Hiring a new staff member, regardless of the role, can be one of the most challenging tasks for any company. Given all the work that goes into hiring, you might be reluctant to give serious consideration to applicants that are underqualified. However, hiring an underqualified applicant can be a smart move for your organization if done correctly. Companies that can spot and hire high-potential, but underqualified applicants can gain a serious competitive advantage.
It’s important to point out that there’s a major difference between underqualified and unqualified. An underqualified candidate may be one or two years short of the experience level you are looking for. Or, they may not have one or two non-vital skills. On the other hand, an unqualified candidate is well short of the experience level needed or missing a crucial skill, like the ability to speak Spanish for a translator position.
Below are reasons why you should consider hiring underqualified candidates.
Technical Skills Can Be Taught
Studies have shown that the success or failure of a hire is rarely due to a lack of technical ability. More often than not, success or failure depends on things like attitude, ability to learn and teamworking ability.
Therefore, underqualified applicants will be more likely to succeed if they have the necessary soft skills. Technical skills can be taught, but soft skills that fit into cultural fit cannot.
Have you ever had a new hire constantly go on about how they used to do things at their old job? While it can be a good thing to bring in outside knowledge, sometimes that means this person won’t be adaptable to new situations.
If you’re hiring an underqualified candidate, they likely don’t have a lot of experience in the position and this means they are more open to accepting your standard practices.
When you hire someone that is a bit underqualified, you’re taking a chance on them, and it’s only human nature to feel a sense of loyalty in return. On a more pragmatic level, you’d be hiring someone that another company might pass on, and the candidate should know this. Their employment options for this position are limited, so the should stick with your company.
Underqualified candidates have less leverage in negotiations than qualified candidates. If you accept the premise that an underqualified candidate could be a good hire, then lower pay is a definite upside.
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