One of the greatest battles that people fresh out of school or looking to make a career shift face is how to get relevant experience if no one will hire them without relevant experience.
In job listings, there’s typically an unspoken understanding that a position calling for “0-2 years of experience” doesn’t really mean zero. Most of the time, there’s still an expectation that even entry-level roles require some degree of related work experience or expertise.
Why is this the case? Why are employers so resistant to hiring someone with no experience?
When a clearly inexperienced resume reaches an HR or hiring manager’s inbox, the first concerns that often come to mind are:
- This applicant does not have a proven track record.
- This applicant would require a lot of training.
- This applicant might leave for something better after we invest in them.
And while those concerns have their place, what gets missed in this type of analysis are all the advantages that come from hiring someone with no experience. In reality, entry-level roles are usually focused on tactical execution. They involve owning small- or medium-sized projects while deferring to managers for key decision-making and oversight. So when you take a step back and really consider the skills necessary to succeed in these roles, technical expertise is less essential than the ability to learn, a receptiveness to feedback, clear motivation, and potential to grow.
All this is to say that someone without relevant work experience can still hold very relevant skills.
So, what are the key benefits of hiring people without experience?
Inexperienced candidates don’t bring any past employer baggage with them. They start on a clean slate and are more flexible and moldable to your organization’s needs. These hires are usually open to contributing in multiple areas of the company in order to discover their greatest strengths and source of value. Additionally, their lack of experience to point to makes them more receptive to feedback and less defensive when told to consider your way of doing things.
Those without job mastery or a clear track record are more eager to prove themselves and more motivated to deliver. When you invest and take a chance on them, they’re eager to show you that you made the right decision.
When someone does not have experience in the industry, it often gives your team a fresh way of looking at things. They might be able to ask the critical questions that those already immersed in the company or industry would fail to notice. They also could offer creative solutions to problems that those bogged down by years of experience may not be prone to consider.
Candidates without previous experience usually have lower salary expectations. Given that cost is such an important element of organizational efficiency, there’s a great likelihood that choosing a great candidate without experience could provide a higher return on your investment.
Hiring employees without as much experience or expertise also creates the possibility of bringing more diversity and talent into the industry and giving opportunities to those who might not otherwise have them. For example, many lower-income students cannot afford shiny summer internships that don’t provide compensation, but their skill sets and perspectives could still bring great value to the organization that takes a chance on them.
So, how can you effectively hire inexperienced workers?
- Set up a structured training plan with the learning and development teams to ensure you are prepared to teach and guide these non-experienced hires.
- Invest in hiring strong managers who have the patience, leadership skills, and know-how to train others.
- Balance your zero-experience hires with those that bring relevant experience so that you get the benefits of each and they can complement one another.
- Establish clear expectations with the hiring manager about the impact of a long onboarding and slower ramping-up time so they can evaluate if it makes sense for their team at this point in time.
- Train your talent acquisition teams and hiring managers on how to screen candidates based on potential. The approach to CV screening, assignments, and interviewing should reflect a potential-oriented scorecard.
There is no doubt that hiring low- or no-experience candidates has its challenges. They often require more training and hand-holding, and there is always the risk of investing in their development only for them to bring their skill set elsewhere when an appealing new offer presents itself. That being said, if your recruitment and retention strategies are done right, these downsides pale in comparison to the potential upsides. Investing in these employees encourages them to reciprocate that investment with loyalty and hard work. And if you offer them a supportive environment with room to grow, they won’t feel compelled to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
When you can create strong hiring, onboarding, and training processes for zero-experience employees, you might be surprised to find that they soon become top-performing employees. Most of us can still remember the first person in our careers who took a chance on us – so will they.
Our team of dedicated professionals is available to assist you in creating a manageable process for meeting your hiring needs anytime. Feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.