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When to Hire a Newbie versus an Experienced Pro

6 July 2022

When our business has a job opening, we always have a choice – hire someone with experience or someone without it.

Now, that would seem to be a no-brainer, right? Of course, we want experienced people handling our work and dealing with our customers!

Or is it?

Sometimes it might be better to go with a newbie.

What an Experienced Hire Brings to the Table:

The pluses:

  • Experience (naturally) – in our field of work and and the industry knowledge that goes with it.
  • We won’t need to train them as much when they understand our work and how to produce it.
  • They bring the authority expertise imparts; they may have ideas which will improve our business processes.
  • Not as much supervision will be required as with an inexperienced new hire.
  • We can get references from prior employers – there is a track record.
  • We assume they have learned efficiency and good work habits.

The minuses:

  • A new team member with vast prior experience may feel they know best and want to do things their own way when our company’s process demands a different approach.
  • They may become impatient with pointers from team members with less experience overall but more with our business.
  • We may find that they’ve not kept up with the latest developments in our industry – their expertise may be a little outdated.
  • Sometimes they’ve lost their initial enthusiasm and zeal for the work itself.
  • They may want significantly higher salaries and often greater benefits.

What a Newbie Brings to the Table:

The pluses:

  • Enthusiasm – those seeking first-time, full-time jobs generally are hungry.
  • Willingness to learn and the recent habit of learning.
  • More up-to-date information, potentially, in your industry and processes.
  • They are usually easier to manage and willing to take instructions and directions.
  • The starting salary may be lower than an experienced person will demand.
  • Often these younger workers are more flexible.

The minuses:

  • Lack of experience in the field – book learning can only go so far, and they have no proven track record in business.
  • They will require more investment in time and money for training.
  • Inexperienced workers will need to have their work checked, and generally require more supervision.
  • A newbie may be unwilling to reveal their lack of knowledge, and fail to ask necessary questions, leading to mistakes that will have to be found and corrected.

So, which should you hire?

As so often in life, the answer is, “it depends.” If we need someone ready to hit the ground running in a supervisory or managerial capacity, then it really is a no-brainer – we should hire a veteran worker with the experience to meet our needs swiftly.

Likewise, if we are filling an entry-level position, we should go with a talented, eager newcomer to the business world.

In between those extremes is where our own best judgment and our experience come into play. Who is the best fit among those we’ve interviewed? Not only for the job itself but for our business and our team?

Does a veteran demonstrate their willingness to learn new tasks and processes? Does a recent college graduate have the basic knowledge and skills for the job?

Which one you hire is up to you.

I can say this – I’ve had good (and a few bad) experiences myself and heard of many more about hiring both experienced professionals and newbies. But most of my bad experiences seem to have come from my failing to describe the job and its functions well, and from not taking the time to find someone who best fits the role.

Being patient, therefore, is key. Take the time to make sure the applicant has grasped the position and its duties – and invite their questions. Don’t be in a rush to hire. In the end, it will be more effective to wait until you find the right person, rather than trying to hire and train two or three wrong-fits.

How do you choose whom to hire when an opening needs filling?

Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to know your thoughts and strategies!

Until next Wednesday –



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