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Competition to find the best candidates for open positions has gotten fierce now that the economy is back to full strength.  But you don’t have to settle for limited choices.  Sometimes, the best candidate for the job is the one who doesn’t have experience in this particular position.

How can you tell when an inexperienced candidate is right for the job?  Ask the following questions:

Does the candidate demonstrate a passion for learning?

One major benefit to hiring an inexperienced candidate is you begin with a “blank slate.”  The candidate doesn’t arrive with preconceived notions about how the job should be done.  They’re ready to learn how you want it done.

To ensure you get the candidate who can learn best, look for one that demonstrates a passion and internal drive for learning.  For instance, look for candidates who are taking certification classes on their own, or who took advantage of a gap between jobs to go back to school.  During the interview, ask about a time the candidate had to learn a new skill or task “on the fly” to gauge how they handle real-world learning situations.

Is this position the natural “next step” on the candidate’s chosen career ladder?

If you are considering a candidate for a management position, ask whether the position involves managing the same positions the candidate currently holds or has held in the recent past.  A candidate who has done the “front line” work and who demonstrates other essential managerial qualities, like the ability to resolve conflicts and see the big picture, may be great leadership material – even if he or she is not currently holding a leadership role.

Also, ask the candidate about their career goals.  If this position is essential to the candidate’s coherent vision, chances are good they have thought through the increased responsibility and have a plan to address it.

How strong are the candidate’s soft skills?

Which transferable or “soft” skills are essential to the position?  For example, managers need strong communication and conflict resolution skills, the ability to manage multiple details, and confidence in their ability to make decisions on limited information.  Assess which soft skills are essential to the position, and review the candidate’s skills in these areas.

Does the candidate offer a good cultural fit with the rest of the team?

Ask the candidate questions like “How would you describe your ideal boss?” or “Tell me about a time you had a personality conflict at work.”  Questions like these will help you gauge whether the candidate’s personality and work approach fit with the rest of the team – an essential quality, and one that strongly predicts job success even when specific experience is lacking.

At ExecuTeam, our experienced recruiters can help you find the right candidate for every position, so you can boost productivity and reach your business goals.  Contact us today to learn more about our staffing solutions in Houston and the Gulf Coast Region.

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