Talent Management 101: What Do You Look for in a High-Potential Candidate?

April 18, 2013

The first step in talent management and leadership development is to determine who are the high-potentials. AMA asked leadership development experts, what do you look for in a high-potential candidate?

 “Our research shows that there are basically four factors which are important for a growth from employee to manager: eagerness to learn, understanding others, breadth of perspective, and personal maturity.” Georg Vielmetter, European Head of Practices, Regional Director Europe, Leadership & Talent, Hay Group.

 “I look for talent that is smart, driven, and execution-oriented that also has the ability to move up two organizational levels.” Davina J. Askin, Talent Management Executive, Girl Scouts of the USA

“We’re living in a world in which relationships are more important than ever. People get things done through others — no one has the intellectual capacity to contain all the knowledge they need to get the job done. That means that we need leaders with strong social capital or social intelligence. We need people who can build and sustain networks, who understand how to give to their colleagues, who can build trust among their peers, and who can engage others around an initiative or strategy. We need leaders who can develop relationships that counter their blind spots and weaknesses, provide new perspectives, and energize them. Therefore, managers looking for the next generation, should seek out people with strong networks and social intelligence.” Maya Townsend, MSOD, Founder, Partnering Resources, advisor to Gartner.

See what talent management and leadership development guru John Mattone has to say about what he looks for in a high-potential candidate.

“A positive, collaborative, and can-do style that consistently energizes others’ high performance.” Judy Vogel, Partner, Vogel/Glaser & Associates, Inc., and instructor, American Univeristy, NTL Masters of OD Program.

“They should be looking for attitudes of inquiry, curiosity, self-confidence, and interest in understanding themselves better, plus a  passion for working with others to excel.” David Jamieson, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Organization Learning & Development at the University of ST. Thomas.

“People who have a passion for learning, growth, and development for themselves and those around them.  They excel at creating teams that energetically scan the environment and adapt easily to new situations and opportunities.  They easily and quickly form partnerships with other teams and organizations, customers, and even competitors.  They dedicate themselves to the success of their peers; who take initiative, make decisions, and are determined to get the job done.”  Matt Minahan, President, MM & Associates.

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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.

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