In the talent acquisition world, the primary question hiring managers always seem to struggle with is:
How do I balance the importance of “Talent vs. Experience” with a new hire, and how much weight should be given to each in the hiring decision?
Here in the channel, VAR’s and MSP’s often struggle with this question as the quick pace, customer centric nature of their service offerings often requires both. However, when IT Service Providers are actively looking to add their next impactful employee, many potential candidates won’t have the precise desired skills or experience, requiring hiring managers to weigh the choice of which is the more important variable:
- Someone who’s “been there done that” who can “hit the ground running”, or
- Someone who hasn’t performed the precise solution provisioning, but possess the qualities of top performers, and is essentially “moldable clay” you can train into the shape of your desire.
Both have their high-level advantages and disadvantages which we’ve broken down in the following simple matrix:
“Hit the ground running”
|1 – Immediately productive in the role
2 – Likely to bring in good practices learned at their previous employer
|1 – Come with existing habits that may not integrate well into a new culture
2 – Will most likely be an expensive asset to acquire
|1 – Can be trained precisely to your specifications
2 – Learning new skills enhances employer loyalty and increases job tenure
|1 – Will take some time to reach max potential
2 – Always the risk the level of desired talent is not as high as hoped
Unfortunately, there is no universal best answer to the question. In this September 2016 Entrepreneur article, the suggestions offered are still relevant today:
- Decide ahead of time which factor (talent or experience) is most important
- Don’t equate job experience with talent
- Don’t skimp on job training
- Cultivate your employees
The last 2 points are noteworthy. As the article so eloquently puts it: … invest in every new employee regardless of experience. Offering professional development opportunities and room for advancement will benefit everyone and help you retain your employee.
Candidate recruitment and employee development/retention are two pieces of the same “human capital” puzzle, but they should be viewed as separate initiatives with equal importance.
Throughout our years we’ve seen plenty of examples where firms assume because they’ve hired the perfect “cookie cutter” candidate, they will turn into the firm’s most productive employee, with the end result being anything but. In these cases, we have almost universally found the cause to be a lack of commitment to employee growth…by either the employee or company. After all, rarely does a professional desire to perform the exact job duties with their new employer as they were doing in the last job for just a few dollars more, and not achieve continued professional growth.
In the end, perhaps the most important quality any new hire can possess is not necessarily talent or experience (though surely the candidate will be some of both), but rather the candidate’s ability to grow within your organization.
It’s been said before the most progressive organizations are, in their core, training organizations. VAR Staffing wishes you the best of success with your investment with your employees.