organizational Fit are Not the Same Thing.

Finding Talent is important, but it is not the entire goal. Choosing a Talented candidate whose style doesn’t align with the organization’s values can disrupt the company’s culture by sending mixed messages about what behaviors are valued. A deeply rooted culture can reject ill-fitting team members, which results in a waste of time, money, and effort. Fit is critical, but assessing only for fit can cloud our judgment around other dimensions, so it is imperative to find Talent first, and assess for fit last.

Talent Assessment Process Design

We arm our clients with tools they need for selection processes that are consistent and scalable:

  • Customized Case Studies for Predicting Judgment
  • Customized Question Sets for Assessing Cultural Fit
  • Question sets Based on CRA’s Proprietary Predictors of Talent
  • The Apparent Magnitude Candidate Assessment™
  • Developmental Talent Assessment