what if the most experienced candidate isn’t the best option?

Is experience foremost in your mind when it’s time to hire someone new to your organization? Or do you prize other aspects of a candidate, like values, enthusiasm and other soft skills?

Is experience foremost in your mind when it’s time to hire someone new to your organization? Or do you prize other aspects of a candidate, like values, enthusiasm and other soft skills?

Whether you and your company prefer to hire based on experience or raw talent, there are a number of things to take into consideration to make sure you bring the right people on board.

What to consider when hiring

Aspects like mindset, what a person values and how much passion they have for their industry are all important, whether or not the candidate has years of experience. It’s these things that can help to ensure the potential employee is happy in their role, which then keeps them productive.

When 32 percent of recruiters said that retention is their priority, according to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016, it becomes hugely important to make sure staff members are satisfied at work. And this happens when a candidate’s mindset and company’s culture align well.

Working out when you need to prioritize talent over experience is up to the individual hiring manager and company. What to take into account also depends largely on the specific situation of the company and the department looking to make the new hire.

Some companies will consider it too big a risk to take a chance on someone with little experience, while others will see candidates like that as holding more potential for future productivity.

Attitude

A person’s attitude can tell you a lot about the employee they might turn out to be. If they’re enthusiastic and happy to share ideas at the interview stage, it’s a good sign that they’ll keep this going throughout their employment with your business.

Another way to gain an insight into a person’s attitude involves doing some research - you can find out a lot from a person’s online presence. You’ll often be able to establish their values and their priorities from a search on social media. You can then work out if they’re in line with what your company’s culture.

According to HR tech software firm Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report 2016, 60 percent of companies think that culture fit is the most important thing when making a new hire. So it’s essential to figure out if a candidate is the right fit.

Whatever it is your company values highly - from sustainability to customer commitment - knowing an applicant feels the same way is a good sign that they will fit in at your organization. This could even end up more important than experience.

Soft skills

There are a number of roles where soft skills could be more relevant than actual experience. In fact, the World Economic Forum stated in its Future of Jobs report that “social skills - such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others - will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control”.

For example, if you’re recruiting for someone in a communication-heavy role, regardless of industry or career level, the candidate will have to be comfortable speaking with everyone both within the organization and outside it. Meanwhile, initiative and problem-solving skills are necessary for employees in analytical positions.

Knowing a candidate has the soft skills required for success will help differentiate them from other applicants who don’t possess them. Although it may not be tangible, a trait like confidence is hard to ignore and can be a sign that a candidate will offer some real benefits to your firm.

Company situation

Where does your company want to be in the next year? How about the next five or ten years? Knowing your business’ long-term plan can help in hiring decisions since you’ll be able to work out how quickly you need to hit certain targets.

If you’re focused on immediate growth, a more experienced candidate might be more effective as there is more chance they could immediately start contributing. But if you’re concentrating more on future expansion and value added over a longer period, a less experienced employee could be perfect since you can train them exactly how you want to.

Is your business going through major changes? Perhaps an applicant newer to the talent pool might be a better fit as they could be more willing to adapt and change with the company. Although it isn’t the case for all employees, someone with more experience may potentially be used to doing things a certain way, leaving them a little less flexible.

Whatever you decide to do will depend entirely on the person being considered for the role. It just makes sense to think about the fact that experience isn’t necessarily the most important thing a candidate can possess.