Working with Inexperienced Prospects

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting, Hiring, Staffing

Recruiters see all levels of a business, from the glamorous executive positions down to entry-level clerks – and filling each of these roles with the right person is equally important. Working to fill positions that don't require much experience can be an art all on its own, and there are several perspectives recruiters should consider when they begin to do so.

People without much work experience in the traditional sense can have any number of backgrounds. Students freshly graduated from college may come to mind as the most common category, for example. However, military veterans without significant civilian experience can also fit this description – though they've had valuable experiences in the armed forces, it may be difficult to translate those into a standard resume. Many companies today place great emphasis on hiring veterans, so it's important for recruiters to know how to deal with a lack of civilian experience with the same skill they use for every requisition. Here are some things to consider when recruiting people whose professional background is small or nonexistent:

  • Think deeply about attitude and aptitude. While it's almost a truism in some circles at this point, every company (and by extension every recruiter) needs to consider what it values more between skill and disposition, as Forbes discusses. Highly skilled professionals fail to integrate into teams all the time, at great cost to companies and internal relationships. The recent graduate or veteran who has a knack for relating to people and learns quickly could do very well in sales or customer relations with a bit of training, for example, while even the most experienced salesperson can't compensate for a poor attitude.
  • Determine how to "translate" experiences. Most people applying for work have some kind of background they can talk about, even if it's not professional. Veterans in particular have identifiable and marketable skills in several areas in many cases, though they may not have the years in the working world other prospects do. Organizations that advocate for employing veterans often have helpful lists to help recruiters understand how particular roles in the military translate to civilian work. Newly graduated students often have extracurricular activities that can demonstrate their natural talents, such as student government or service work. Learning how to see nonwork experiences in a professional context can make recruiting people with less experience much easier.

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