When does recruiting raw talent make more sense than taking on candidates with extensive job experience? There are clear benefits for both – but also equally clear risks. So, when it comes to deciding between recruiting raw talent or job experience, what are the points to consider? Find out below how recruiting the best fit is achievable.
Of course, talent exists at every level in a company and is not exclusive to the new kids on the block. Even after 20 years, an employee can boast fresh thinking and be the driving force behind some of the most successful innovative ideas.
Probably the best-known examples of entrepreneurs who shone later in their careers are Harland David Sanders, who opened his first fried chicken restaurant at 40, and the first KFC franchise in 1952 aged 62, and Henry Ford, who founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903 at 40. The modern era, however, has also produced Reid Hoffman, who found LinkedIn at 35, and Vera Wang, who started one of the world’s most popular clothing brands at 40.
The hunger for success can be every bit as strong as that of younger counterparts. In fact, according to figures published in the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, older generations in the US are still very active entrepreneurs. In 2012, the 45-54 age group accounted for 26% of entrepreneurs, up from 24% in 1996, while the 55-64 age group represented 23%, an increase from 14% over the same period.
Clearly then, recruiting raw talent is not always necessary. But when is it best to invest in youth over a proven background – and vice versa? What are the points to note when considering recruiting raw talent or job experience?
Raw Talent or Job Experience
Raw talent relates to new recruits who have a natural ability to absorb new or develop existing skills, requiring minimal training and markedly less time to advance. Recruitment is an investment, but because these talented individuals are more likely to realize their potential, the return on that investment often makes the wait worth it.
Recruiting job experience relates to the degree of earned knowledge that a professional can bring to a company. The level of understanding they have of their role means they are much more likely to hit the ground running. It’s a low-risk recruitment option that promises the smoothest transition and a close to immediate return on the investment.
Admittedly, there are pros and cons associated with both options. But since specific vacancies require specific skills, considering raw talent or job experience is important if the recruitment strategy is to be a success. So, here are a few factors worth considering.
Recruiting Job Experience:
- Leadership Roles – By leader, we mean a person team members can believe in, even when they are unsure over a decision. The fact the decision maker has a proven track record helps ease concerns. Recruiting job experienced candidates is essential if your team is to better understand trends, how they might change and how best to react to those changes. Arguably, it’s unlikely that recruiting raw talent will result in the same level of trust.
- Managing Resources – There is a knack to managing team resources effectively. Hiring a young person with glowing references and impressive project experience is fine, but much as leadership is matured through failure, it takes time to learn the knack of managing people, promoting cooperation and getting the most out of them. Experience is the better option.
- Specialist Roles – No one becomes a specialist over night. It takes years of on-the-job experience, learning the profession and gaining the necessary knowledge to be able to provide what’s expected. Of course, there can be times when innovation is so new that a ‘whizz-kid’ is the only one who knows. But for the most part, recruiting job experienced candidates is the wisest move.
Recruiting Raw Talent:
- Junior Additions – This might be when extra staff is needed to simply keep the team numbers up, or when a new role is added to an existing team. The examples are various, from a social media marketer to a software developer, but generally they are roles that are clearly defined and straightforward to carry out, so recruiting raw talent over job experience makes more sense.
- High Productivity – Junior roles generally demand higher levels of productivity, and with long hours and intense pressure commonly part of the package, raw talent may be best placed to meet that demand. More importantly, youth tends to look at old issues from a fresh perspective, which means they are more likely to find new ways to solve long-existing problems.
- Long-Term Strategy – Recruiting raw talent makes most sense when you are looking to build a team with a long-term strategy in mind. So, personnel can develop into leaders or management material from their experience gained in a team. Their contribution can be highly valuable, but with targets modest in the short-term, there is an opportunity to prepare for bigger targets in the future.
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