When you see candidates, do you imagine the possibilities and give them scope to realise their potential?
In recent weeks leading universities have advocated strongly for the removal of the traditional means by which students are selected for tertiary places – the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), describing the existing process as “out-of-date”, “irrelevant” and “meaningless”.
As the Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University, Professor Linda Kristjanson, said this week, universities are very experienced at assessing student potential. Indeed it is the potential for learning and developing in a chosen field of endeavour that is so important to nurture and encourage in a young person (or a mature aged student); rankings only provide a narrow assessment of a student’s capability.
Of course for higher education providers, an assessment of academic ability is necessary, but it should be accompanied by evaluating a broader set of needs. In business, hiring organisations are most interested in an individual’s potential for growth.
Undertaking tertiary study is just as important and as potentially exciting as beginning a new career (or a new position within a chosen career), so why be restricted by a narrow measure of suitability? To encourage people to be successful, institutions should be supporting them through coaching and mentoring, nurturing their passions. As they advance, they need to display a humble willingness and desire for ongoing learning, while honing an industry sector, role or technical specialisation that’s appropriate to the workplace and aligned to the future employment market.
Universities, and employers, have always looked for motivation, sound communication skills and evidence from applicants that they can look beyond themselves to positively contribute to the wider community. Candidates, therefore, need to be able to show initiative, adaptability, creativity and teamwork. These indicators of a person’s potential are certainly assessable from a recruitment perspective, but not by some narrow measure.
While universities continue to debate the assessment of students, recruiters and hiring managers recognise a close fit between the needs of an organisation and the potential of a candidate is vitally important. For employers to achieve a more productive, dynamic workforce and be competitive in the international marketplace, a focus on potential as well as ongoing collaborative learning for all employees is required.
High-performing organisations will always emphasise professional development and executive recruitment should reflect that too. When you see candidates, imagine the possibilities and give them scope to realise their potential.
Is your organisation looking to the future in this way?
- ‘ATARs are irrelevant, vice-chancellors say‘, The Age, 8 February 2016
Andrew Barr is Practice Lead – Education at Slade Group. He has taught and held Principal positions at schools in Victoria, the UK and Tasmania. Andrew was Regional Director of the Round Square Association, National Chair of AHISA and Director of the Principals Australia Institute. He completed a Bachelor of Economics and Master of Education Studies at Monash University and a Diploma of Education at the University of Sydney. Andrew remains very engaged in the NGO sector, including a focus on improving educational outcomes for First Nations children.
Practice Lead – Education
Tel: +61 400 762 660