How to Recognize Talent

How to Recognize Talent

By Soulaima Gourani

Every year millions of U.S dollars are wasted on “talent spotting”.  Large companies are spending energy, time and money on “talents” who are not talents at all, and overlook those who truly have a talent, merely because they do not know how to spot talent.


What Is Talent, And How Do You Spot a Talented Person?

You can spot a talent in less than 10 seconds, but only if you know what to look for. If you don’t know what to look for, you can end up spending an incredible amount of time and resources on searching, finding and finally acquiring a person who does not fit your needs.

In the world of sports, showbiz and naturally, business, the concept of talent spotting is used quite often and has become one of the most talked-about concepts in recruiting. Talent comes in many forms, but the question is whether you can immediately spot it in others when you encounter it. When we look for talent, many of us look for something recognizable, and that is where we go wrong because not all talent is recognizable, many times talent is hidden dying to be unleashed. The challenge that most people face when looking for talent is, you like what you can recognize, and you can only recognize something you’ve seen before.

Below are a few tips to help you see whether you’ve found yourself a ‘winner’ (within the first 10 minutes)


  • First, be open to nontraditional types! Please be aware that the ‘talent’ you are looking for many not always be what you expect. For example, it is easy to think that those who come from the best universities and have the best grades are your answer. But often, that is far from the truth. Sometimes it’s the ones who have seemingly failed, or dropped out or changed their careers a few times that are the real change-makers. Real talent, are often “out-of-the-box” thinkers, and not the typical “do as I’m told” types. They are creative, non-traditional or non-linear-thinkers that hate to be restricted or confined. So, if you see that they’ve changed their careers/jobs a few times, it can simply be that they are looking for a place where there are smart people who are unafraid of new ideas.


  • Does the person “light up the room” when they walk in? Do they convey an aura of personality that draws you in and captures your attention? I like to point this out because charisma & confidence is indeed a talent. It implies that they have a healthy self-esteem and tend to approach things with a “can do” attitude.  Although, mostly a talent needed in business/sales. If a person can light up a room the instant they enter it, just imagine how easy it is for them to communicate with others and close a business deal?


  • Look for the “shiny eyes effect.” Eyes will tell you about that person’s energy, drive, health, strength, passion, and personality. Passion and energy produce what has been called the “shining eyes” effect, which just means that one has a radiant sparkle in their eyes. Which can indicate that they have a passion, drive, and determination.


  • Look for the fearless leader! Do they agree with everything you say? Or do they challenge your thoughts (in a respectable way)? Someone who is ‘fearless’ is never afraid to fail and explore new avenues in order reach a little higher; this is where innovation comes from.


However to find the real talent within a person you need more than 10 seconds; to find exceptional demands unique methods and not the same old HR methods, but if you can spot them quickly you can the ability to cut through the clutter of less than dynamic prospects. 


About the author – Soulaima Gourani: Soulaima Gourani is a lecturer, corporate advisor, and author. She is the author of three books; “Ignite your career,” “Take control of your career,” and “Courage to success.” She was elected as a TED mentor in 2016 and was later that same year announced as one of the “Inspiring 50 Nordics” women in the tech sector.

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