The Importance of Succession Candidate Profiles


This article is a part of our series on SIGMA’s six-step succession planning process.

Part of the Assessing Development Needs stage is creating Succession Profiles. The Succession Candidate Profile Template is designed to identify gaps between the requirements for a role and the candidate being developed for that position. This will allow your company to best assess development needs and provide individualized opportunities for growth where appropriate.


How to Create Succession Profiles

Begin with a single focal position. Note, you may have multiple Succession Profiles for a single position, as your Succession Bench may indicate that your company has multiple candidates who could one day fit this role. This should be considered an asset and a sign of an effective succession plan. Always indicate the position, including the current incumbent and urgency to replace, along the top of the candidate profile worksheet.

Succession profile template by SIGMA Assessment Systems

Candidate Succession Profile Template


Benefits of Candidate Profiles

Candidate profiles are counterparts to success profiles; both are important. The success profile tells you what you need (i.e., in an ideal candidate), while the candidate profile tells you what you have (i.e., in the current candidate). This allows you to draft individual development plans that will help you bridge the gap and prepare your successors for success. Other benefits of using a candidate profile include:

  • An up-to-date summary of candidate readiness for the succession position
  • A record of candidate’s assessment gaps (i.e., development goals)
  • A summary of candidate’s education, experience, and current position
  • A checklist of succession position criteria the candidate meets, and has yet to meet
  • A place to record change during development efforts
  • A current snapshot of candidate development


1. Record Demographics

Begin by recording the demographic information of the succession candidate and the position they currently occupy. List their relevant education and experience.


2. List the Position Criteria

List the criteria needed for the focal position. Use the job description and the information contained in the role’s Success Profile to include:

* Necessary education

* Required experience

* Valuable skills

* Role duties and responsibilities


3. Identify Current Requirement Gaps

Use assessments to measure the leadership skills and development opportunities of the succession candidates. Compare these results to the Success Profile for the role they are being considered for, and list the gaps between their current skills and the requirements to be successful in the job. As with the Success Profile, we recommend listing both the skills required for the focal role, as well as those skills required to be a successful member of the senior leadership team.


4. Anticipate Future Requirement Gaps

As with the current requirements, review the potential characteristics needed for the focal role, and assesses any gaps in candidate skills. List these for the focal role and for other duties, such as involvement in the senior management team.


Using the Succession Profile to Assess Your Development Needs

The Success Profile should form the basis for your candidate’s Individual Development Plan, which will help train your talent to meet the needs of their future role. Be sure to revisit this sheet at least twice a year to review your candidate’s progress and determine future training and development needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Success Profile?

A Succession Profile is a tool that highlights and monitors the gaps between where candidates are now and where they need to be to move into their future roles.

Why do I need a succession candidate profile template?

SIGMA’s Succession Candidate Profile worksheet will help you form the basis for a succession candidate’s development plan to ensure they will be successful in their future role.


Next Step: Develop Talent (1/2)

Now that you’ve finished your candidate profiles, you are ready to begin developing your talent. Check out SIGMA’s Development Plan template to guide you through the first part of this step below.