Right person for the right job is the aim of every recruitment and selection strategy, no matter what the organisation or sector. The “war for talent” is a key driver of success as well as a strategic business challenge. And this war has only intensified in the last decade, leading to companies looking for specific skill-sets with a refined recruitment perspective.
So, how does one know who is the right candidate to be hired? Context or the business dynamics determine who a right candidate is for the given job.
This means, the decision to hire a seasoned professional vs. a fresh college graduate will differ in different business sectors as well as sometimes different companies. Time, cost and productivity are three main driving factors in this regard. The cost of having freshers may be lower however, optimal performance can take months. In contrast, hiring experienced staff means higher costs but faster productivity.
Let’s look at what differentiates freshers and experienced professionals in the context of hiring and its effects on the organisation.
Fresh graduates bring in an open mindset and are ready to face new experiences in the corporate world. This openness, when guided well, contributes to fresh ideas, brings in higher energy, newer ways to look at processes and new or different ways of working. This enables the organisation towards developing an innovative culture.
They enter brimming with enthusiasm and ambition, which needs to be channelised in the right way to help them succeed and deliver on expectations. This means that their high energy needs support and guidance to help them apply their strengths. Doing this also ensures the organisation knows these strengths and can then leverage them completely in the right direction.
Time is naturally an important factor when hiring freshers; as they need to be given enough time to settle in and find their foothold. A sudden, one month evaluation can surprise them and in some cases may even lead to de-motivation. This is one reason why the 90 day On-boarding process has gained much importance in recent times.
Most newbies, usually, are savvier in terms of understanding technology. Their interest in the technology advancements and social media can be fruitfully utilized to enable faster processes and design better reach-out plans to increase the customer base.
While these work in their favor, you need to pay attention to some important aspects; for example while questioning leads to better outcomes, you need to ensure freshers do not take liberties to doubt experience and develop a one-sided mindset.
It is also essential to keep their interest in the work going through continuous feedback and offer new challenges-however small.
You need to set expectations right in terms of time they need to spend in their role before moving up on the career ladder- as they may tend to expect fast results with a “want more in less time” thought pattern.
Some experienced professionals find it difficult to adjust to the working styles of freshers. They may have difference of opinions, they may have issues based on certain behavioral habits or sometimes even issues in communication.
The best way to deal with this is to set clear expectations with freshers right from the recruitment stage. The line managers should also be trained to manage the new generation in a way that it creates a win-win for the organisation.
Experienced/ Seasoned professionals
Their experience is their biggest advantage to any organisation. In experienced professionals, you have a strong support system as they come with years of practical experience and are aware of the impact of certain actions and strategies.
As they say, past behaviour is considered the best predictor of future performance in terms of right selection of a candidate. Here experienced professionals score high on reliability of performance and speed needed to deliver.
Given that they have worked in an organisational setup before, they can be evaluated well on their ability to take decisions and manage people.
One of the key issues with hiring experienced people is a chance of a “been there, done that” attitude. If they are not open to change, he/she may be a misfit as all organisations have to face changes constantly today. They need to unlearn and relearn in a new set-up which may be difficult for some. They may try to use and implement only tried and tested ideas.
The other issue is that organisations assume that if a candidate has been a top performer in his past experience, they can expect a repeat of his performance in their organisation as well. Well! sadly this is not always true. In many cases, I have seen that performance is also driven by the organisation’s brand name and work culture. A top performer may find it difficult to deliver the same results in a new job however experienced he or she may be.
Balance is key
I would say that an organisation will benefit by hiring a combination of both- freshers and experienced professionals.
Hiring only freshers can result in high training costs, and poor implementation; while hiring only experienced candidates may result in lack of agility and innovation in the organisation.
You may hire freshers in roles that allow time to grow, space to think, test out certain ideas under supervision, and those roles that involve less risk. Another stage at which you may consider a fresher is when you are creating a new role altogether in the structure. You have the freedom to then mould this person according to what you envisage. It is important however, to have all clarity in all aspects of such a new role else it will backfire.
A large FMCG MNC in India for example invests a lot time in developing freshers by giving them job rotations, business experience and an opportunity to showcase their talent.
When you are looking for immediate results and have to cater to a hyper-growth strategy for the year, experienced professionals are the best bet. In such situations, time is key and hence it is wiser to induct a seasoned hand to enable expected results.
If your role requires a people manager to lead a revenue generating team, make sure he/she has had experience before in similar context. Lack of ability to manage their expectations can impact business and not only affect your company but also de-moralise the new recruit.
A leading Pharma organisation followed an internal promotion strategy so strongly that in a new product launch situation, a sales team led by an inexperienced manager resulted in high attrition and lack of results.
While it is good to have an internal talent management strategy from a retention perspective, you should be discreet while taking such decisions that impact the bottom-line.
As they have spent time working within a team, experienced people take less time to integrate with the new team.
A healthy mix of freshers and seasoned professionals is an ideal recruitment strategy, as it helps you to leverage on the strengths of both groups and keeps your organisation agile, on-track and moving ahead continuously.
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Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.