How to Manage 5 Talent Risks to Get the Best Candidates into Roles Where They Will Thrive
The Myth of the Perfect Candidate
In the quest for talent, many hiring managers chase the elusive «perfect candidate.» The belief is that somewhere out there is an individual with a flawless resume, impeccable credentials, and the ideal skill set tailored precisely to your organization’s needs. In the quest for the perfect candidate, it’s not uncommon to find companies conducting more than 9 or more interviews during a hiring process. This is a time-consuming and lengthy process.
Nearly 40% of all new leaders fail to meet expectations in their role. This can be caused by several factors like the failure to establish a useful network, cultural misfit, or lack of performance. Perhaps it is so high because of unforgiving and unrealistic views on the perfect candidate! Decisions made to select a candidate for a role, whether an internal or external candidate, is an important and relatively high-risk decision process. When done well, candidates have a good experience, the employer’s brand reputation grows, and higher quality candidates can be attracted in the future. The candidate who enters the role successfully stays with the employer. When done poorly, the employer damages their employer brand, reduces their ability to attract high-quality candidates in the future, and makes bad bets on people coming into specific positions in their business.
Business leaders must understand and mitigate risks across their business — financial risks, environmental risks, and supply chain risks are a few of them. In the same way, HR leaders need to understand and mitigate risks in the hiring process to ensure the best outcomes with manageable risks. By shifting away from a mindset of the perfect candidates to the best option with the best risk profile, HR can attract great talent that can thrive in their role and beyond, deploy fair and effective decision-making processes, andsave time and energy for the business.
Manage 5 Risks
This article describes 5 key risks in the hiring process that determine the outcomes of the hiring process. It also gives practical solutions for managing or mitigating each of the 5 risks:   Capability risk Delivery risk Fit Risk Rockstar risk Supply risk Managing these 5 risks effectively saves time and effort and improves the odds of success in building business capabilities and capacity for performance and growth.
Capability Risk
A capability is the ability or skill to execute a task. Capability risk is the chance that the candidate lacks or cannot activate the capabilities needed to perform in their role and that capability gaps will be a barrier to movement into bigger roles. During the hiring process, it’s critical to get good insights into current technical/functional capabilities and leadership capabilities that enable the individual to perform in their role, build capabilities for the future, and positively motivate & influence themself and others.
So, how do you minimize this risk?  First, understand the capabilities that drive performance and growth; second prioritize the most important based on needs of the job (e.g., does the person need to drive change and innovation to turn performance around, or do they need to energize and develop a team that lacks capabilities?)  Understanding key job challenges impacts which capabilities are most important. Third, assess individuals vs. others to see how they do vs. global benchmarks and other candidates.
Produgie’s.Select feature deploys the Growth Leader Assessments to job candidates and provides insights into their current leadership capabilities. One of these assessments measures «Styles» which are relatively stable traits or characteristics like personality or motivation. The other assessment measures «Strategies» which are practices and skills that are highly changeable and learnable. The version of the assessment changes based on the role level (e.g. individual contributor, people manager, BU/functional head). The assessment provides quick insights into candidate Styles and Strategies that can be explored in depth during interviews.
Because roles change and the pace of this change is accelerating, you can better manage capability risks by gaining a deeper understanding of candidate capabilities and understanding what is difficult to learn or change. In Produgie.Select a comparison of Style and Strategy scores helps to determine how risky a capability gap is.
Screenshot 1: Deep dive into a candidate’s capabilities vs. role requirements
Delivery Risk
Delivery risk is the chance that a candidate cannot get up to speed and deliver on the requirements of a role quickly enough or that the job changes so quickly that it outpaces them. To understand delivery risk you can start by profiling the technical/functional capabilities of the role. Consider how the role will change in the next 12 months. Next, prioritize the leadership capabilities of the role. Prioritizing leadership capabilities is easy to do with Produgie.Select. When you have a shared view on the relative importance of capabilities for a role and better data-based insights into those capabilities for each candidate, it is much easier for interviews to focus on areas of higher risk.
For example, if leading innovation is a top priority for a role and a candidate is high on Style but low on Strategy, then you can probe to understand the low practices were shaped by the culture of their past employers. You can also ask about a problem they solved in the past that required them to be very innovative. On the other hand, if they score low on both Style and Strategy for this capability, the risk may be too great.
Screenshot 2: Comparison of candidate Style vs. Strategy scores to determine learnability or changeability of ar,eas with capability gaps
Fit Risk
Fit risk is the chance that the candidate will not positively impact the team they will join or the desired culture of the business. Too often, judgments of fit for a team or culture are based on irrelevant factors during interviews or based on prior experience or employer. For example, we know from research that for men, being taller and better looking garners higher ratings of leadership. For women, being better looking helps only to a point, and then beyond that is detrimental. Fit is important, but it should be based on what the candidates brings that adds value to a team or culture and not whether or not they are like others in the business. Better indicators of fit are needed that are relevant to the performance of teams and the culture of the business.
