Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Slightly more than one-third of all Americans has a college degree now. The number of people who pursue higher education is at an all-time high. Of course, this isn’t the only way people demonstrate talent. Millions have certifications too, especially those in fields requiring STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Upskilling has become hugely popular as well, though there aren’t any large-scale studies which demonstrate just how many people pick up individual skills on their own. Now more than ever, it’s easy to find people with talent to fill your vacancies, but is betting on talent too risky? Is it better to go with experience if you want the job done right?
There’s No Magical Formula When It Comes to Experience vs Talent
Unfortunately, there’s no formula you can use to calculate who the perfect candidate will be based on experience and talent. The ideal candidate will likely possess a mixture of both, but the reality is that there are times when we have to choose between the two. In these cases, it’s important to consider the individual, the company, and the role, in order to make the best decision.
Experienced Candidates are Usually Better Leaders
Regardless of your industry, your leaders should have a deep understanding of what the average day is like for the people they manage. The best way to gain that knowledge is by working their way up. In doing so, the individual can relate better to employees and will have already dealt with countless situations, so they’re more prone to stay cool under fire and take charge of situations. Someone without experience needs to experiment a bit before he or she can lead from a place of mindfulness.
Talented Candidates Tend to Be Hungrier
On the flip side, those with talent and little practical experience are often more eager to learn and excel. Though they may stumble when making decisions, they bring a fresh approach and are more likely to address issues in ways the company hasn’t considered before. Without innovation, a company will stall out, so having fresh faces is essential too.
Focus on Fit Before All Else
Experience and talent are only two factors and they aren’t necessarily the most important to focus on when choosing between candidates. Regardless of talent or experience, the best addition to your team will be the one with skills which complement those of the existing employees and who blends with the company culture. For example, if you’re hiring for your company’s IT department and there are five employees performing similar tasks, yet they all favor Windows and the company still has a few Macs that need to be taken care of, you don’t want the generalist with ten years of experience. You want the newcomer with talent related to Macs. Equally, if your company is the type where collaboration between departments is expected and impromptu meetings at the coffee bar spur innovation, you probably want the candidate who made easy conversation with anyone who approached him or her.