Ever been put off applying for a job because you didn’t have enough experience? Ever been turned down for a job because they didn’t think you had enough experience? Then you will probably be in that frustrating place where nearly all of us find ourselves at some point in life, asking yourself the question “How am I going to get experience if no one will give it to me?” It’s like the ultimate chicken and egg situation in life.
I think so many companies across the world are being very short-term in their thinking with this approach. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice and reassuring to hire someone with experience but should the want for experience be put above ability, qualifications and someone’s character?
If I were employing staff I would be looking for people with the right attitude that can prove they can work hard and are teachable. In a company you need people who are going to work well with your current staff, people that are quick at picking things up and people that are willing to go that extra mile for the company. Someone’s experience tells you nothing about their ability to do these things.
If you hire someone based on their experience are they the type of person that thinks they know best? No two companies behave in exactly the same way so is this person with experience going to be able to fit in? Do they see the opportunity in your company as a chance to gain more experience in order to move on to something else? Does this experienced person not want to learn any more and just trade off their current experience? These are all questions you need to be asking yourself when hiring.
The word potential seems to come below experience when it comes to hiring people. A nice way of saying no to people who don’t get jobs always seems to be “you have potential.” The thing is however somebody with potential will always have the chance to achieve more than someone with experience, so if you are looking for long term success as a company you need to start giving more time to those people who truly have a lot of potential.
If you have a job interview for a job that you don’t have the required levels of experience for, remember to sell your potential, your work rate, how teachable you are and how good you are at working with people. Extenuate your positives and hide what companies perceive as negatives, get the focus off what you haven’t got and get it on what you could do for the company.