When do you hire for job experience vs. raw talent?

The American CEO

I’ve been discussing the top traits I look for in job candidates – creative initiative, exceptionalism, motivation and value– but a vital and vexing question for most hiring managers is whether to hire for job experience vs. raw talent. Here’s my rule of thumb for any given position: If you are hiring someone to do something that the organization already knows how to do, then you should focus on raw talent.

Often when you are hiring, you are just adding another person to an existing function. For instance, you need another software developer to join a team of eight, and there is already a clear process and workflow in place for how their job is to be done. In a case like this, look for the most productive and talented person you can find without much consideration for experience.

It is important with these hires – even though you…

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