Do You Want a Turn-Key Employee?

When it comes to talent acquisition, experience is great. Experienced candidates become productive more quickly, they often have insight from past employers, and in general they require a lot less “break-in” time. Like a move-in-ready house, “turn-key” employees have the experience to begin work in their new role almost immediately. But, should experience be the focus of your talent acquisition strategy? Hiring an inexperienced, but bright, candidate can also have its advantages. An inexperienced candidate is less likely to have picked up bad habits, overconfidence, and preconceived notions of the way things are done.

Last fall, Forbes posted an article to their website titled, “Why It’s Better to Hire the Least Qualified Person for the Job.” The article discusses a study about the attitudes of new hires: experienced and inexperienced. The study found that a less qualified employee might feel more grateful for the job, and be more motivated to do well. A more experienced employee, on the other hand, could lack such a motivation. In fact, under-qualified employees in the study put in an average of 50% more effort on the job.

Of course, effort can’t always make up for lack of experience. I could try really hard to perform brain surgery, but that’s not going to make up for lack of a medical degree. Less qualified candidates will still require more training than most experienced candidates; adjusting for departmental and company basics.

However, taking the time to train a new employee properly isn’t all bad. It is a natural part of the talent acquisition process. Training also allows you the freedom to teach your new hire good habits, without worrying about re-training.

In keeping with the house idea, think of an experienced employee as a move-in-ready house. It’s great that you don’t have to do much; maybe just a new coat of paint. However, if everything isn’t exactly the way you want it, making changes is more difficult. Inexperienced employees, on the other hand, can be thought of like model homes. You have to pick out all of the features, and maybe even pay for some extra upgrades, but you can put it together exactly how you want it.

As if these perks weren’t enough, inexperienced employees also tend to have great loyalty to the employer who “gave them their big break.” Think of this attitude as the natural product of intensive training and the positive feelings described in the Forbes article. Less experienced employees are likely to be grateful, and loyal, to your company for providing them with a great new experience.

Does your talent acquisition strategy focus on employee experience? What should be the goal of your talent acquisition team, when it comes to balancing experience and inexperience?

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by ~Brenda-Starr~