Wood Words

Excited New Hire

Hire People Who Can’t Do the Job (Yet!)

How many of your jobs include the phrase “experience needed”?

Unless you’re hiring for true entry-level roles, some kind of work experience is likely required for your jobs:

  • industry experience
  • job skill/technical experience
  • experience in a similar position
  • even experience using certain “soft skills”

But are all of these types of experience mandatory – or is it ever a smart idea to hire under-experienced candidates?

In a tight talent market, employers of all types face the same challenge: Despite recruiters’ best efforts, positions remain vacant because there’s (seemingly) nobody qualified to fill them. As a company with lots of work to do, should you let these jobs go unfilled, or relax the experience requirements and hire someone with high potential – but who can’t do the job yet?

Here are 5 upsides to bringing on a newbie:

With the right attitude and support, an under-qualified candidate can become a real rock star.

Research from a Leadership IQ study shows that only about 11% of new employees fail due to a lack of functional or technical skills. The vast majority (nearly 90%) succeed despite being under-qualified if they have:

  • the motivation to learn
  • the willingness to accept training
  • the resilience to manage the stress of a steep learning curve

If you’re considering hiring an under-experienced individual, look for someone who loves to learn, is highly adaptable and/or has successfully switched from one role to a new one that’s quite different.

You can tailor training to their needs.

If a candidate lacks required skills, you can use training to bridge that gap – and much more. By tailoring training, you can help an employee gain skills, while also helping them fit into your company culture. Once training is complete, you’ll have a qualified employee whose abilities have been custom-fit to the needs of the position, and who fits well within your organization.

You can use their youth (and all that comes with it) to your advantage.

Millennials and members of younger generations have flooded the job market. While many of them are inexperienced, they’re also creative, tech savvy, full of fresh perspective, and tuned into the needs of your current and future customer base. By hiring these less-experienced candidates, you position your organization to respond to the demands of your evolving customer base.

They may have fewer bad habits to break.

One thing you’ll never hear from an inexperienced employee is “We’ve always done it this way.” Without experience to rely on, an under-qualified candidate is ready to fully embrace how your organization performs work. At the same time, they may bring a fresh perspective to challenges that prompt positive change.

Under-qualified candidates may prove more loyal.

When you take a calculated risk to hire an inexperienced individual, you show them that you believe in their potential. Then, by investing the time, attention and training to help them realize that potential, you demonstrate how valuable they are to your organization. Employees who feel valued by an employer that invests in their growth and success are typically more engaged and loyal.


Our Gallatin staffing agency has the experience and local market connections to quickly and cost-effectively refer high-performing, high-potential candidates. What can Wood do for you? We’re just a call or click away!