Hiring Experience or Giving Opportunity?

As I work with clients to improve workforce performance during a period of very low unemployment locally I find that Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experience, and Behaviors (KSAEB) have become more important than before. The possession of those attributes become more important to businesses success and hiring those who do not possess the right combination of those diminishes workforce performance, business profitability, and shareholder value. So why would a business hire someone with less KSAEB as opposed to hiring someone with more KSAEB? Is giving an inexperienced worker a growth opportunity more important than maximizing performance, profit and shareholder value? Is the lower wage they require a better choice? Is giving a growth opportunity better than hiring experience?

A recent post on LinkedIn lamented about the opportunities available to younger less experienced workers, that businesses were shying away from them while looking for the perfect candidate. They felt that the only candidate was one who was willing to learn, wanted to make more money for themselves, was in need of a “stretch” opportunity and their career was moving forward. Admittedly those are good things to seek in a worker, but, how does that help your business achieve its strategic objectives? More simply, how does it help your business increase workforce productivity, increase profit, and increase shareholder value?

Here in Northeast Wisconsin, we are enjoying a 3% unemployment rate. I have clients turning down work because they cannot find talent to do it. Some businesses are doing previously unthinkable things to help them recruit from what is left in the 3% pool. However, we know that 3% number is not completely accurate. There are many others who have given up the job search, retired and are seeking to reenter the workforce. In every one of these instances are workers with the Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Experience, and Behaviors businesses need to succeed. These are workers who, because they have those KSAEB’scan work more efficiently, produce more because of that efficiency, perform with less error and fewer mistakes, and equally important can show other how to do it. Statistically, they have better attendance records and fewer disciplinary issues. Some are still wanting to grow a career, some wish to downsize a career while others only want to work part-time. Yet, almost no one is hiring them. They are ignored, rejected or not considered. I have had individuals tell me of literally hundreds of rejections because they were over experienced. Some are because they had more experience than those above them and they would be viewed as a job security threat or the disingenuously masked age discrimination.


Truly, the so-called labor shortage is a myth if you manage your talent processes appropriately. The real issue is how a business chooses the market it selects its employees from, who they consider viable, the flexibility in their scheduling and the sincere desire for success.

You can remedy your workforce needs by selecting those who will drive your business to success and as a result, more than pay for their working in your business through increased performance, productivity, and profitability.

Here are some simple steps to do that. Focus on:

  • Leadership and workforce behaviors – is your leadership focused on results and are they hiring for the necessary KSAEB’s or are they hiring inexpensive labor?
  • Workforce skills and competencies – Has your business identified the key KSAEB’s for success or are you simply looking for what ever the person who did the job before could do? Having the right skills doesn’t come from hiring the least expensive any more than it requires breaking the bank in your company to hire extraordinary high priced talent.
  • Workforce values and culture – Are you driving strong workforce values and culture by recognizing and rewarding the value added of those with high KSAEB’s?

What those three things will bring to your business is a highly skilled worker with years of experience, perhaps even more than you have, working on the day to day issues your business faces. They will be happy to contribute on a broader scale than they ever have before. They may cost you a few dollars more but are able to bring 3, 4, 5 times or more what you pay them into the business by increased sales and profit. Now, imagine the reputation your business gains from performing those 3 things well and how the right kind of people now want to not only work for you but remain and work for you; regardless of what any of your competition is doing. If the people you select have the right mindset for your business, you’ll never have to worry about labor issues again, but your competition will. You’ve disproven the worker shortage, differentiated your business and driven away the competition with a superior workforce. Success is now yours.