How to Recognize Top Talent

Companies are impacted by the increased global competition for top talent, which has escalated with many jobs converting to remote opportunities. Individuals hired either help achieve company goals and objectives or could become a costly turnover statistic. The question everyone wants answered is, “How do you accurately recognize the best talent?”

execunetselect-diverse-group-business-peopleMy first suggestion is to look internally before conducting an outside search.  During interviews, a potential employee is asked about their short-term goals and their five-year goals. Too often their five-year goals are not discussed with their direct report. This is the best person to uncover an employees’ additional talents and their potential to grow and advance within your company.

If you want to hire and retain top talent, it is not just about identifying the best person for each job, it is also about identifying the best role for each employee. Short and long-term goals should also be addressed during stay interviews and performance reviews. Ask questions to identify skills or talents that are currently not being utilized. Identify the common denominators of your most engaged and retained high achievers and understand their priorities and goals.

The Pareto Principle can assist your efforts to identify your internal high achievers. Ask yourself, “Who are the 20% of our current employees, that are responsible for 80% of our results?” Too often these employees are not visible and could get overlooked, or their manager does not want to lose them. Either way, the employee will eventually look for advancement elsewhere.

There are other characteristics of best hires to consider. They adapt to change and unexpected challenges and use their communication skills to help accomplish goals. They support and work toward goals that align with company core values. Next, they are achievement-oriented, problem solvers, and dependable. You would describe them as driven, dedicated, resilient and team oriented.

If you want to hire and retain top talent, it is not just about identifying the best person for each job, it is also about identifying the best role for each employee.

View your entire workforce as a pool of talent, who value career advancement. Identify your current top talent and embrace promoting from within, to retain these high achievers. Internal hires also understand your company culture, core values, and are more likely to be committed and loyal. Lastly, promoting internal candidates also improves other employees’ engagement.

A company that does an excellent job of advancing internal talent is Schneider Electric. To quote Jean Pelletier, VP, Digital Talent Transformation:

Internal talent identification is table stakes for organizations. The key is to make opportunities transparent to employees and allow for agile matching of talent supply and demand. In 2020, we launched an internal Open Talent Market (OTM) which is an AI-driven platform that matches internal talent to opportunities (projects, jobs, and mentors) across the organization at speed. This is a gamechanger for us with empowering employees to drive their career development within the company.”

When you determine there are no internal candidates, utilize a high-tech and high-touch approach to identify the best talent. Finding high-potential employees requires more than using a search algorithm and a keyword search for high performers.

Technology has made it quicker and easier to find candidates who match specific criteria and job requirements. You can identify top talent through your professional and personal networks, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other industry related social media sites. The question becomes, “How can you quickly separate average from top talent?”

In addition to the characteristics listed earlier, there are other common denominators of high achievers. They are more likely to participate in specific interest groups, post articles or blogs that reflect their expertise, and comment on other posts.

They have probably received recognition or awards throughout their life and have recommendations, testimonials, and acknowledgements from their peers and former managers. When you review their recommendations, you will notice keywords like “critical thinker,” “competitive,” “conscientious,” or “creative problem solver.”

Research if they are involved in their professional associations and if so, did they serve in a leadership role? Most associations post their membership lists, board of directors, and committee heads online which are great resources for top talent. Next, identify and join the LinkedIn Groups that attract high achievers. Write posts on LinkedIn and share them with your groups to keep your name in front of these potential future hires.

When you learn how to effectively recognize top talent you improve your ability to recruit, interview, hire, engage, and retain them!



Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno, author of HIGH-TECH HIGH-TOUCH RECRUITING: How To Attract And Retain The Best Talent By Improving The Candidate Experience, is an internationally recognized recruiting expert who has a proven track record of helping recruiters and talent acquisition professionals become more successful and less stressed. She has created several popular LinkedIn Learning courses and is president of Good As Gold Training, HR Search, Inc., and Happy Candidates.

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