Whether your business has been in the market for a long time or is a relative newcomer, recruiters have to consider its employees first because they mean the difference between business success and failure. If you have a start-up, this is more important because you need to hire loyal employees that would help your business grow.

However, many recruiters face the dilemma of choosing a candidate with talent versus one with experience. Although there may be a probability that an individual would both have talent and experience, more often than not, recruiters would have to choose one over the other. Nevertheless, both are extremely important to your business.

Hiring Basics for Recruiters: Talent versus Experience

© Shutterstock.com | adriaticfoto

This article breaks down why a recruiter should hire talented individuals or experienced individuals and how they can recognize them. We look at the advantages of hiring a talented or an experienced individual; the roles and company growth phase that they can occupy and belong to, respectively; and how to discern if an individual is talented or experienced. In addition, we provide recruiters with the tools to choose a talented or an experienced individual, by bearing in mind a few considerations.


Talent is viewed by most as something natural, yet powerful. Typically, talent is neither attained nor studied. Some examples for hiring talent are Chief Executive Officers who have not had direct experience before, such as Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

Advantages of Talent

Many recruiters have been unsuccessful with evaluating the advantages of talented individuals and their effects on their business. While there is some risk in hiring for talent, these individuals’ return on investment are characteristically higher than the risk involved. Found below are some of the advantages of hiring talented individuals.

Adaptability to Change. It is very important for an employee to know how to deal with change in a business landscape because most businesses are changing – whether it may be something simple as a product enhancement to something serious as company culture. People with talent but with no formal experience are usually more welcoming to change and can adapt quickly. Moreover, since they have no hindsight to depend on, they do not have to deal with additional baggage such as burned bridges, stubbornly set opinions, or even bad habits.

Fresh Perspectives. The lack of experience for a talented individual can be an advantage because they have less experience that can sully their viewpoints. They can form fresh perspectives, leading to probable innovations and new ideas for the company. Moreover, talented individuals may be able to handle more risks because they have not yet built an innate fear for particular experiences. Fresh perspectives can bring about constructive criticisms on existing processes, advancements, and the like.

Hardworking Nature. Due to their lack of working background, yet because of their talent, these individuals have more pressure to demonstrate that they are valuable to a company. They are also impelled to perform in other significant avenues such as relationship building and network support. Since they do not have much experience, talented individuals are expected not only to work harder, but also quicker and more intelligently.

Potential Loyalty or Dedication. When they have the opportunity, talented individuals will perform well and will be the most dedicated and loyal employees, resulting in longer stays with the company. Similar to their hardworking nature, talented individuals are grateful for the experience given to them by their companies and would dedicate themselves to working well and hard to guarantee that their boss’s expectations are met or even exceeded.

Relative Affordability of Services. Recruiting someone who is relatively unknown in the business, a recruiter has the opportunity to hire a rising star, without the superstar costs. Since talented individuals without experience are new, they are not only easier to hire, they are also more affordable. There is strong competition to acquire experienced individuals; however, if your business hires a relatively unknown but talented individual, there would be less competition. Because there is less demand for their services, those who have less experience but talented, would usually work for less compared those who are experienced.

The Offer of Diversity. It matters if a company is diverse due to the various viewpoints it would generate. Businesses, particularly those involved in customer contact and product design, are positively impacted when talented individuals are part of the employee pool.

[slideshare id=57613850&doc=ibmnrsocialbusinesswrongtalent-final-160128165404&w=640&h=330]

Which roles should a talented individual occupy?

Talented individuals, since they are full of natural abilities and are quick to learn, should be positioned in jobs that involve problem-solving, positions that constantly present change and regular challenges. While it is not expected that they be immediately positioned in senior or managerial positions because of their relative inexperience, they should be placed in jobs that provide potential for growth.

Which company growth phase should a talented individual belong to?

A talented individual thrives in start-up companies that are unknown and have yet to build a reputation in the market. While start-up companies do not have the financial capacity to appeal to those with proven experience, they can target talented individuals whose services are more affordable, yet can still handle the job at hand. Talented individuals also flourish in businesses that have to undergo change management or processes, because they have the adaptability and flexibility to deal with the ongoing transformations.

