When to Take a Chance on an Underqualified Employee

Recruitment is about finding the best talent. It is not about finding the person with the best CV. It is not about looking for a specific type. It is about evaluating every single possible applicant and determining which of them is going to be the best at the job, no matter their experience and background.

Sometimes that means hiring a candidate that has exactly what you wanted from someone. Sometimes that means hiring an overqualified candidate that comes with risks, but has experience that you cannot get anywhere else. And, of course, sometimes it means taking a chance on someone that is underqualified, but has given signs that they’ll still be highly productive.

Signs an Underqualified Applicant is a Worthy Hire

  • When ALL The Personality Factors Are There

If you ignore what’s needed for the job, the personality factors that make for a great hire are intelligence, critical thinking skills, energy, the ability to put in hard work, and more. Technical knowledge matters – you wouldn’t hire someone to code a software program if they have only worked in fast food – but the personality that makes for a great employee can still have a tremendous effect on their ability to thrive. If everything you could want from an employee is all there in the applicant, it may be worth their hire even if the qualifications are missing.

  • When Your Qualifications Were Not Static

If you have “5 years of experience” in your ad, and you have an applicant with only one year of experience but a great education and some strong achievements, then “underqualified” is simply a subjective phrase. Qualifications are often chosen by a company to find the best applicants. But the qualifications are preferred, but not mandatory, it may be worth taking the risk.

  • When Lots of Training Happens Anyway

Some jobs simply require substantial amounts of training, no matter how much experience the person has. For example, if you have an in-house system that the person will have to be thoroughly trained on, then the person’s previous experiences and education becomes less important. Their ability to learn and consume knowledge is what matters.

Hire the Best – Whomever They May Be

Underqualified, overqualified, or exactly what you expected – your job is to try to hire the best possible employees. Employee retention is important but once you’ve accounted for retention, your recruitment process should be about determining who will be the best employee, no matter their background. Sometimes that means hiring someone underqualified. You just have to determine when that is right.

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