By Katie Thornsberry

When searching for a new employee, a candidates’ work experience is often the most important thing hiring managers are looking for. It gives insight on their career progression, what skills they already possess, and their general knowledge of certain things that pertain to the job. 

But it isn’t the only thing that should be considered; A resume loaded full of industry experience doesn’t tell you about their work ethic, willingness to learn, how coachable they are, etc. That is why it’s important to be open to many different candidates during the recruitment process.

Now if you’re hiring for a highly experienced role that requires a certain amount of education or licensing, it doesn’t mean that you should necessarily open up your pool to fast food workers. But for entry level positions, why not? In the service industry, their employees learn how to effectively communicate with customers, handle situations under pressure, form patience, build amazing interpersonal skills, etc.

Here is a scenario for you; You have two applicants for your entry level sales position:

– The first applicant has worked at a local restaurant for the past 3 years. They don’t necessarily have sales experience, but they have great customer service & communication skills, they have had to up-sell products in the restaurant, and working in a fast-paced environment under pressure has become second nature to them. You call their supervisor and they have nothing but great things to say. They always go the extra mile for their customers, they have always been reliable and stayed late on multiple occasions to help out their colleagues.

-The second applicant has worked 5 different sales positions in the last 2 years. None of which they have been at for more than 4 months each. There are no notable numbers or awards from their time at any of the jobs. You call their supervisors at a few of the businesses and they have nothing too notable to say, they were personable and seemed like a good fit but couldn’t meet their expectations.

Who would you want to move forward with?

Some candidates that have had experience in your industry may also come in with some pre-set habits from the last place they worked, and they could be more difficult to train. Many candidates without industry experience are very eager to learn. They want a career path change that is more stable, and are more likely to be adaptable. They may bring some fresh ideas to the table, have a new perspective on things, and put their all into the tasks you give them.

Whether you’re considering a candidate with experience or one who is entry-level, it’s important to have other measures in your recruiting process to find the best fit for your open position. Having multiple people involved in the interview process is a great way to have a variety of professional opinions on the candidate. Having deep-dive interview questions can show you more insight on their work history and where they want to grow. Lastly, using assessments can give you more insight into their personality & where their strengths/weaknesses lie – so you can see if the position is right for them and where they would need support.

Ultimately, the type of candidate you want to hire is completely up to you. But I hope this gave you a little insight on why you don’t always have to throw out resumes without relevant experience, you could find your next superstar that just hasn’t been given a chance by anyone else yet.

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