Finding Individuals with Talent

It is not easy work to search for individuals with the innate aptitude and skill for a specific role and responsibility. However, there can be many gains for your company if you are able to discern the talented from a pool of applicants.

Group Contests. Recruiters can find candidates through group contests. If recruiters post online technical contests anonymously, there is a good chance that the “winners” would have the ability to perform the nitty gritty parts of the job position, regardless of their background or experience.

Online Assessment Tools. With the use of online assessment tools, recruiters can discover and evaluate a talented individual that has little experience. This is similar to group contests in the sense that background or experience does not have an impact on the results of the online tests. Some examples of online assessment tools are Codility and Code Eval for technical positions and Revelian for administrative posts.

Technical Skills Tests. To find someone with the talent for a position, the applicant can be given a technical problem that only an existing staff member can solve. Afterwards, the staff member will gauge if the solution is acceptable and perhaps even original. As an alternative, the applicant can be offered a broken process, and then the recruiter would inquire as to the actual weaknesses of the process. A talented individual would have no difficulty detecting where the cracks lie.

Values Test. A way to determine talent in an individual is through a values test interview. Talented individuals would exhibit high ambitions – to leave a mark for the greater good, yet demonstrating humility and graciousness.


Experienced is garnered progressively from previous work experience, training, or education. This stems from the combination of knowledge and on-the-ground understanding. Moreover, unlike talent, experience is measurable. By reading a curriculum vitae or resume, a recruiter can immediately determine how much experience a person has.

Advantages of Experience

Many recruiters are used to gauging a person’s qualifications for a job based on their experience. Although it might seem straightforward, some recruiters fail to realize that it is not merely about the number of years spent working, but the quality in those years. There is a difference between someone who has worked for a long time versus someone who has made a difference for a stretch of time. We describe in the succeeding paragraphs, some advantages in hiring experienced individuals.

Ability to Work on Diverse Roles and Responsibilities. Because an experienced individual already has substantial work background, he or she may have already experienced all levels of the value chain in an office. The career paths may have gone from manning a reception table to working with different teams across departments. With this, a recruiter has many preferences for experienced individuals in terms of their roles and responsibilities.

Grounded Perspectives. Experienced individuals would most likely have grounded perspectives. This is because they know who they are since they have already refined their character and work ethics through time. Moreover, experienced individuals know exactly what their capabilities, strengths, areas for improvement, and even potential, are. Full knowledge of themselves has made experienced applicants honest and compelling communicators and teachers; strongholds of patience during challenging occasions; and a fount of information for best practices and lessons learned.

Low Risk Levels. Even though risk taking is important for some businesses, especially for start-ups, it does not indicate that organizations have to be vulnerable to high risks. In order to guarantee that your business functions well, recruiters need experienced individuals who can preserve and maintain order. Experienced individuals have perhaps seen everything – the turbulence of office politics, the frustration of the bureaucracy, and the volatility of work cultures – the experienced have withstood the vicissitudes of the typical business cycle. Moreover, since the experienced individual’s achievements and background are typically well documented, this makes it more convenient for recruiters to evaluate and position them in a company, eliminating any guesswork. By accepting experienced workers, recruiters eliminate the uncertainty in daily business operations and employment procedures.

Multi-Skilled. Experienced individuals have most likely worked in differing industries and companies and have mastered important qualifications along the way. As they have gotten older, they have generated solutions to specific problems, mastered important skills, and became specialists in their fields. This makes them skilled in a variety of proficiencies for different settings.

Usage of Hindsight. Since an experienced individual already has a work history to look back on, he or she can use hindsight in important decision-making. An individual who already has the suitable experience to predict, avoid, and lower potential problems is important in any business.

Which roles should an experienced individual occupy?

We recommend that experienced individuals, given that they already have a sufficient working history, be placed in positions that need workflow coordination and personnel management, since these responsibilities need first-hand knowledge of business processes and work cultures. This does not mean that experienced applicants cannot occupy positions that lean towards unpredictable and innovative processes – it simply indicates that experienced individuals function best whenever a process involves structure and routine.

