Businessman assembling jigsaw puzzle human team employee

Recovery Playbook

your talent challenges have changed

2020 has forced every business to rethink Talent. Talencity’s Talent Recovery Playbook is a resource guide to you in pivoting, shifting or re-inventing your talent strategy.

Each week for 12-weeks, a new resource will be launched.

Hire the Talent

not the Resumé

Hiring the wrong person is costly, especially in uncertain times.

Great Talent is deeper than what you read on a Resumé.

Surely you already know that finding the right talent for your company is not an easy task! And the negative impact, both financial and intangible, of hiring the wrong person can be significant.1 Not only that, a bad apple spoils the bunch. The negative effects a bad hire has on morale and productivity are even more damaging, and could extend beyond their tenure.2

We all want the best for our companies, and there are plenty of reasons why one ought to be cautious. However, the flip side is that by being too picky, you could actually be missing out on the best candidates. In our experience, there are 3 common traps employers tend to get caught up on which could hinder their chances of finding the best talent for their company and we share some suggestions on how to avoid them.

3 key traps to avoid when finding top talent for your team:

  • Over-emphasis on Designations and Education
  • Must-have Job-related Work Experience
  • Industry Experience is necessary

Key traps to avoid when hiring top Talent

Over-emphasis on
Designations & Education

A proper designation and/or education is necessary for some occupations such as an engineer, an IT professional or a certified public accountant. However, an over-emphasis on designations could eliminate candidates who could have the experience or have already demonstrated the necessary skills. It could also become a hindrance to encouraging diversity and inclusiveness, both important to your employer brand.
To avoid falling into this trap, firstly, determine if the specified education or designation is critical to perform in the role. If not, then really, they are only nice-to-haves. Instead, focus on how they have demonstrated these necessary skills in their previous jobs or volunteer work. These real-life experiences could be better indications of their competencies. Another great experience to look for is one who has been a “scrapper” – someone who has faced and overcome adversity and obstacles. These individuals have built exceptional resilience and have demonstrated extraordinary problem-solving skills.4

Must-have job-related
Work Experience

We also often see Hiring Managers getting too hung up on previous tenure under certain job titles. While on paper this sounds logical to speed up the learning curve, it however only takes into account linear experience without taking into consideration how well this candidate performed in their previous job(s), nor that job-related experience might already have been gained through other means, such as being in a cross-functional project team. Realistically, job titles are just that, titles.  They mean different things to different organizations and it is what the candidate was doing in the role that is important to take note of.

Instead of just judging based on the candidate’s previous title, probe to understand what the previous job entails in terms of responsibilities and KPI’s.  Also, a candidate who is willing to take on extra projects/tasks has already demonstrated their true potential and willingness to learn. This can create a huge upside for your organization. Give this candidate a great growth and development opportunity, and you will in return not just have hired a competent candidate, but a loyal and motivated one. Also, regardless of whether the candidate already has or does not have the necessary experience, the ability and attitude to learn are going to be critical for future success due to the fast pace of change.

Industry experience is



Digital Marketer, Uber Driver, Cloud Architect, YouTube Content Creators – what do these occupations have in common? None of them existed 10 years ago. In fact, 85% of the jobs in Year 2030 have yet to be invented today!3

Not only does this reiterate point #2, it stresses the importance of focusing on the candidate’s agility, motivation and ability to learn and grow.

Great candidates are the ones who are willing, and, are able to be adaptive. If they have not done something specific in a previous role, are they excited and willing to learn it now?

Organizations wanting to stay ahead will have to continuously invest in reskilling and upskilling their employees. This is one of the biggest “must haves” from a candidate perspective, working for a company that wants to invest in their people and see them grow.

After all is said and done, Sir Richard Branson summarized this very well:

“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team? For us it’s personality.”
Sir Richard Branson

Always focus on important qualities which cannot be easily taught: willingness to learn, someone who is eager and takes initiative, the right fit for your company’s culture, flexibility, agility, empathy, and common sense. Review your list of ‘must-have’ qualifications and challenge yourself on each of them and determine if it truly is a ‘must-have’ for someone to perform in the job. And now, compare them to your strongest performers. Look for the discrepancies and highlight the key differences vs. the must-haves. Now you know what you should be looking for!

Ensuring the right ‘fit’ of a candidate is not quite as simple. There are so many more intangible qualities. We leave you with 2 suggestions.

  • Ensure you involve the team and other stakeholders who the new candidate will be working with in the hiring process. They will be in the best position to provide you with insights into this hard-to-measure quality.
  • When interviewing a candidate, ask open-ended questions. Gain a real understanding of the whole person by asking ‘Tell me…’ and ‘What else’. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you will learn about the candidate’s potential and passion!