Are You Hiring For Potential Or Achievement?


A recent Wall Street Journal article shares research from Stanford and Harvard that shows that employers will often be more dazzled by the potential of an upstart (who may or may not have the accomplishments to back him up) than the successes of a colleague.

This seems counterintuitive—why wouldn’t people want to hire someone who’s demonstrated his competence? According to the article,  “While experienced candidates present a detailed picture about what their performance limits are, for those with thinner resumes the sky is, potentially, the limit.” In other words, we assume an accomplished person has already achieved his best—but who knows what the untested candidate could achieve?

Although there’s nothing wrong with considering a “rising star” for your next hire, senior ministersshould be especially careful not to overlook current church staff members with proven track records. When managers are “too wowed by potential,” the article says, “you can start to make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the organization.”

Think about the roles you’re currently trying to fill. Are there any people on your team who might deserve a second look?