Why you should never overlook a candidate’s natural talent

Here, Lee Biggins goes through some of the key natural talents which should never be overlooked during the recruitment process.

So you’ve put a job advert out. You’ve attracted a whole host of candidates and automatically go to shortlist the ones that have worked for your major competitors, done a degree in your chosen field or have every skill mentioned in the job description. Seems like the right approach to take, right? Not quite. While it’s great that you’re being approached by job hunters that tick every single box, this isn’t always a strategy that pays off.

Increasingly, many employers are overlooking experience and instead opting to take on new recruits that have the potential to learn and be great in the role. Below, I’ll talk you through some of the key natural talents which should never be overlooked during the recruitment process.


While we all communicate in our daily lives, and I’m sure would like to believe that we are great communicators, some people are naturally better than others in this area. And this isn’t someone that can talk the back legs off a donkey. It’s someone who knows how to phrase their points coherently and is able to get across their side of an argument in an effective manner.

You can quickly gauge whether someone is good at communicating during the hiring process, especially in terms of how they talk about themselves, their background and what they’re hoping to achieve in their career. It might be that you give them a task during the interview which puts their skills to the test and this will give you an idea of how they could put them into practice within your company.


We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘natural-born leader’ and these individuals are the kind that you need in your company. After-all, someone may be extremely talented and skilled but they might not actually be that great at managing people and driving your business forward. Therefore, if you’re hiring for leadership positions you need to know that you’re taking on someone that has the natural ability to lead.

During the hiring process look out for people that don’t take the full credit for key achievements and perhaps talk about their successes as a team effort. Other important traits include appearing to be responsible, empathetic and respectful. These may seem like small things, but they’re all great traits of people that are natural leaders.


Often, hiring someone with no experience in your industry is a successful move because it can bring in new, innovative ways of thinking. What’s more, someone who may not be fully skilled in the area that you’re recruiting in will be more mouldable and willing to learn than someone who perhaps has a little more experience and could potentially be set in their own ways of doing things.

A common CV citation that we see is ‘ability to learn new skills’ so it’s important that you ask your candidates for examples of when they’ve entered a situation which required them to learn how to complete tasks, quickly. Practical examples are the best way of figuring out what someone could bring to your company.

So do companies want hard workers, or natural talent? There’s clearly a divide in opinions and it’s definitely about what’s going to work in your business. Hard work is absolutely necessary in any organisation but natural talent certainly should be celebrated. When evaluating CVs, look out for examples where employees express their natural talent, but don’t immediately dismiss those that don’t.

Lee Biggins is founder and managing director of CV-Library

Further reading on candidates

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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