When to Hire Raw Talent vs. Job Experience

You are interviewing two applicants for a job position, and both have different things going for them. While the first candidate comes with loads of experience, the second one is full of talent. Whom should you pick? A right choice might give your company the competitive advantage it needs, so you must choose carefully.

In this post, we’ve listed some guidelines about when to go for experience and when for raw talent, as well as the common pitfalls to stay away from.

When Should You Pick Experience

You’re interviewing for a manager’s job. While this looks obvious, you might be tempted to hire a promising professional having a solid track record for a manager’s role.

However, being an exception individual contributor and a top-notch leader are two different things. In case this professional hasn’t led a team before, he may struggle to create a team in a new working environment and aptly lead it.

You’re interviewing for a specialist job. Are you interviewing for a job position that’s new to your company? If yes, you should give priority to experience.

Similarly if your company is struggling with certain jobs at present and looking for new candidates, you should go with experience. Professionals with prior experience bring job skills, as well as process knowledge.

When Should You Pick Talent

You’re interviewing for any other kind of job than the two listed above. Many a time you are looking to add a new team member to a well-defined and existing function.

Here’s an example: You are looking for another content writer to become part of your existing content development team. The team has all necessary things already in place, like standard operating procedure.

In instances like this, you would be better served by hiring the person that’s most talented and productive, without giving much thought to experience. Professionals having raw talent bring many things to the table. They might develop new services or products or come up with new ways to solve problems while an experienced employee might be more inclined to go with the things as they are. Employees having raw talent might also be more loyal, hardworking, and malleable.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Decide beforehand who will be more suited for the job position—raw talent or experience? It is important for your hiring team to understand the requirements of the job for which they are interviewing candidates. Otherwise, they might waste theirs and interviewees’ time, or worse, hire a wrong person.

Don’t think that experience is a measure of talent.

Experience doesn’t necessarily translate into talent. In fact many experienced professionals can be at best ranked as mediocre. Give preference to traits that highlight ability to take initiatives and strong motivation for the job, in addition to a strong track record of delivering stellar performance. Such employees are likely to add greater value to your organization over a period of time.

Don’t focus on only past titles and employers. Often hiring manager become excessively impressed with professionals who appear to posses the best alma maters, have worked with most well-known companies, and have held most impressive titles instead of focusing on the achievements of these candidates. Don’t think that a candidate will prove to be an exceptional employee just because he has been employed at a well-known company.

Don’t be frugal with training. Sure enough, an experienced professional would know how to do the job for which you’ve hired him. However, his way of doing things might be different than the hiring manager’s way.

So the newly-hired employee might start doing things the way he knows the best, while the manager expects him to do his job in a certain way—about which the hiring managing didn’t tell him beforehand, thinking, after all, he’s an experienced professional. This in turn will frustrate both the parties, besides leading to loss of productivity.

Therefore, don’t be frugal with training when you hire a new employee, even if he comes with years of experience under his belt.

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