GeneralHr Library

The Art of Recognizing Top Talent

By | Michelle Laurey

Company success is largely dependent on the employees that drive the business. Without serious and committed leadership at all levels of the business hierarchy, business will suffer. What company leadership has to decide on is how best to identify top talent so they can hire and promote accordingly. Different positions may require different traits, but there are certain personality traits that always benefit any company.

Identifying Talent in New Employees

The first step on the road to recruiting new talent is deciding what experience and personality traits are inherent in the top employees already working in that position. As simple as this sounds, keeping this profile information up-to-date is important, since job requirements can change as a company adjust for competition and other factors. Stagnant job descriptions that were created ten years earlier for the first person hired in that position are likely out-of-date and no longer represent the position as well as an updated description would.

Asking and answering important questions can guide management to the answers they need. What makes these top performers successful? What kind of experience and background does your top talent share? What personality characteristics are common to the majority of your best employees? By analyzing the answers to these important questions, company requirements can be established so that Human Resource professionals and other hiring managers can focus on hiring the best and the brightest.

Some common traits that come up in discussions with corporate Human Resource Department professionals and corporate leaders include the following:

  • Competence
  • Curiosity
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Commitment
  • Willfulness
  • Analytical
  • Creative

While all of the above characteristics can benefit most companies in most situations, there are a few that may be more important in certain positions than in others. For example, willfulness is a personality trait that can be good or bad depending on the specific job and situation. A willful employee has a definite attitude about how to do things and they often take initiative to do what they think is best with great conviction.

Unfortunately, a willful personality can also cause problems by bucking the system in place. Being stubborn and inflexible can cause problems with managers and other employees. The goal is to find willful talent who also have excellent interpersonal skills and can communicate well with others to keep friction down. This type of leader can be invaluable and is usually very passionate about achieving corporate goals and improving efficiency.

Grooming Leaders from the Employee Pool

One of the most logical places to look for top talent is within the company. With the home team advantage, it is easy to see how identifying and grooming new talent is much easier than working with complete strangers outside of the organization. Below are some tips for finding leaders from within your company.

According to the article published in Business, below are some tips for quickly identifying the “cream of the crop”among people that already work for you:

  1. Look for trainers and teachers.

When an employee is naturally helpful and willing to help other members of the team, it means they are team players and are willing to go above and beyond the mandates of the job. That is always an excellent prerequisite for management talent.

  1. Identify the “Action Takers.”

Taking initiative shows confidence and the willingness to “jump in with both feet” and do what is necessary. This is an absolute necessity for top talent and shows that a person is capable of improvement.

  1. Find the good listeners.

A good listener is a person who is truly taking in the information before making a decision. Companies desperately need analytical thinkers who can make decisions when it counts after carefully weighing the data, however, listening to the points you’re sharing and actually following instructions is paramount.

Identifying Talent with Inexperienced Workers or Home Workers

One of the challenges that most companies must navigate is how to hire inexperienced workers or people with no corporate experience. Certain industries rely heavily on this labor pool to staff the company. Evaluating high school and college students as they enter the job market takes some special training. A LinkedIn Talent Blog source suggests compiling a list of required attitudes as a practical way to evaluate talent.

Attitudes such as a “helper” mentality or a “relationship builder” rank high on lists where helping the customer is a key part of the job. Strategic questions designed to ferret this information out of prospective “new hires” can be invaluable hiring tools. For example, asking a candidate to describe their favorite volunteer experience can tell you a lot about them.


While automation is definitely changing the workplace landscape, it is still crucial to find top talent to excel. Establishing strategies for achieving this goal is crucial for success. Every management team must make this a top priority.

Author Bio:

Michelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.


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