Do you tend to look for the most experienced candidate when you’re hiring? Most do. I’m going to advocate for a different approach, namely, bringing aboard employees who can grow into their roles.
Admittedly, I’m still young. I’ll be 27 before the month is over, so the terms “experienced,” “wise,” and “veteran” aren’t ones many people would use to describe me. I don’t have decades of blogging experience under my belt, though I’d argue that nearly six years is enough to qualify me as more than a neophyte.
But here’s the advantage of hiring people like me, or those a little younger or older: You’re getting someone who can grow into the job.
The chief advantages of young workers? Not to sound callous, but they frequently work for less, bring a drive to succeed and come in less entrenched in their ideas. That’s extremely valuable, and there are a lot of young people out there looking for jobs that you can look at.
For an example, check out this New York Times blog post:
Of course, strong quantitative and communication skills are essential, and in the more senior positions, experience and credentials are essential. But in building a global team, I’ve found that people who have fire in their belly, who come to learn, and who are open to adaptation are the ones who flourish.
We try not to spend too much money on recruiting. We post most of our job openings on our own Web site and free or inexpensive Internet sites like Monster and Craigslist. And we also don’t pay recuriters — the one time we did, it was the equivalent of flushing $75,000 down the toilet.
In other words, it’s possible to overthink hiring. It’s possible to bring aboard qualified people who don’t impress you in interviews and who come in with too much ambition and not enough of a work ethic, or neither. If you can bring someone on board who can grow into a role in your company, learn the ropes and then climb them, I don’t see that as a bad thing. I think it’s a real asset, in fact.
There’s A Flip Side
That’s not to say this is a magic bullet. Not every young, eager-seeming employee you hire is going to become the next CFO of your company. It’s definitely not an endorsement for hiring the totally unqualified, not that I think any of you would. A qualified candidate is a qualified candidate, after all.
I do believe it’s possible to overstate the importance of experience, especially in your lower-level roles at your business. I think it’s much better to step back and take a look at the whole picture, in terms of interview, qualifications, experience, exuberance and whatever else your particular firm needs. You may find a truly great employee who lacks the pedigree but is willing to take his or her role to new heights.
Worth exploring, at least. Tell us a little bit about your hiring processes.
Photo credit to PsychoPXL at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1147458