I read one of your posts where you talk about candidates needing to understand their superpower. What is it and is it really all that important?
I understand that “superpower” can sound somewhat gimmicky but ultimately I’m trying to get individuals to matter of factly think through their skills, competencies and attributes that differentiate them from their peer group. Too often individuals think about the skills they possess and not about the core value that they may bring to a new organization. I challenge individuals to think through (as humbly as possible) where they are more successful and drive more value relative to their peers.
Here is a quick story to illustrate the importance of understanding your superpower.
We recently worked on a senior level strategy search for an industry client. Our pool of talent was primarily individuals working for the top tier strategy consulting firms. As you know, individuals within strategy consultancies have exceptional educational and work backgrounds. And most possess dynamic personalities and strong relationship building skills.
The client relayed an interview story of a strategy candidate they received through an employee referral. When they asked the individual about what differentiates him from other consultants, his reply was that “he was the smart guy in the room”.
Now there are many things wrong with the response but as it relates to this topic, the candidate clearly did not work through those competencies that make him unique relative to his peer group (or in this case, those he was competing against for the role). If the core value-add was that he was smart, the client had a very deep pipeline from which to choose. Of course the client needed more than just a smart mind and they quickly moved on to other candidates.
If an individual’s superpower aligns with the client need, the potential exists for a true win-win scenario. I encourage individuals to hold out for those opportunities where they can exploit their strengths.