What’s More Important in an Employee: Experience or Potential?

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What’s more important in an employee: experience or potential? Your answer will no doubt be a direct reflection of your past experiences with employees. If you’ve been in a management position for long, you probably understand the frustration of hiring a job candidate who, despite his or her loads of experience, disappointed you. On the other hand, you also may have encountered candidates who fell short of your expectations as a result of their lack of experience. This is confusing and leaves you in the unstable position of relying on your intuition, which can be less than accurate, when hiring a new employee.

Should You Hire for Experience or Potential?

It’s tough to say whether or you should hire based on experience or potential. However, some recruiters believe that potential is a more valuable characteristic in a job candidate. In his article Why You Should Hire for Potential (Not Experience), Ben Slater wrote, “If you’re looking to improve quality of hire, focusing on potential and a candidate’s ability to grow within your organisation could give you better results than just looking for required experience. Think beyond a candidate’s current skills during the assessment process. It’s where people are going, not where they are that’s most important.” Slater gave several reasons why potential should take precedence over experience. One was that you can’t teach someone to be motivated, but you can teach him or her both hard and soft skills.

You Can’t Teach Motivation

Technical skills and soft skills like coding and programming, big data analysis, customer service, and leadership can all be fairly easily taught through various methods of training. However, there is one thing that can’t be taught, and it is motivation. With this in mind, it may be best to hire naturally motivated individuals and then train them in the practical skills they’ll need in the workplace.

The Hidden Benefits of Hiring for Potential

According to Springboard Enterprises, it’s better to hire for potential than for experience. In fact, Springboard’s contributors believe there are hidden benefits to hiring for potential. Here are a few of the benefits mentioned in the article 5 Reasons to Hire for Potential Over Experience:

— “Giving a candidate with less experience a chance to prove him or herself will drive employee loyalty.”

— A brief career history may indicate that a candidate won’t have as many negative habits as a more seasoned worker.

— “There is a greater supply of potential versus experience, which reduces costs and allows you to bring in more of the talent you need to support accelerated growth.”

Can you think of any hidden benefits of hiring for potential?

Some employers are more likely to hire job candidates with extensive work histories. Others are convinced that hiring for potential is a better choice. What is your personal opinion about this? Share your thoughts with us in the section below.






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