Why you should hire potential over experience

Working in a busy recruitment office, we see a lot of people pass through each day – all will be looking for different jobs, and for different reasons; but do you hire somebody with less experience, but a lot of potential, over somebody with a lot of experience, but not as much about them?

I personally think that sometimes, somebody who looks amazing on paper may not be the right match when meeting them – and this can be because of a variety of different things! As times change, companies care a lot less about what experience and skills someone may have (these can be taught) and more about the individual as a whole; do they have good social skills? Are they quick learners? Are they competent?

Now, of course – we are not saying possessing the relevant experience isn’t important, because of course it is!! But sometimes, when two potential candidates are compared, and one has a lot less skills than the other, but a lot more passion, intelligence, and ambition – they will always be the one to go for, as they can be hard to find!!

Culture fit …. Does anybody else hear this all the time? It can be one of the most important things to an employer, and can sometimes be the decider as to if somebody gets the job or not! When an employer talks about a suitable cultural fit, they basically mean they want someone who will reflect, and be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of the company. If you assess culture fit throughout the whole recruiting process, you will hire professionals who will flourish in their new roles, drive long-term growth and success, while ultimately saving you time and money.

Now, why does this all matter? A candidate with all the relevant experience and early career accomplishments is obviously, in an ideal world, what you want – but not at the expense of company culture. If there are a couple of potential candidates, and one has maybe a little bit less experience but you can really see where they would fit within your company, then you’re onto a winner.

Giving a candidate with less experience a chance to prove themselves, means they will usually work extremely hard – as they want to show you they are up to the job, and the shorter career history means it won’t be as full of inherited bad habits (which is always a good thing!). I guess, the question is, not whether your employees and leaders have the right skills; it’s whether they have the potential to learn new ones.

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