Candidates who complete the Growth Leader Assessment area scored on 6 roles they are likely to play in a team. These roles enable them to execute work with other, connect with members of the team and their stakeholders and drive change or innovation. Teams need their team members to play all 6 roles at different times. 

Screenshot 4: Six Team Roles measured in Produgie.Select
By understanding what roles a candidate is likely to play on a team, it is possible to see how they will or won’t bring something unique to the team. If everyone on the team tends to be strong in execution and less so in innovation, then it will help the team for new members to be able to play more of a role in leading chance.
For a leadership team this is particularly important because the way they show up as leaders also signals what is important to the culture. “Fit” is not about all candidates being the same. It is about each candidate bringing unique skills and perspectives that enable their destination team to perform and adapt more effectively.
The.Select report makes it easier to compare how different candidates will fit with their team. Produgie’s Growth Leader.Team report makes it easier for teams to understand the role preferences of its members and the team dynamics. This can help avoid situations where a team member who is very different struggles to become part of the team.
Rockstar Risk
Rockstar risk is the chance that a candidate tries to present themself in an overly positive way or, because of the way the candidate presents themself (e.g. charismatic, overly confident) both they and those around them perceive them to be rockstars. It’s natural for all candidates to put their best self forward in an interview. This is positive. But it is risky when they do this so much that it is difficult to assess them or when people in the hiring process are blinded by their charisma and fail to dive deeper into job relevant capabilities.
In interviews, the best way to manage rockstar risk is to deploy structured, behavioural interviews and to teach interviewers how to probe effectively and collect evidence. Just search for «behavioural interview guides» on Google and you’ll find an abundance of free guides from Universities and reputable HR associations.  Using reliable and valid assessments that measure factors that predict work and business outcomes is the best way to manage rockstar risk when using psychometric assessments. If you are using any time of psychometric assessment in your hiring process, ask to review the technical report. All legitimate test developers will provide this free of charge if it is not already published on their website. Produgie.Select includes 3 indicators to understand rockstar risks. The first is an indicator of the candidates’ tendency to inflate their ratings. When this indicator is high, it is a signal to probe more deeply during the interviews. The second indicator is on «impression management».
This is a normal human practice and to a certain extent, we all try to manage others’ impressions of us.
This is why most people dress in a certain way, buy certain brands, or groom themself. A little of this is not an issue. However if a candidate scores high on impression management, this can be a signal that the candidate is overly concerned with how others see them.
Screenshot 6: Candidate overview includes risk factor of “Inflate” and “Impress”
This can become a barrier to effective learning and adaptation. The third indicator is humility. If a candidate has very low humility, this can indicate that they hold an overly positive view of themselves. Low humility can impede adaptation of the candidate into a team or business and prevent them from seeking out opposing views and incorporating these into their ways of thinking.
Supply Risk
Supply risk is the chance that the pool of candidates for the role being filled will stagnate or shrink. This can be caused by many factors like competition for talent or the number of people in certain disciplines or areas in which skill sets are scarce. This is a risk that many businesses face, and the tendance is to compete harder for the scare talent. Supply risk is one of the 5 risks that cannot be solved by any 1 employer but by all employers. Clearly there are actions outside of the scope of the hiring process to grow talent pools like partnering with Universities and providing internships and mentors to early career professionals. But during the hiring process, employers can help mitigate supply risk by proactively offering to give unsuccessful candidates feedback on how they can develop or experience they can seek to become stronger candidates in the future. This action helps to build the talent pool, build the employer brand and has a positive impact on candidates who may not have been ready or the strongest candidate at the time, but can be ready or become the strongest next time.
Produgie.Select makes it easy to provide almost successful candidates with supportive advice for future roles. When employers and search firms proactively support candidate development, they can help build an abundance of talent in talent pools in high demand or limited due to the rapid pace of technological advancement or change.
Conclusion
It’s time to embrace the imperfect job candidate. By creating a clear and shared understanding of the few essential capabilities vs. the nice-to-have capabilities, the door is opened to consider a broader slate of imperfect candidates. The hiring process is a 2-way street. By showing professionalism, fairness, and concern for the candidate throughout the process, you attract them to your organization and increase the chance that the most perfectly imperfect candidate also chooses you.
When you effectively manage hiring risks, you improve the impact of new hires on the business, and over time, you build capabilities that enable your business to perform and grow.  Beyond this, you help build stronger talent pools that can benefit everyone.
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About Produgie
Produgie is organization and leadership software with embedded IP, AI and predictive analytics. Produgie makes it easy and affordable for internal and external human capital professionals to customize, deploy, and scale systemic leader, team, and organization effectiveness solutions that drive and enable sustained to predict and drive sustained business performance and growth.
About the Author
Alison Eyring is the Founder & CEO of Produgie. She serves as Chair of the Board, Organisation Solutions which she founded in 2000 and exited in 2021 after incubating and spinning out Produgie. Alison has served as an Adjunct Professor at the National University of Singapore for more than 15 years and is a Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She is the author of the award-winning book, «Pacing for Growth: Why Intelligent Restraint Drives Long-Term Success.​