Many companies identify ideal job candidates using a list of hard skills presented as qualifications. These skills typically require industry experience and prior institutional knowledge, and candidates who possess them bring a certain amount of confidence to any hiring process.
On the other hand, inexperienced candidates can be a little concerning for hiring managers. This is typically due to the candidate’s lack of industry knowledge and need for in-depth training and integration into the company’s culture, which can be time-consuming and costly.
“Green” candidates often run into the catch-22 of needing a job in order to gain experience but also needing experience to get a job. Usually when we think of these green candidates, we think of recent college graduates who are new to the workforce. But, they don’t all fit into that category; others can include seniors, mid-career-changers or parents returning to the workforce.
So, why should your company “go green” and pursue an inexperienced prospect? Giving these candidates a chance may very well bring benefits to your organization that you never expected.
What’s in it for you? Hiring an inexperienced candidate gives you the opportunity to mold someone into doing things your way. They are typically open to training and are eager to adapt and follow your organization’s style of doing business. They are known to work harder to prove themselves and are usually quick to learn, and you can generally pay them less in the beginning.
Hire for an attitude, train for a skill. This approach can be applied to any candidate. During a behavioral interview, you should identify and evaluate situations from the candidate’s past work experience that relate to your job opening. You can also begin searching for something far more elusive and much more important: culture qualities that matter to your company.
Look for someone with the perfect blend of energy, team spirit and balance of self-confidence and humility. The proposition is undeniable: you can’t build a great company without great people.
The downside of experience. After working at the same company or in the same industry for an extended period of time, many people develop habits that are difficult to alter. Experienced employees who feel they know it all may develop resistance to authority and change and may not be happy about adapting as the workplace evolves. This can reduce productivity, not only for those employees but also their peers.
That said, there are numerous benefits to hiring experienced candidates, and certain situations or positions call only for experience.
If you market your position appropriately, you should attract a pool of candidates who are looking for new and fresh opportunities with room for growth. To get a wide range of applicants, try altering your job posting to read something along the lines of, “You do not have to match all of the listed requirements to apply, but please list the skills you possess that would add value to this position and our company.”
If the qualifications and skills actually required to succeed in the position determine that experience is not a priority, don’t hesitate to seek a “green” candidate who best fits your culture and whose potential aligns with your long-term staffing requirements.
Lily Bird is a Hospitality Recruiter at Memphis-based Adams Keegan.
This article originally appeared in Memphis Business Journal.