Yes, you should consider hiring inexperienced staff members
Should you immediately write off that applicant who has no experience?
Like many business owners, your first instinct is to scan a resume for past work experience, and when the section comes up short, it’s easy enough to toss the application and move on.
While this does save you time, you’re likely missing out on the diamonds in the rough–people with the potential to become outstanding employees, who just happen to lack experience.
This doesn’t mean you should hire someone without any experience altogether, but rather consider a candidate who is willing to learn, adjust and take criticism. It's important to acknowledge that the perfect potential employee doesn't exist, but there are those who can and will step up given the right opportunities and incentives.
When you find the right people to add to your team, they can contribute significantly to growing your business. If you’ve built a work culture centred on growth and development, then your company can benefit even from hiring inexperienced staff members and retaining them for years to come because of the environment you’ve established.
Why inexperienced employees can be good for your company
Hiring inexperienced applicants comes with many advantages. They make up for their lack of experience with a drive and eagerness to learn.
Unlike experienced employees that may have set “unteachable” habits in doing things, you can train inexperienced employees to perform their tasks in a way that works for your organisation. Applicants with little to no prior experience don’t have bad habits they’ve picked up over the years of doing a certain job from an organisation with completely different processes.
Inexperienced employees that are new to your industry will be receptive to training that helps them function in the way best suited to your organisation’s ways of working. When you invest in the training of your inexperienced employees, you can get staff members that naturally mould into the workings of your company.
Because they’re new to the industry, inexperienced employees will likely have lower compensation expectations. This can help you allocate the money into other areas of the business until your inexperienced employees have developed into skilled, trustworthy staff members worth the higher pay.
How attitude can trump experience
The right attitude can and will affect how an employee will perform, so it’s crucial to balance recruiting for their mindset and existing skill set.
It’s easier to train skills than to improve attitude. When people have the right attitude, they’re motivated and open to learning new things. Developing a completely different skill set takes effort and time, but these can be mastered when someone has the right perspective about it.
On a bigger scale, attitude can also impact overall performance. If people have the wrong attitude, they might be disengaged from their work and clash with the organisation’s culture or values. An applicant might have all the relevant skills and experience for the job, but if they just don’t fit in or sow negativity within the team then this can only increase disengagement.
When inexperienced employees have the right attitude, they can overcome obstacles because they have the determination and resilience to succeed.
No matter the industry, your organisation is bound to fall onto some hard times and encounter challenges that seem insurmountable at first, so having the willingness to face them and tenacity to push through will help overcome them, eventually leading us to achieve success.
Addressing the potential drawbacks of hiring inexperienced staff members
Despite the prospective gains from hiring less experienced recruits, you can get off to a rocky start because of this aspect itself. There will be a skills gap when you’re hiring inexperienced candidates, so it’s important to consider two things:
- If they have the required hard skills (i.e. job-specific skills) for the position, or will they need extensive training?
- If they need extensive training, do they have the soft skills (i.e. leadership, teamwork, attitude) to succeed in the position?
This will help you identify if the person is trainable and if they have underlying skills that are useful even if they may not necessarily be related to your industry. Even if someone has experience in your field this does not mean they have the adaptability, motivation and work ethic to do the job well.
Training inexperienced employees can be costly, depending on their expertise level, but this can be remedied by properly calculating compensation for inexperienced hires.
You’re going to have to pull a productive employee from their work to train the new employee–they’re unlikely to equal the efficiency and output of one single productive employee, never mind the work of two equally productive employees. Other employees will also adjust the way they use their time to make up the difference to your customers.
So, you also need to keep a close eye on short-term and long-term productivity; performance must go up over time as inexperienced employees receive more training. The sooner you get your inexperienced staff members on track, the sooner your output normalises. In fact, your aim should be to increase output due to the additional effort of those enthusiastic recruits.
Despite this, there’s also a risk of turnover if inexperienced employees realise that the job or the organisation might not be a good fit for them. You can prevent this by clearly communicating the scope of the job position as well as the organisational culture during the interview process–so this way they can decide before you invest time and effort into training.
This can give you a sense of what candidates feel about the job and the company, and see if they’re a good fit. Communication is a crucial skill that good leaders should have, and a business leader needs to practise this to manage their staff effectively.
Staff members both inexperienced and seasoned need leaders who keep them updated, let them know their place in the organisation and answer difficult questions professionally.
The best way to manage inexperienced employees
Taking on a green recruit takes a particular way of managing them, but if you can manage your inexperienced employees effectively you can develop them into skilled and loyal staff members in the long run.
There are a few key strategies that can be used to manage inexperienced staff members:
- Foster strong relationships with your employees: You must build rapport with staff members by being helpful and available to them without being overbearing so they feel comfortable to ask for guidance.
- Provide mentorship opportunities between senior and junior staff members: A new employee is likely to be going through many of the same challenges that you and other past employees experienced, so they can benefit from dedicated opportunities to learn from senior staff members.
- Set limits and boundaries: As well-intentioned as you are, you can’t go on helping an inexperienced employee all the time, so you need to support them only until they can work by themselves.
- Pull back and let new staff members spread their wings: Employees will only find out if they’re doing well if they can work by themselves, so communicate with them openly and get a sense of when they’re ready to act independently.
There’s considerable risk when hiring inexperienced applicants, but skipping out on them altogether may not be as safe a move as you think it is. With the right guidance and planning, inexperienced employees can be valuable and loyal members of your organisation.
As a business leader, creating the conditions for all your employees to thrive is a major part of growing your organisation. Providing the right work environment for your staff can increase their productivity and performance. Book a tour with us and we’ll find the right solution for you.