Hiring for Potential Not Experience: A New Way to Recruit

hiring for potential not experienceHave you ever hired someone that looks great on paper but once they have the job it becomes clear they are unfit?  In today’s professional environment where jobs and people have become more complicated, hiring managers may need to alter the way they assess candidates.  Potential and the ability to grow is a more important requirement for many roles as opposed to amount of experience.  At the core of the debate of hiring for potential not experience is this: a candidate can have all the experience in the world, but if they aren’t willing to change old habits, adapt to a new environment and develop more skills, they won’t succeed at the job and neither will your company.

How do I determine if I should be hiring for potential and not experience?

Not all jobs can be filled by someone with little experience.  Doctors and lawyers, for instance, needs years of education and training.  Find out how long it would take a capable person to learn a specific job at your company.  If it’s only a few weeks or months, then you should focus on hiring for potential not experience.

Where do people go wrong to miss out on the right potential hires?

Below are some of the factors hiring managers use to evaluate candidates that keep them from hiring for potential not experience:

  • Focusing only on certain colleges (or focusing too much on education in general)
  • Setting their expectations too high for specific competencies
  • Failing to factor company culture into their hiring decisions
  • Failing to hire for emotional intelligence

What emotional intelligence traits are essential for potential hires?

Technical skills such as e-mail marketing, accounts payable and working a cash register can be easily taught to new hires, but emotional intelligence traits such as critical thinking, adaptability, curiosity, listening skills and honesty cannot.  It’s often more important to find a candidate that is passionate about their own professional growth and helping your company grow than finding a candidate with specific technical skills.  A candidate motivated in the right areas has what it takes to be a future leader at your company.

How do you identify a motivated candidate with potential for growth?

Resumes don’t tell the entire story about a potential hire.  When hiring for potential and not experience, resumes often exaggerate the amount of experience a candidate has, and are tailored towards specific skills.  Resumes don’t do much for evaluating the personality or amount of potential a candidate has.  So, it’s very easy for hiring managers to assess a candidate inaccurately only to realize that they don’t have the determination and willingness to grow and adapt that are critical to the position.

Look at their history and see how well they have adapted to different roles and if they have shown a steady desire to grow in each role.  Instead of assessing where the candidate is right now, it’s important to think about where they will be as a future employee of your company and how they will fit into your company culture.  It’s important to conduct pre-employment screenings and assess the level of emotional intelligence a candidate has in interviews.

Author: Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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Hiring for Potential Not Experience: A New Way to Recruit
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Hiring for Potential Not Experience: A New Way to Recruit
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A candidate can have all the experience in the world, but if they aren’t willing to change old habits, adapt to a new environment and develop more skills, they won’t succeed at the job and neither will your company
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Employment Alert
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