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If you’ve ever hired, you are well aware of the variety of candidates who may walk through your office doors, prepared and determined to secure the position for which you are considering them for. In today’s jobless market with unemployment rates shockingly high – the stakes for this interviewee have never been higher. Nor are the risks for the employer!Hiring smart has never been more important for an employer than now but when presented with a polished resume, a flawless interview and exceptional references – how do you really decide who’s best for the job?
Especially if the only difference in your final candidates lies in:
Raw talent vs: experience
Raw talent is viewed as natural and powerful. In most cases, raw talent is not learnt or acquired – it simply comes naturally or is mastered quickly without much failure. It often does not require any formal training or education. Raw talent is commonly self-taught and draws from an innate ability deep within.
Experience is viewed as formal and derived gradually from past work experiences, education or training. It is the result of accumulated knowledge and hands-on lessons (schooling or job experience.) Experience is built from the past and present and continues to grow as time goes on.
One might argue that you simply know raw talent when you see it. One may also argue that you know experience when you see it. The problem is – which do you hire?
We look at three examples of how raw talent shapes up against experience.
1. Ability to Survive – Adapting to Change
Raw talent plays an intricate part in survival because raw talent is extremely innate. When in a crisis situation, it draws from your inner flight or fight and is not based on what experience has taught you. Most raw talent has gotten where they are today because they knew how to survive. They are continuously competing against those with formal training or experience and their determination to prevail shines through because of their self-taught ability to survive.
This is very important when an employee must confront change. Raw talent has no formal experience therefore they are more open to change and know how to adapt. An experienced candidate however, has a long string of previous experience with which they are comfortable and successful in. They may be less likely to welcome change. The argument may be made that an employee with experience has previous hindsight (which they say is 20/20, right?) to lead them in their decision making but employers have argued that having no hindsight can often mean several positive bonuses – no bad habits, no clouded opinions, no burned bridges. Those with previous experience may also hold strong assumptions as to what works and what doesn’t based on their own triumphs and fails. When the time comes for change – this can be greatly detrimental to their performance.
2. Predicting Dedication – Determining Employee Longevity
Those who have exceptional experience show proven dedication to some degree. If they’ve undergone any form of education and successfully graduated, then they have remained dedicated to completing their education. Similarly, if they’ve remained with previous employers for any lengthy duration of time or completed significant training – it could be said that they’ve proven dedication. This can be a strong indicator of employee longevity but does it predict productivity? Yes they lasted but perhaps it was only because they met their quota and daily to-do’s. Did they increase productivity? What did they bring to the company?
While raw talent may not have the same resume of experience, often times, as with survival, dedication is stronger and necessary in order to prove worthiness of consideration. There is a certain tendency for raw talent to exhibit far higher levels of dedication than those who have experience to fall back on. An experienced employee may have worked with a company for 40 years when they are let go but this doesn’t guarantee they will be productive at their next job or care as much as they did at their previous position. When given an opportunity, raw talent will typically not only shine – they’ll be the most dedicated employee you’ve ever had and more often than not, their dedication will lead to employee longevity.
3. Truly Genuine – Identifying Loyalty
One of the largest risks that comes with hiring someone with experience is that with their experience, they may bring along an ego. While experience can be great, the addition of an ego or bulletproof mindset can be damaging to job performance and even office culture. There’s an argument to be made that some of the world’s most successful CEOs have egos but they aren’t working for you.
They don’t work for anyone.
On the flipside – raw talent may unfortunately be hyper aware of how talented they really are and unfortunately also come with an ego. Why? Because while they don’t have the education or resume that the experienced do – they’re innately talented which could be argued is even more ego worthy.
In the end, in terms of being genuine and most importantly loyal – it’s been shown that raw talent wins in this department. In most cases, they are beyond grateful for the experience you’ve given them and work extra hard to ensure they meet and exceed your expectations, where experienced employees may work to meet your expectations but not necessarily feel the need to exceed.
So at the end of the day – who do you hire?
The extremely raw and inexperienced talent that’s walked through your door? Or the experienced, well-educated employee with the perfect resume? The answer isn’t always clear cut and the truth of the matter is that there are pros and cons to both. Ultimately, while experience can quicken the learning curve – it is almost always best to hire raw talent if you are looking for optimal productivity.
Raw talents are limitless in their natural abilities. They are quick to learn and quite frankly – they thrive on learning. With no prior work experience or training to fall back on, they will always fight hard to survive which means they will be more likely to adapt to change and to accept new challenges in the workplace. Raw talents are the diamonds in the rough. The unicorn. And by adding one to your team you are immediately increasing productivity from the get-go.
Hire raw talent.