It’s an age-old issue for job-seekers: they need a job to get experience, they need experience to get a job.
It’s easy to get hung up on how much work experience a candidate has had. But sometimes it can pay to take a leap of faith towards someone without the experience.
There are some key points to consider when faced with job seekers who don’t have the experience you need, possibly up against other candidates who have “been there and done that” before.
One important consideration is the personality of the candidate and how that might work with the role. Someone with years of work experience might look ideal, but you also need to know your new addition will fit in well with the team and have a genuine interest in the role.
Unfortunately it’s not always easy to assess based on what’s down on paper. If you’re still browsing through resumes you can look at what skills and interests they have included, if any, as a way to get to know them a little better.
Maybe you can see from their resume that they’ve had experience in other roles. Consider whether skills learnt in different industries could in fact be useful in your role, and maybe even benefit the whole team with a new insight.
Once you’ve got them in for interview, it’s a lot easier. Someone who comes in with a passion and knowledge for the role shows how hard they will work and how adaptable they will be. They will be willing to learn different ways of doing things, fitting into your desired routines, rather than bringing in old ways that are difficult to change.
During the interview you can ask them why they think they will fit the role and if they have any ideas or suggestions. You will know if they have given this much thought beforehand.
Also take into consideration if this role is something that can be trained on the job. If they haven’t made a proper coffee before, why not start them on table service while you teach them the ways you prefer a coffee to be made.
You can also look at their natural ability to carry out certain tasks. A trial shift is a great way to get a real insight into how they pick up skills, and how well they will fit into the team.
Giving that inexperienced person a chance might create a truly loyal employee. They will work twice as hard and possibly twice as long just because you gave them an opportunity.
It’s different with managerial positions. You won’t want someone straight out of school to manage your team, but how about someone without experience of managing? Or without experience in your sector?
Again, look at transferable skills. See what roles they have had before and whether the experience there is something that will have taught them aspects of leadership. Take a look at the rate of progression so far. If they started off as a trainee and quickly climbed their way up to a senior position, you can see their determination to succeed.
Someone less experienced with being a manager and more used to being a team member will encourage staff in new ways and make staff feel more comfortable.
Of course work experience can be really valuable. But sometimes it isn’t everything.