How small companies can spot quality talent

How much experience does a candidate need before they’re qualified and successful for a role? It’s another one of hiring land’s ambiguous questions, but irrespective of the time people need to prosper in their roles (or more importantly, yours!), here are some key indicators that you’re onto big, top talent when hiring. And to be clear, it’s not all about experience.

Your candidate accepts that failing is ok

Failing is an inherent part of learning, and employees who know that are likely to get on board with big projects to flex their skill and capacity, even if there’s a few stumbles on the way. Furthermore, if a candidate can confidently speak of occasions where a project hasn’t gone perfectly to plan, but explain how they got it back on track or what they learned from the experience, you’re also dealing with a mature and self-aware candidate. It’s skills like these that are desirable for any role.

They’ve had exposure to senior members of an organisation

A candidate who has worked, in some capacity, with influential members of a company or the organisation’s management is clearly driven. They will likely have a development plan in place and be eager to pursue it, getting to know all the key players along the way. From these experiences, they’ve also likely learned effective ways of working both independently and in teams, and how to get ideas off the ground.

Encountering these diligent candidates is a reason for you to offer current employees the opportunity to work with other more senior members of the business. The open culture and dynamism that will be created as a result will benefit both parties, and may be the birthplace for great new plans and projects.

Your candidate has a history of taking on challenging tasks and projects, significantly above what is required of their position

They’re confident, like to be challenged, and are trusted with important projects and people, and they succeeded at them. This element speaks for itself.

So how should you approach these candidates?

Think about it, if the best talent is always on the move, then they’ll also always have reduced long-term experience in specific positions. So, approach limited experience with patience and consideration, remembering that experience is not explicitly indicative of quality or capability.

When meeting these candidates, talk about the 'what’s to come', as opposed to dated successes or tired mentions of 'experience required'. Focusing on what projects are in the pipeline and what the future holds for the company means that candidates will likely offer up related information too.

Everyone will require different levels or experience to excel in their positions; some more, some less. Chances are the people who require the least experience will always be the fast learners, the healthy risk takers and the success stories. And best of all, it’s a great opportunity for that small pond of yours to get the big fish.
  • About the author
  • Social networks
  • Other posts

About the author

Sarah Beck


Head of Executive Search

Sarah Beck leads the recruitment activities of SEEK focussing on the difficult-to-recruit roles, along with talent and succession planning. Prior to SEEK, Sarah spent 14 years with Russell Reynolds Associates – a global executive and assessment...

Social networks

Connect with Sarah Beck

Other posts

Leave a reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Fields marked * are required.