Before I started working in recruitment, my impression was that the entire job revolved around: looking at CVs to try and find a candidate who had the right experience …
Now I’ve been working in recruitment for a year and a half I’ve learned that this is just one piece of the puzzle. I’ve also learnt that it can make you either want to pull your own hair out, or provide some of the greatest job satisfaction you’ve ever experienced.
This puzzle then, what makes it so frustratingly awkward? What can make it so unbelievably rewarding? Well, one thing that can answer both of these questions is, the candidate.
Finding the right candidate at the wrong time, is as bad as finding nothing but the wrong candidate!
The problem with hiring a candidate based exclusively on their experience
I remember the first thing I learned when starting my role was how people who had amazing looking CVs would often be disappointing when I got them on the phone, and often people who had no demonstrable experience would really impress me and I’d find myself rooting for them to get the job.
What does ‘job experience’ mean then? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Again, a difficult question!
There are a couple of things which experience is really important for – It shows us that the candidate is capable of doing the job (at some level) and they can say the right things to get through an interview process. What job experience on a CV doesn’t tell us – if they were any good at the job! If they have drive and integrity, if they are honest or if people get on with them, if they are able to self-motivate and are willing to learn? If they have a passion for the industry or if they are agile learners? These are all qualities that are surely equally as important, if not more so than previous job experience (in a similar role)!?
Because of this, prior job experience cannot be an accurate predictor of a candidate’s future potential or ability to achieve in a new role, in a new team or in a new industry. It is not uncommon for people with no experience to excel beyond others with previous relevant job experience. Why? Maybe because those candidates can’t rely on their previous experience. They have to be creative, constantly strive to be better and solve problems quickly. Most job skills can be taught, but coachability and drive cannot.
If you’re a candidate, what can you do?
So, if you’re out there and you’re wanting to break into the world of software sales, you’re driven, you’re hungry and intelligent but you keep getting rejected because you don’t have the right sort of job experience, what can you do? First, you need to realise that because your relevant experience is limited, the interview process may be tougher on you – the hiring manager is going to want to test you! They’ll ask you questions about the company, about your ability in certain areas, how much you know about the industry, what you’d bring to the role. The best thing you can do is have belief and confidence in yourself, highlight your unique skills and do your research! Plan your answers, go above and beyond and expect to be challenged.
I can’t say that if you do this you will 100% snag the job every time, but it will put you in a stronger position to showcase the unique skills and strengths that you do have to qualify YOU for the job.
If you’re a hiring manager, why should you consider hiring someone with less experience?
Why should you look beyond the experience and widen your scope when it comes to candidates? It couldn’t be simpler really. It’s the same lesson I learned back when I started in recruitment – To really get to know the measure of someone *you NEED to speak with them*. You’ll be surprised by the people who impress you when you look at their CVs and realise that if you were judging on experience alone, they wouldn’t have been given a shot. If you like the candidate’s personality and think they could be a great culture fit, here are 5 questions you might consider asking to judge their ability to learn the skills required for the job role.
I’m still new to the industry and I still have a lot to learn! But the lessons I’ve learnt listening to people and candidates looking to find their worth has expanded into other corners of my life and has had a huge positive impact!
If you’re currently looking for SaaS Sales job and would like a free call to discuss the jobs that we have available, give me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org