Experienced vs. Inexperienced, Who Should You Hire?


It’s a dilemma that frequently arises when positions become available. There’s a gamut of things to consider; budgets are usually high on the list of considerations. When there is the luxury of time, then hiring a junior person may not be such an issue. But think about the following point, how much are you saving in the end?

Naturally, when you hire someone that can hit the ground running, it absorbs much of the onboarding costs associated with training an employee with lesser experience. Also, there can be an advantage with the skilled worker energizing the team that is already in place.

There are pros and cons to either scenario. An experienced person will require a higher salary, and on the flipside, a less experienced person will require additional training, which translates to more “money” and “time,” and there’s a higher probability that the end result may not be successful. The same can be said for an experienced employee not working out, but the inherent risk of the position not working because of issues relating to experience are lessened.

Salary alone isn’t the only stress-point that comes with hiring experience. The employee may require add-ons, i.e., bonuses, stock-options, flextime, etc. Outgrowing the position in a relatively short period of time is another issue that may come into play, ultimately costing even more money. Hammering out a long-term vision of growth within the company can curb a resignation letter after 1 -2 years. If your budget is large enough to withstand this type of scenario playing out, it may be a better option depending on how important the role is to the overall company strategy.

Determining experience is a more straightforward task, much can be determined by how in-depth the answers to interview questions are. If the role is technical, test results will speak for themselves. Asking the correct questions of references provided by the potential new hire can further assess their level of experience.

Is Potential Enough?

For a junior hire, it’s not easy to measure how well potential will translates into success. A time commitment is needed to see how much of the perceived potential will flourish. Be sure to consider the following questions related to training.

1. How much time will be necessary to train the person sufficiently?

2. What subject matter does the new hire need training in?

3. Who will train the person?

4. Does the company have the needed resources to train the person properly?

5. If the training is done by a co-worker, will the person who takes on the task of training be expected to maintain all of their current duties? If so, will it affect their work production?

If you decide to give a junior employee a chance, there are traits to look for that when paired with good training can equal success. Often times managers want to make sure they are hiring for the future. The qualities listed below provide clues to whether your next junior hire has future leadership potential.


The personality of a future leader generally draws attention and energizes people. Key traits are likeability, easy going, and the ability to get along with people at all levels. When considering how well an employee will do in a leadership role, don’t underestimate the importance of likeability. It’s nearly impossible to lead successfully (long-term) without this quality.


A good opportunity to evaluate leadership ability in a junior employee is with team projects. The saying cream always rises to the top can be applied in this case. The trait of delegation is natural and this person examines the strengths and weakness of other teammates. They can find constructive ways to provide suggestions and even corrective criticism. Their approach is not received as forced or taken offensively.


There is a particular inquisitive nature to this person. They are quick studies and know how to be agile when it comes to navigating new tasks and problems. They also don’t require a lot of warm-up time relating to environments, systems, and people.

Decision Maker

Leaders must have the ability to make decisions. Executing strategy something means having to make quick decisions. Having confidence in the decisions made are crucial to leaders.


Integrity is of the utmost importance in business dealings. Much can be determined by how junior employees make decisions when they are not at a decision making level. An employee’s action is clear evidence of the amount of ethics and integrity they possess. A strong moral standing is crucial. When a person shows they are trustworthy with small things they will pass the test with greater responsibilities.

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