Decades ago, HR Management revolved around the principle of “Talent Management” and aligns all its efforts on finding and developing talented candidates for employment.
But as the field of Human Resource revolved, industry experts have since determined that the pursuit of talent is like these two analogies. One is hoping to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the second is like selecting a beauty pageant winner before the question and answer portion.
The first analogy highlights the mythological approach of hiring based on talent. And the second one pertains to the subjectivity of basing your recruitment on what you “think” they can do rather than what they can actually do.
The myth of hiring based on talent is now been kicked to the curb, with good reason. Talent is quite hard to measure. It’s often defined as a person’s knack or gift for a particular ability. He is a talented musician. She is a talented writer. Because they are identified as talented, these individuals have abilities that are above average.
However, can you really determine right off the bat that a candidate is a talented accountant or a talented financial advisor? These are potentials of what could be, but is talent really the best determinant for hiring?
Recruitment firms and headhunters are migrating towards the search for skillful or skilled applicants.
This I believe where we should make the careful distinction, because I might lose you with the misconception that talent and skill are the same. Though commonly interchangeable, dissecting these two words will bring you to a careful and important difference in their meaning and purpose.
Talent is somewhat vague and general in the sense that it is an adjective added or applied to any skill or ability, sometimes regardless of result or output. He is a talented writer because he compose inspiring messages with beautiful words and paint vivid imagery of characters and settings. But is he a skilled writer? Could he come up with two blogs in a week? Does he conduct careful research? Can he accept constructive criticism that will further improve his work?
A skill is something that is specific and acquired. It is learned through hard work and determination. It requires effort. Talent is innate and sounds more impressive. But it is often unreliable and immeasurable. It is quite hard to develop, unlike skill which is clearly defined with measurable parameters.
A skilled data encoder can meet or exceed the required number of entries to input. What could a talented data encoder do? It’s quite hard to determine if a data encoder is talented in his work, but it’s easy to spot if he is skilled based on his output.
So why then should companies go for skilled employees? And does this mean that there is a vacuum of talent in today’s corporate arena.
The answer to both question lies in the understanding that skill thwarts talent in the hiring process. Recruiters are going for skillful candidates in the initial stage of employment, which is hiring. Because talent is something that comes out after the investment of time and cultivation, it might not come through at the recruitment stage.
However, skill is written all over a person’s resume. His work experience speaks for himself. His skill level and aptitude is marked by his previous stints in his college years or past employment. Right away you would know that the applicant is a skilled salesman because of his credentials. But turning him into a talented salesman that can excel beyond measure, that will take time and go beyond the recruitment phase.
Differentiating between talent and skill does not determine the greatness of the applicant outright. But it is a good indicator of where a company could start with when hiring a potential employee. A skilled workforce is easier to develop to bring out their excellence than to start with a potentially talented team that really has no defined skill set.