Hireology Blog - Insights for better hiring & HR


How do you assess a job applicant with limited experience?

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on November 12, 2015

Assessing a job applicantAlthough you have an impressive background, we have decided to move forward with candidates who have more experience aligned to what we are looking for in this position.

This is a line hiring managers use much too often when rejecting an applicant in the hiring process. While it may seem to be a plausible explanation for turning down a candidate, it can make a negative impact to a company’s hiring process, as well as overall business.

It’s shocking how many employers and hiring managers use this as reasoning for a hiring decision. Experience is great and can definitely help people become better at his or her respective careers, however for most jobs, a lack of experience shouldn’t be a deciding factor for whether or not someone gets hired.

Why do so many hiring managers dwell on experience when all that truly matters is the makeup of the individual? Things like attitude, responsibility, personality and skills should all hold more clout than work experience.

For example, why would you hire an overconfident, brash person just because he or she has the exact work experience you’re looking for in your open position? Your employees will more than likely dislike working with that person and the chances of that person working for you in the long run will be slim—which will eventually end in turnover and cost your business an unnecessary amount of money.

Why not hire a levelheaded person who shows all the signs of a hard-working talent willing to learn and earn his or her way throughout employment?

Assessing job applicants with little experience

Selecting an applicant does not mean reading resumes. According to Hireology research, 50% of the factors predicting a person’s success or failure in a new role have absolutely nothing to do with their experience.

So, what should you look for in an ideal candidate if experience isn’t that important? There are four elements that every suitable employee displays during an interview; all of which hiring managers should look for during their next interviews.

The four super elements

  1. Attitude—a positive disposition, or satisfaction that persists across job experiences
  2. Sense of Accountability—the extent to which a person believes he or she has control over his or her own outcomes, also called “locus of control"
  3. Prior Related Job Success—having met former goals in past jobs that are similar to the job at hand
  4. Culture Fit—the degree to which the candidate shares similar values with the organization, and demonstrates an authentic interest in the job at hand

The four super elements are essential and are key factors in the type of people who have shown to be successful in his or her jobs, regardless of their career paths. The best way to identify these elements in an applicant is by conducting behavioral interviews

Lower your focus on specific work experience the next time you’re hiring. Instead, try to understand what type of person the applicant is and whether or not you think that person has the right attitude, accountability, personality and skillset to get the job done the right way, as well as fit into your company’s culture and overall mission.

Don’t make the same mistake as most hiring managers. Learn how to properly assess applicants by downloading the complimentary eBook below.

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James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.