Why Your Next Great Hire Doesn’t Have to Come With Experience!

Feb 8, 2021

It is a very common practice for companies to heavily weigh in on a candidates overall experience when it comes to considering them for a position. It is a natural process when looking to make a hire, to identify candidates who come from the same space as your company. The hope is, that experience will be transferable in your company and will result in hiring person who can hit the ground running and start positively impacting the company’s top line. Granted, experience is an important factor, however, I would encourage those of you who are hiring people to loosen your filtration process of applicants when it comes to experience. Don’t just simply glance over a resume or LinkedIn profile and discard someone due to lack of experience. Especially when it comes to LinkedIn, not everyone has added every detail to their profile and you could be overlooking a very talented individual due to your recruitment process.

When reviewing applicants during your recruitment initiative, spend more time digging into an individual’s character and overall personality. Sometimes you can identify clues that may warrant you conducting a phone screen or inviting them to an interview when you take a closer look. For example purposes, let’s assume you are the hiring manager or CEO of an innovative tech company, and you are actively recruiting developers. You come across an applicant who recently graduated with a business degree, and was working as a developer on the side for their friend’s tech start-up, also held down a part-time job, and at the same time were a part of a club or community organization that developed tech solutions for not-for-profits. They have just graduated and have zero experience in the business world as a full-stack developer, and their formal education is outside of the tech space. I can almost guarantee that 90% of hiring managers would immediately discard this candidate without further investigation.
This is a mistake. This individual warrants at least a phone screen to uncover more information about their experiences and abilities outside of their formal schooling. Perhaps they are a savant when it comes to working with JavaScript, AWS, MongoDB, Kubernetes, Docker, API integration etc. etc. Maybe that project they took on for their friend was very complex and they accomplished a lot in their time spent on it, learning through practical application and through their own curiosity for self-learning. They clearly have a strong work-ethic, and are a self-starter who has a passion for technology, as this individual has spent all their extra time outside of school, mastering the technology stacks you may have been looking for while recruiting for a full-stack developer.

You need to leave room for interpretation. Yes, this will likely lengthen your recruitment and hiring process, but would it not be worth it to make sure you had the perfect candidate on the bus? I think it would be. If you are a company with limited resources when it comes to time and people you can dedicate to recruiting, like a tech startup, you could outsource your recruitment efforts to a reputable recruiting agency that has had success in your space. Just make sure that the recruiting firm you are in discussions with asks about your corporate culture, department’s culture and the hiring manager’s traits/characteristics. Any recruiting agency that does not dive deep with you to understand more than what your company does and the function of the role, is likely going to add no more value than posting a job on Indeed. They are simply going to funnel resumes that look “right” your way, and you will still be buried in candidates that may not be a fit. Ask a recruitment agency and yourself these questions about the hiring process:

  • Do we know our minimum skill threshold for success?
  • Do we know the character attributes of our top performers? Is there a common thread we need to pay attention to?
  • Are we evaluating the whole person and not just how they fit into the job description?
  • Do we have tools in place to test aptitude?
  • Do we have tools in place to measure characteristics?
  • Do we learn about the person’s personal accomplishments or hardships they have overcome?

If you do have the bandwidth to manage your own recruitment process, it is important to spend time developing ways to further investigate “the whole person.” When in talks with recruitment agencies, if they do not ask about or offer solutions around these questions, you are just as well off continuing the hiring process yourselves. They are likely going to do surface level sourcing that adds little to no value, and create more work for your internal team as poorly evaluated candidates flow in, in addition to your own internal efforts. So take the time the evaluate and revamp your recruitment strategy, yes, you will add layers to your process, but if in adding those layers you increase your quality of hires, reduce turn-over, increase the top and bottom line of your organization and discover more talent by taking more time, then it is most definitely going to be worth the extra effort. The diamonds in the rough are out there.