Experience vs. Raw Talent – Which Is the Most Valuable

BY THE TALENTDASH TEAM | April 25, 2017

Some jobs require a certain level of capability that only a candidate with years of practical experience can offer. But what happens when a raw candidate is incredibly talented? Is experience still considered more valuable than talent?

It’s a question that pops up quite often in conversations around the water coolers of the world’s top recruitment agencies and one that has yet to receive a definitive answer.

Why? Because there is none.

As we all know, the right hiring decision (or the wrong one for that matter) can have a huge bearing on the success of a project or even the entire company. So it’s quite understandable that many hiring managers find themselves in a state of confusion when faced with this choice.

Unfortunately for them, there is no magic hiring formula to help in such a scenario. Although wouldn’t it be great if we could solve recruitment issues with mathematical equations like ‘Experience + qualifications = Talent x 2’.

Wishful thinking aside, there are a few points to consider when choosing between raw talent and experience but before we get to those let’s take a quick look at the merits of hiring both.

The benefits of hiring raw talent

They are risk takers
New to the industry and looking to make their mark, the new pros are eager to take risks even when the stakes are high. This hunger for success cultivates innovation in the workplace and is something that other team members may feel motivated by.

They tend to be more hardworking
Candidates with little or no experience know that they are new to the game and will put in the hard graft to get up to speed with their new colleagues. They are incredibly easy to motivate and their hunger to succeed will often see them surpass expectations.

They offer a fresh perspective
With raw talent, you get something of a blank canvas with which to work. There will be no need to unlearn any habits they picked up in previous positions, and you’ll never hear the phrase “that’s not how we did it in my last job.” And with no fixation to do things a certain way, they can often offer a fresh perspective on how things are done.

They have great cognitive skills
A candidate with bags of talent obviously has the aptitude for the job in question, and such a natural tendency often goes hand in hand with exceptional cognitive skills. These skills are the reason that they can turn their hand to practically anything which makes them a dream hire for any HR department.

The benefits of hiring experienced professionals

They have specialized knowledge
An experienced candidate that has in-depth knowledge of processes/software/equipment in your industry is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. This is particularly true when a company is looking to introduce new processes or improve current ones. And quite often this specialized knowledge can only come with experience.

They are a good fit for leadership roles
There are people who are born leaders but do you really want to see if that candidate with zero management experience can successfully lead a team of battle-hardened pros? Seasoned professionals with leadership experience are essential for such roles, and the team members they are set to lead will expect nothing less.

They have a proven track record
An experienced candidate has a track record that is verifiable. Achievements in former roles are a good barometer for how far they are willing to push themselves professionally which makes it easy for you to hedge your bets on a sure thing.

They settle in faster
Familiar with the industry and knowing exactly what is required of them, the experienced hire will settle in much faster in a new environment and require much less chaperoning or what some might call babysitting.

Some things to consider when choosing talent vs. experience

The working environment
The environment that you are hiring for is crucial to your decision and so too are the staff in that department. Will your current employees benefit from the breath of fresh air that is raw talent? Or do they need the experience of an old hand to steady the ship?

Whatever you feel the working environment requires, it is imperative that you make this decision as early in the recruitment process as possible. It will help narrow down the field significantly and prevent wasting your time and that of your candidates.

The type of business
Choosing between talent and experience can depend on the type of business you are hiring for. A medical position would require experience whereas a startup company may prefer the enthusiasm of raw talent.

The role objectives 
If the company is looking to bring about change, then a talented individual’s openness to adaptation would make them an ideal fit. However, if the job requires the refinement of current processes or the responsibilities of leadership that we mentioned earlier, then experience is the better option.

Is it a newly created position?
A newly created role within a company is the perfect starting point for eager young talent as their attitude to work, and their sense of innovation will certainly help define the job’s responsibilities.

If you are having difficulty in locating fresh raw talent straight out of college to fill that newly created position, then check out our recent post on ‘How to find the very best graduate talent’ for some useful tips.

Remember Hiring is a human process
We may have mentioned once or twice before, but the fact is that recruitment is a human process that requires a certain level of opinion and judgment. Each individual candidate is a very different person and regardless of experience, may or may not be suitable for a position.

Of course, you should use any information that you have at hand, but sometimes gut instinct will tell you if you should take a chance on that wonderfully talented and passionate young individual or stick with what you know.

Whether you’re searching for raw talent or experienced professionals, it always pays to have the best in your corner.  today and let TalentDash map the very best talent and help you create your talent pool in double quick time with very little effort.


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