When hiring workers, does experience always trump ambition? For many employers, the answer is no. A candidate may have years of experience in a particular role but, in some cases, many of the key skills needed can be learned in a few short months. And candidates who are ready and willing to learn can be just as capable of performing the job than more seasoned candidates—in some cases, more so, especially if they’re highly adaptable.

When does it pays to hire for potential?

It all depends on the industry. For example, some roles require the wisdom that comes with years of experience. These include law, finance and medicine. But for other industries, such as light industrial, many critical skills can be easily taught to the right candidate—one who’s smart and ready to learn more. Therefore, it is very important to be able to identify a candidate’s potential during an interview.

What to look for

Key qualities are passion, ambition, intelligence, and a good cultural fit. Soft skills are also important. Some on-the-job skills can be taught, but the ability to communicate well, work constructively with co-workers or treat customers with a friendly demeanor may be more inherent in a candidate’s natural skill set. To get the most out of an interview, plan what qualities and soft skills you’re looking for and ask strategic interview questions. Beyond this, pay attention to body language, personality, tone of voice and other subtle clues that a candidate may or may not be the best fit.

Work with your recruiter

Staffing agencies are invaluable partners when you need to staff up. They can recommend highly qualified candidates or those well positioned to excel in a role. Since they stake their reputation on the quality of candidate matches, you can rest assured your recruiter is an expert at placing the best candidates for the job. In addition, many staffing agencies offer training programs for candidates and can help workers develop new skills required for a specific positions.

Looking for a recruiter?

Check out McGrath Systems! We work with candidates for positions in administration, human resources, light industrial, IT, engineering and more. To learn more, visit our job search page or contact us today!


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