The Upsides of Hiring Someone with No Experience

By Beth Tucker, President and CEO of KNF&T Staffing Resources

I can only imagine what you must be thinking: “Why in the world would you hire someone with no experience? It seems like such a gamble.” Well, it is… and it isn’t.  I work in the recruiting world, so I’ve had time and practice in terms of finding the best talent, both with our clients and internally for KNF&T. And time and time again I have found that some of our best hires are the ones who have no direct experience in a particular role.

Here’s the thinking: experience is great, but it doesn’t always translate into a good performance. Let’s say, for example, you’re looking for someone with a go-getter mentality. A candidate who worked in a large company might have a different sense of urgency than someone from a small boutique firm. In this scenario, a candidate with no experience but with a more entrepreneurial spirit may be a better fit than someone who spent several years in a large organization.

In the hiring process, I can’t stress enough how important it is to look at all of the different attributes of the candidate rather than just their experience. Look for strong answers to questions – did they do their research on your company? Are they confident?  What is their sense of ambition and willingness to learn? How is their work ethic? How do they work with others?

Plus, life experience can’t be underrated – it plays into a certain work savvy that allows for better understanding of the ups and downs of business, and communication with all different levels. This makes all the difference.

In the end, I believe that hiring managers too often look for absolutely relevant experience, but you really have to look beyond that to discover someone’s true potential. Hiring someone with that kind of potential isn’t a gamble, it’s a sure fire way to win.