Hidden Value: A 3-Part Hiring Strategy for High-Potential Employees

Oct 26, 2023

When looking at a hiring strategy, French economist Jean-Baptiste Say characterized an entrepreneur as one who “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.” This expands the term’s literal translation from the French for “one who undertakes” to include the concept of value creation.

Bootstrapping founders epitomize the principle of creating more value with fewer resources, particularly developing a hiring strategy. While hiring C-level executives with extensive resumes and impressive LinkedIn profiles may be tempting, smaller businesses often need help to afford those seasoned professionals. To combat this, value creators need to develop a knack for hiring talented people about to blossom.

High Potential Employees (HIPOs), A Hidden Gem

High Potential Employees, or HIPOs, might have thin resumes, but spotting their burgeoning talent allows you to create significant value that others overlook. However, this is challenging to do well since most HIPOs have limited credentials for you to evaluate.

Here’s a three-part process for spotting HIPOs, developed by Skubana co-founder Chad Rubin, who built his company to $5 million in revenue with the help of a team of HIPOs before deciding to sell it to 3PL Central.

1. Hide a Golden Egg

Many young candidates apply for any (and every) job they come across. Still, Rubin sought detail-oriented applicants who took the time to understand his business and the specific role. He embedded an obscure request within each job posting to identify those who had read it in full. For instance, Rubin asked candidates to include the name of their favorite ’90s band in their cover letter. Rubin’s intention wasn’t to compile a new playlist; he wanted to see who had read the entire posting.

2. Pattern Recognition

Aware that traditional interviews wouldn’t suffice to gauge a candidate’s potential, Rubin turned to pattern recognition assessments to evaluate their intelligence. He discovered an online puzzle that required candidates to recognize patterns in a set of images, and he found this to be a reliable measure of their intellectual potential.

3. Measure the Fit

Once satisfied with their cognitive abilities, Rubin aimed to gauge how well a candidate would mesh with his team. Instead of a conventional interview, he used a Culture Index psychometric test to assess psychological attributes beyond IQ, measuring their fit within the company culture. Another psychometric assessment you can leverage is the Kolbe A Index. It measures how people instinctively take action and is an excellent barometer for evaluating the value new employees will bring to your business.

Applying the Kolbe A Index: A Practical Example for your Hiring Strategy

Let’s walk through a concrete example of how you can use a Kolbe score to assist your hiring process. If you need a manager who will run the daily operations of your business, here’s what to look for on the four attributes Kolbe measures on a scale from 1 to 10:

  • Fact Finder: 6-8
    This attribute measures how someone gathers and shares information. For someone running the day-to-day operations of your business, look for the sweet spot of someone who collects much info before taking action without succumbing to analysis paralysis.
  • Follow Thru: 5-8
    This category focuses on how candidates organize and design. You’re looking for someone who initiates systems, structure, and organization, so they should score relatively high here.
  • Quick Start: 4-6
    This one’s about how a candidate deals with risk and uncertainty. Look for someone with a healthy dose of risk aversion. Watch out, though, because if they score too low, say a 1, they might not be a fit for an entrepreneurial company.
  • Implementor: 3-7
    The last bucket covers how candidates handle space and tangibles. Ideally, you’ll find someone in the middle who can keep things working as they should and construct tangible solutions when needed.

This unique three-part hiring strategy, paired with practical assessment tests, will empower you to consistently recruit high-potential employees, even when entry-level, and unlock hidden value for your organization.

Conclusion: Unlocking Hidden Value in Your Hiring Process

In conclusion, adopting a strategic approach for your hiring strategy, such as hiding a golden egg, leveraging pattern recognition, and measuring fit through psychometric tests, can help you identify high-potential employees who may not have extensive resumes. Applying tools like the Kolbe A Index further refines your selection process, ensuring a better fit for your organization. By implementing these strategies, you can consistently recruit top talent and uncover hidden values that traditional hiring processes might overlook.

Economics Study Center | ESC Blog. http://www.escdu.org/esc-blog/archives/01-2021
How To Boost Your Customer Success With Customer Onboarding | LearnWorlds Blog. https://www.learnworlds.com/customer-onboarding-for-customer-success/