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Chika Uwazie’s TalentBase: 4 Reasons Why Employers Should Hire For Potential Rather Than Experience

Every company starts off being the dream of one person or a small group of like minded individuals. These people  want to make a dent on the world by solving some problems, and making money while at it. Soon, they recognize how many people they need, to help them live that dream. This when the hard work begins.

Seven (7) times out of ten (10), founders are majorly looking to birth themselves in the person they hire,  just so the culture and values they have built never really die.

Recruiters are often torn between taking a chance on people who have done similar jobs before, and those who have the skills but may not have tried them out.

Here’s who we’d pick and why.

Experience doesn’t always show quality
Resumes tell different stories. Having worked for years doesn’t always mean someone was excellent at their job. This can really be a headache for recruiters, as they might lose good candidates only to find out the experienced ones don’t possess as much skill as their resumes portray.

On the other hand, people with potential have nothing but skills to their names. They may not have proven those skills at some other companies, but this gives an opportunity to revamp the recruitment strategy. When you hire more for potential, your strategy ordinarily focuses on skill and this is what should matter more.

Hiring for potential breeds loyalty
Hiring someone without much experience in today’s market is very similar to taking a chance at an unknown footballer and giving them the time they need to develop with games. There’s no assurance they will stay,  but studies show they are more likely to decide to build a career with you. This reduces employee turnover and saves your company some acquisition costs.

Cultural Fit & Teach-ability
In Nigeria, experience often comes with age and not necessarily trying out a lot of projects or personal hustle and even science proves that as people grow, they pick up habits that aren’t totally easy to change or unlearn.

For a company looking to build a strong culture, experienced hires might not always be the best here, as they probably would have a hard time trying to fit in. Green horns are more flexible and teachable. Their openness to learn provides a good opportunity to lead them to where you want them.

Being a greenhorn is akin to being open to experiments. People with just potential are more willing to try a lot of different things to see what works. Every company needs this trait – someone who lets their innovative spirit take over most of the time.

Experienced people, (not always but in most occasions) have already built a work pattern which they apply to almost every challenge they are faced with. We often find that this doesn’t always work.

While there’s never a one -size-fits- all way to go about recruitment, the one thing to always look out for is the core skill to do a job, and the ability to grow that skill. That growth element is what differentiates potential from experience.



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