How to Recognize Talent

Companies are spending energy, time, and money on “talent” who may not necessarily have the needed skills, and may overlook those who truly do, merely because they do not know how to spot it in others.

You can spot talent in less than 10 seconds, but only if you know what to look for. On the other hand, if you don’t know what to look for, you can end up spending tons of time and resources on searching, finding, and finally acquiring a pointless talent. And what might be considered a skill today can turn out to be useless in the future. In the world of sports, showbiz, and business, the concept of “talent spotting” is used quite often and has become one of the most talked-about concepts in recruiting. That may be why we find it so difficult to describe what, exactly, it is. Talent comes in many forms, but the question is whether you can spot it in others when you encounter it. When we look for talent, many of us look for something recognizable, and that is where we go wrong because not all talents are recognizable; many are hidden talents dying to be unleashed. The challenge most people face when looking for talent is that you like what you can recognize, and you can only recognize something you’ve seen before.

It is imperative for recruiters, managers, and leaders to network and create meaningful bonds with people you will encounter over the course of your career. Therefore, you must become an HR expert at how to map, maintain, and nurture people and their talents.

The Talent of the Future

So what sorts of talents do we need in the future? Who will you need 5 to 10 years from now?

In time, IT and robotics will take over more and more of those standard jobs that require what I call primary brain work, such as math, technical drawing, data processing, etc. The ability to think in an interdisciplinary manner, complex via complex collaborations and relations, is where we should hone our talent. Individuals should look for those who have unique personality traits and depth, rather than getting a high score on a standardize test.

Secondly, talent is something natural. Something that is already in a person. A talent may be broad or narrow. It may be general or it may be specific. No matter what, a talent is something a person excels at naturally.

It is important to focus on the future when looking for talent with these five basic tips:

  • First, ask yourself what talent or skills your company will need 5 to 10 years from now. Then map out what you think those talents or skills look like, but remember, they may be things you’ve never looked for before.
  • Another way to find new talent is to recruit through new channels and base candidates’ skills on their values and not exams.
  • Get rid of your bias and systematic job applications. They have no depth and are only good for hiring robots!
  • Make sure you can tell the difference between a natural talent and a trained talent.
  • Dare to take a Wild Card. There is no such thing as a sure “talent.” Sometimes it is good to go with your gut feeling. So when you come across someone “special,” don’t let him or her go!

Soulaima Gourani is a lecturer, corporate advisor, and author. She is the author of three books; “Ignite Your Career,” “Take Control of Your Career,” and “Courage to Success.” One2Speak named Gourani one of the best Danish keynote speakers in 2010. In 2012, World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader, and later that year she was appointed chairwoman of nonprofit organization Global Dignity. In 2013, Nordic Business Forum designated her one of the greatest thinkers in the Nordic. In 2014, she was chosen as one of the “40 under 40” European young leaders. Gourani was elected as a TED mentor in 2016 and later that same year was announced as one of the “Inspiring 50 Nordics” women in the tech sector.