Take a Chance: Hire People Without Job Experience

Posted on January 16, 2019

It’s so common that it’s moved from common conversation to being enshrined forever in memes. You can find them on LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, or even Help Wanted ads. Job applications with unreasonable expectations regarding experience have become normalized in the search for employment.

The jokes write themselves.

In today’s break-neck paced world, knowledge changes, and we accept it. New methods are discovered, and new ideas are brought to the forefront. Why don’t we hold job expectations to the same standard? I saw a wanted ad recently for a job as a Facebook ad account manager. The job called for 10 years of experience in social media. Facebook is only 14! If you want to know who is killing the ad game on Facebook, it’s not someone who has run ads based on 10-year-old information — it’s more likely a 14-year-old kid with a Fortnite Twitch stream. 

Obviously, that’s hyperbolic. But the sentiment is true. A fresh view on what has become the status quo is invaluable, and can help your business tap into a whole new demographic of people. Believe it or not, everyone is getting older, including young people who are just now entering the workforce. But if those young people are never given the opportunity for experience, how can they be expected to apply for jobs requiring it years from now?

An article I read recently stated that there are four questions that should inform your hiring process:

  1. Can this candidate do the job?
  2. Will this candidate be motivated?
  3. Will this candidate get along with coworkers?
  4. What will this candidate be three, six, twelve months from now?

Aren’t the answers to these questions much more valuable than whether or not a person has worked for an arbitrary number of years in a field that may soon be obsolete?

In all likelihood this will help you diversify your workspace as well. Consider the fact that there is a certain privilege to having job experience. Perhaps a wealthy upper-class kid can afford to have a prestigious internship without pay, but an inner-city kid seeking to make ends meet can’t. Access is a privilege that we often take for granted. The four questions above take luck and privilege out of the equation, allowing you to make a fair assessment.

Obviously experience matters, and it is worth considering. It shouldn’t be your only qualification though. You won’t find someone for your copywriting job who has “92 years of advertising experience, a rugged jawline, and an affinity for scotch” unless you’re looking for Don Draper. If you’re looking for Don Draper, I’ve got some bad news. Take a chance! Let someone prove themselves to you!