When hiring or promoting employees to fill vacancies, it may seem like a foregone conclusion that the hiring manager will choose the candidate with the most relevant experience for the job. But that’s not always the case. Finding the right person for a job is a complex process. Generally speaking, human resources professionals and company owners advise others to recruit and hire for quality. That is, you should be looking for the candidate who is the best overall fit, with the attitudes and behaviors you need to get that job done within your specific workplace culture. Experienced or inexperienced, young or old, all offer valuable contributions that employers need. Still, training new, inexperienced employees is an expensive and time-consuming process. Experience will often trump inexperience for many reasons, so it is important for young professionals and career changers to do all they can to gain experience.
Experienced Employees Know What to Do
Experienced professionals know what to do. They’ve encountered the typical scenarios that your work would expose them to, and they’ve learned how to deal with them. Moreover, they have the accessory skills that come with work: they know how to use the computers and equipment necessary to get the job done. They have also worked long enough to understand workplace culture and fit in.
Previous Crises Teach Valuable Lessons
Handling crises is an important skill for certain jobs. Experience, in this case, is the best teacher. When faced with new pressing problems, more-experienced workers will have faced these challenges and have learned lessons. For example, experience could have taught them to identify the not-so-obvious solution to the crisis your organization may be facing. In addition, experienced workers will have failed a few times and will know how to pick themselves up again and remain cool under pressure. When facing a crisis, a lesser-experienced professional might buckle under the pressure and allow fear to control his decision-making.
Experienced Employees are More Stable
Employees who are gaining skills and experience early in their career path are not very loyal. Moreover, turnover is expensive for companies. Experienced employees tend to want to remain in their positions or with the company for longer periods of time. This may suit their family situations and play into their desire to reach a leadership position within the company. In this case, experienced employees save companies money by stabilizing turnover rates.
Advantages of the Inexperienced
In some positions and in some workplace cultures, inexperience is valued. Some employers don't want to hire someone who has hard-wired thinking developed from previous experience. In addition, less-experienced employees tend to work harder to impress, think outside of the box and approach problems from unique perspectives. They also have lower salaries, so they cost a lot less than experienced employees.
Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.