Identify Candidates

The process of identifying candidates for a current and future critical position begins by looking across the company and by identifying the potential candidate pool. Some plans may include only high potential or top talent employees. Other plans are developed so that anyone in the company can participate and are included in the candidate pool if they meet the defined criteria. Many times, managers seek out people who are just like them. For some managers, this seems to be an automatic process when selecting individuals for promotion and leadership-type positions. This action should be avoided and the manager should stick to identifying candidates based only on the defined criteria and position description. A diverse candidate pool provides the basis for an infusion of new ideas and ideals into the organization that can improve performance across the board. When selecting succession candidates, care must be taken to ensure that the process is viewed as being fair by employees. The selection process should be objective, critical, fair, and seamless. A plan that is not viewed by workers as affording opportunities to all who are qualified can negatively impact employee morale, trust in the leadership team, and the overall culture of the organization. Behaviors to avoid when selecting candidates include the following:

  • • Avoid force fitting a square peg into a round hole. For example, avoid selecting an engineer to take on a role as an engineering manager just because they are viewed as great engineers if they do not have the ability to lead.
  • • Do not select candidates solely based on the opinion that they have been loyal to the company. A loyal employee does not necessarily make a good leader or manager.

During the selection process, it is possible to identify more than one candidate for any given position. Selecting more than one candidate for a position is desirable; however, this is not always feasible especially in organizations where Lean process improvements have been initiated. Often in Lean organizations, the amount of resources is kept at a minimum, which makes it challenging to identify and prepare more than one candidate for a prospective position (Table 5.3).

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