Workers are increasingly applying for positions that require more experience than they have. Should HR leaders insist on experience or offer additional training?

Employee training is an expected part of HR management, but typically, employers look for new hires who are already equipped to do the jobs they're hired to do. However, as the workplace — and the workforce — changes rapidly, increasing numbers of candidates may seek positions requiring skills they don't yet have, and hiring managers must decide whether to take a chance on these recruits.

That decision may depend on the industry and employment pool. For instance, when applying for new jobs, U.S. STEM workers are more likely to "reach" for jobs that require more experience than they possess, according to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, Evolution of Work 2.0: The Me vs. We Mentality. Although STEM workers say they are more likely to apply for jobs that require more experience than they have, manufacturing workers feel less confident, according to ADP RI.

The Pros of Candidate Inexperience

Of course, there are no perfect candidates, and when you hire someone who has the specific experience you're looking for, they'll always bring with them their own biases, preferences and ways of doing things. But when you consider hiring someone who doesn't have the years of experience you may have hoped for, you can focus on finding a candidate with the right potential, passion and commitment. "Companies that get hiring right tend to hire for talent versus experience," reports Forbes.

When a person applies for a position beyond their experience, it shows a certain level of confidence. If candidates only apply for jobs they fit exactly, they're not giving themselves "any room to grow," reports Forbes. A new position shouldn't be about giving someone the same job they had in a different organization, it should be an opportunity to build on the person's existing skills to learn, grown and expand into new responsibilities.

Taking a chance on a candidate without as much experience could mean you're giving your firm the opportunity to benefit from fresh ideas and fresh perspective. "To exclusively hire people with experience means the same pool of candidates from similar companies with similar ideas — it becomes stale and stagnant," notes David Ford, CEO of Verus Recruiting Consultants.

The Cons of Candidate Inexperience

As valuable as a fresh perspective may be to your organization, it's likely to come with a higher price tag. In most cases, it will take more time, money and effort to train the ambitious candidates who have the passion but lack the experience for the job.

Even if you have employee training capabilities in-house and can quickly get the new employee up to speed, they may not be ready to take on all of the responsibilities of the position. Other employees may have to be willing to assist with the new hire's responsibilities until they're ready to ramp up to full capacity.

How to Make a Decision About Employee Training

According to the Evolution of Work 2.0, American employees don't feel their organizations are strong talent managers. They give the highest marks to their employers on training (38 percent) and orientation (39 percent). "HR professionals should look for ways to strengthen employer/employee relationships by abandoning a one size fits all approach to managing talent," notes the ADP RI report.

Every organization will have to determine whether hiring a less experienced worker who needs employee training is the right course of action for meeting its objectives. This decision is likely to be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the position and the workers available to fulfill it. Rather than viewing candidates as commodities and demanding that every box is checked, view each one as an individual with unique assets to bring to the table. While many senior level positions do require a certain level of experience, in some fields, a go-getter with passion and fresh perspective may be as valuable as a candidate with experience in a similar job.

Want to learn more? Download the ADP report: Keeping Pace with the Evolution of Work: Creating a New Employee Experience

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Tags: Performance Management Recruiting Talent