To hire green or not to hire green? Now that is the question!

In the best of all worlds we want to hire people that can run on the first day.  Or do we?

It seems to be the question that many organizations take for granted sometimes at their own peril.  Who we hire says a great deal about our company and what we value.  The results of our hiring say a great deal about how successful we are. 

As I explore this question with you, let’s first take a look at the pro’s and con’s of hiring both types of people.   First, I will explore the pro’s:

Inexperienced Experienced
Lower costs Stronger initial results
Moldable Less hold handing
Lack of bad habits Strong individual contributor and problem solver
Potential stars Verifiable past success
Flexible Clear expectations/opinions

 Now let’s explore the con’s:

Inexperienced Experienced
Longer ramp up time More expensive resource
Higher odds of failure Won’t like being in a learning stage again; like being the expert
Management time investment high May not transition from old job/company well
Produces less May have an ego

There are companies that hire green talent and do very well and there are others that are more successful with experienced hires.  How can you determine what is best for you?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • How strong is our on-boarding process? The weaker the process the less likely you will succeed with inexperienced hires.
  • How well have we defined what success looks like and the path way to get there? The weaker the definition the less likely you will succeed with inexperienced hires.
  • Where is the turnover happening in your organization? And who is turning over?  Are inexperienced hires turning over?  Are experienced hires turning over?  How about internal versus external hires?
  • Who seems to be successful?  Develop a profile of the type of hire that typically succeeds in your organization.  Base this profile on reality meaning what has actually occurred.  If you have not track this you should start.
  • What kind of compensation can you offer?  Do you have the ability to track experienced hires?
  • What does the candidate pool in your area look like?  How creative have you been when looking for people?
  • What is your development and training process like? Can you grow someone from scratch or are you better at coaching someone with an existing skill set?
  • How much pressure is there to produce?  Will someone without experience be able to handle the pressure while learning and trying to perform?
  • What is your culture like?  Can you bring in people from other organizations and allow them time to adapt and break old habits?

2 thoughts on “To hire green or not to hire green? Now that is the question!

  1. As you so adeptly point out, there are pros and cons to hiring green. In this economy, it can make more financial sense to go with green. Sometimes, however, you just need folks that can hit the ground running. In any case, employees are often what you make of them. Customer service training, for example, should start on day one. As this article ( suggests, it can very much help a company and its employees.

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