Identifying the next up-and-coming executive within your organization is difficult. Placing bets on the wrong people can prove to be costly in more ways than one. While the proper development of your internal talent bench is crucial to business success, your organization may be forced to implement a search for external candidates to find the individual that can boost your business.  Although not every hire will be a future successor for a key executive role, our TalentRise team can help you seed talent with A+ potential into your organization when you need it most.

Here are our top five hallmarks of leadership potential:


We all hear stories of folks who haphazardly stumble upon a pot of gold. But those who put in the work, day-in and day-out, have a much greater chance of achieving their goals. Can your candidate articulate not just their own personal and professional objectives, but the collective ones that your organization hopes to accomplish? Do they seek to make a mark on something or someone without simply being in it for themselves? How have they demonstrated a commitment to improving  their weaker areas to boost overall performance? Whether the individual is driven by external factors or guided by a strong internal will, determining the source of one’s motivation can be crucial in predicting their workplace potential. 


Early career professionals often rise to the top because of their deep domain expertise. These individuals quickly become the “go-to” person within their organizations. However, strong leaders tend to be inherently curious – not just about their work, but that of others. Does your candidate seek out new experiences or projects outside of their domain? Do they ask a lot of questions purely for the purpose of learning? Most importantly, do they listen and engage in a meaningful, back-and-forth manner of discussion? The individuals who possess an appetite for knowledge tend to be some of the most driven and successful company leaders. 

Insights Orientation 

Curiosity alone is not enough. Strong leaders can internalize a wide variety of inputs and take action that moves their work forward. Successful executives tend to be not only proficient with numbers and possess a strong financial acumen, but can interpret data of all shapes and sizes, including people data, operational data, and market data. Is your candidate able to grasp all sorts of different information and make use of it in meaningful ways? Do they ask questions like “why?” and “so what?” to discover the root of organizational problems? 


A key function for senior executives is to craft an organization’s vision and strategy. Through the formulation of tactical plans, leaders can help to motivate their employees and benefit their mission. However, if these leaders can’t persuade their teams to execute those plans and support that vision, they’ll ultimately end up dead in the water. Connecting with people up, down, and across the organization is paramount to successful leadership. When has your candidate had to convince others to get on board? What obstacles were faced? What are the hurdles that lie ahead? Engagement is not just a one-time event, but an ongoing pursuit. What is your candidate doing to maintain momentum and push those around them to reach new heights?


Failure is inevitable. Even the best Major League Baseball players will only get on base 30% of the time. But what makes these players so great is their resilience – the ability to learn from every “at-bat” and bounce back quickly to focus on the next pitch. How has your candidate rebounded from adversity? What did they learn about themselves from the experience? How often do they seek candid feedback about their performance? What specifically are they working on to become more effective in the workplace? 

Finding a candidate with Hall-of-Fame potential isn’t as easy as it may seem. Rather than swinging for the fences on every single hire, companies should instead focus on a more disciplined approach to the recruiting process. Through the identification of its most critical executive roles, organizations can then discover and hire high-potential candidates that can grow and develop over time. Investing in the hiring process at emerging leadership levels should be as important as the time and care taken to hire senior-level executives. 

At TalentRise, we specialize in recruiting and assessing high potential leaders, the types of individuals who can become difference makers within your organization. Our high-touch approach and commitment to quality allow us to connect with candidates who can elevate your business performance. 

Looking to learn more about our executive search and talent pipeline services? Connect with Allicia on LinkedIn or email her at to learn how TalentRise can discover your next leader.