Which company growth phase should an experienced individual belong to?

Experienced individuals work at optimum levels when they are placed in a company that is reaching its peak or has already reached its peak, but would like to maintain its successful but regular business processes. Since experienced recruits have the benefit of an extensive background, they can easily troubleshoot problems when they occur and would know which person/s in the company to galvanize in order to solve problems.

Finding Individuals with Experience

Although it is relatively easier to find individuals with experience from a pool of applicants, recruiters also have to keep in mind the work values behind this experience. There would be many benefits to your company when you are able to find the most experienced individual for a job, but also have the good work ethics to support it.

Pre-Employment Tests. Pre-employment tests are typically overlooked, but are valuable. Through this, recruiters would know if an individual is genuinely experienced or flubbing their curriculum vitas. They also serve as a way to determine how to work with the people hired in a more effective manner and how to give them advancement within the organization.

Proficiency in the Interview/s. For previous decades, interviews have been pivotal in the acceptance or the rejection of a potential candidate. Individuals are pressed to answer in a manner that underscores their past experience, as well as their behavior and ability to handle stressful situations. An experienced individual would usually be able to answer interview questions quite confidently because they can draw on their background to provide clear and in-depth responses.

Reference Checks. Because experienced individuals have a specific past, recruiters can easily consult with any of the applicants’ references. This can reveal possible problems that cannot be derived from testing and interviews. By speaking with former bosses and colleagues, a recruiter can have an idea of the level of experience a candidate has, as well as their working attitudes. Reference checks produce a wealth of knowledge on whether a candidate is proactive, positive, willing to accomplish any task, self-motivated, etc.


It can be difficult for you to decide between talent and experience. While experience makes individuals more proficient, less probable to make errors, more likely to deliver on time, and better with program management, talent makes individuals faster with absorbing details, more efficient in tackling new problem solving issues, and readier to face constant changes and challenges.

Although talent and experience are not mutually exclusive, there are many cases wherein a recruiter just has to choose one over the other, given an applicant pool. With the descriptions of the advantages of a talented applicant and an experienced applicant; the roles that they should play; and where to position them in a business cycle, when can you choose one over the other? Consider the following:

Amount of Problem Solving Needed. If a job entails a large amount of problem solving, recruiters can rely more on talented individuals because they can think innovatively. There is a caveat, however—if the problem needs intense knowledge of previous challenges that were successfully solved in the past, then an experienced individual would be better in this instance.

Job Objectives. The objectives of the job can determine whether a recruiter hires a talented or an experienced candidate. If the objective of the job were to instill change management in an organization, the better bet would be a talented individual because of their openness to change. However, if the job objective were to manage detailed business outsourcing processes, then this would need a more experienced eye.

Job as an Existing or a New Function. Whenever a job is being filled because someone just vacated the position, it would be better to hire an experienced individual who would more or less already know the job functions. If, however, the job is a new part of a business process, then recruiters could consider hiring a talented individual, who could inject some freshness into the company and at the same time offer brand new insights on the job.

Level of Familiarity, Knowledge, and Expertise of the Company. When a recent technology or a present market is familiar to your company, talented individuals should be considered by your recruiter. The reason being that your company already knows what needs to be accomplished – you just need newer perspectives. However, when your company has less familiarity of your market context, experience is significant. The experienced applicant can bolster your company’s market knowledge and expertise.

Type of Business. Whether a recruiter hires talent or experience relies highly on the kind of business being run. Case in point, if a business were a dermatological clinic, recruiters would find persons with a medical background and experience. However, if the business were a start-up company developing applications, a talented individual can be considered, since it involves a lot of creativity.

When a recruiter assesses an individual, it should always be within the context of your market, your company, your team/s, and your culture. There would be times that your business would need talent, other times, experience. Whatever is chosen, it should be the right fit because a staffing mistake can cost your company money, time, and effort.

Comments are closed.