Talent seems to be a global currency when it comes to the hiring process. As an interviewer you are looking for talents that would make your company thrive and as a candidate you are trying to show that you possess the skills needed for the job. In terms of career, talent is seen as a holy grail that opens a lot of doors.
But what if you had to choose between two equally talented people, however… one would be way younger than the other?
There are probably two ways of looking at it: some would say that the energy and enthusiasm of the younger candidate is more valuable, while others would argue that the experience and maturity of the older candidate makes all the difference. Not surprisingly, both sides make their points. Hiring a young inexperienced talent can be a challenge for obvious reasons but it can also be rewarding.
Young adults are often enthusiastic about making a real change in the world. They are open and passionate and ready to gain knowledge. Thanks to that energy, the gap between the skills required for a job and the actual experience of a younger applicant is usually quickly filled.
One of the greatest advantages of younger talents is that they grew up with the rise of technology and studied with gadgets, the Internet, social media, etc. Indeed, they are digital natives and do not need to be trained to use the tools their lives are already filled with.
In addition, potential employees who are young and inexperienced are not biased with work patterns from previous jobs and thus are more flexible to adapt to a company’s workflow or question the existing procedures and offer a fresh point of view.
On the other hand, hiring an expert is very beneficial. It is hard to deny that candidates with solid competences and industry knowledge are highly wanted on the labour market. They have business connections and solutions. They have had time to make mistakes and to learn from them to bring in the best practices.
Experienced workers are generally more confident and stress resistant due to their working background. This is something they could pass on to the younger staff and contribute to the strength of your team and corporate culture.
In some cases, previous experience can save you plenty of time by telling a lot more about a candidate, helping to understand the personality behind the resume, compared to a cover letter of a fresh graduate or a first-job seeker.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” — Steve Jobs.
I bet you have seen this quote hundreds of times on LinkedIn or Facebook, but it is actually very relevant to any hiring process. Remember that your ultimate goal is to find the right smart person for your company regardless of age, experience, gender or skin colour. That right person might be the one who has a portfolio of closed deals, signed contracts or whatever the KPI applies, and knows exactly where to start to lead a project successfully. It might as well be a debutant able to shake your company’s procedures and offer a unique perspective on the matter.
It goes without saying that motivation is key. It is a fuel that all candidates need along with their talents.
Fight the biases you have about both younger and older job seekers, get rid of common assumptions and try to provide opportunities to a motivated and driven personality.
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