Benefits of Hiring a Candidate with Limited or No Experience

Is hiring a candidate with less or no experience a good idea? Amidst the pandemic induced talent -crunch one could argue that hiring a candidate who can knows how to handle the pressure, the workload, in other words, a candidate who has some experience sounds like a good idea. After all, it takes some wisdom of experience to cultivate that adaptability, that attitude of anything-can-be-figured-out. On the other hand, the talent-crunch also means that companies could be looking for people desperately and amidst it all, hiring a candidate with no or limited experience might be one of the few options they have and could feel like a gamble. Companies, managers might be hiring such candidates reluctantly, and/or might be having major doubts about their competence, preparing themselves for the worst.

Turns out, companies can heave a sigh of relief, because hiring candidates who have limited or no experience has its own set of benefits, as these two articles by CiivSoft and Millennial Magazine point out. Let us quickly have a look!

A Blank Slate:

Candidates with no or limited experience are much more receptive to new ideas. Their lack of experience means they will be eager to learn and get some of that experience. They could prove to be excellent persons to be mentored. Be it learning a new skill, or cultivating a certain work ethic, they are the ones who could be the starting points of the establishing a company-culture you desire as a manager, or as team-leaders.

They are determined to prove themselves, and hence are likely to be much more proactive and hard-working.

Best of Both Worlds:

Some of the candidates with limited experience may have done internships. Or they may have a good hold on the ‘theory’, for example, they might have recently finished their education, leading to a freshness of relevant concepts in their minds. In other words, they would have acquired the relevant skills and knowledge and they would be itching to apply those to practical, real-world use. What’s more, their skills and knowledge might actually be more updated when compared to those of the older more experienced candidates.

The combination of fresh skills and knowledge, coupled with an eagerness to apply is a recipe for getting fresh perspectives and approaches.

Practical Considerations:

Beyond all the considerations about skills, competence, fresh perspectives and approaches, lie the practicality of hiring a candidate with limited or no experience. A candidate with more experience will demand more salary, because they will have the credentials to do so and naturally, the cost of hiring them would be more.

A candidate with less or no experience would be motivated by finding a job in the first place, and they might actually not demand a high salary. Their motivation is to learn and gain experience; the motivation of an experienced candidate is to get a better job, a better pay. (We will go into the nuances of this in our coming articles. Watch this space!)

Of course, it is to be noted that this does not mean that companies should use that as an excuse to exploit the lack of experience through unfair compensation.

What does this mean for the candidate with no or limited experience?

 Well, apply! Apply without worrying whether you have the necessary experience or not. As long as one is willing to learn, adapt, it is never a bad idea to dream big!

Hiring a candidate with limited or no experience can work well for the company in terms of offering fresh perspectives, of moulding the company- culture in the desired direction, of mentoring the workforce of and for the future. Hiring a determined young lad now could prove to be a springboard for a future leader.

Talent Crunch? Silver-Medal Candidates to the Rescue!

Companies have been facing challenges when it comes to finding and hiring talent. Post the pandemic and the WFH scenario, coupled with the Great Resignation, many people, especially the younger generation, often referred to as the Millennials and Gen-Z, have chosen to not ‘go back’ to the office. They prefer jobs which offer options to work remotely and/or have flexible working hours. Moreover, the Great Resignation also saw people resigning as a way to pursue what they really wanted to do. Such factors have resulted in companies facing acute shortages of talent.

What does this mean for companies and people who are actually looking for jobs? It means a massive opportunity for and from the silver-medal candidate.

Let us quickly have a look at what this means.

Who is a silver-medal candidate?

Silver-medal candidates are the ones who made through the various rounds of interviews but didn’t land the final job. They are the ones who just didn’t make it due to a variety of reasons.

Why to think about a silver-medal candidate?

In a culture of cut-throat competition, one often forgets about the second place. A second preference, a second opinion is sometimes reduced in value and hence ignored completely. An attitude like that could actually go against finding and retaining talent. Based on what an article by Business Chief points out, let us have a look at why silver-medal candidates shouldn’t be forgotten about, and that it is necessary to optimise the ATS to keep their records handy. Whether it is keeping the silver-medal candidates in touch via emails about relevant openings for them, to simply keeping them engaged in any other way, not ignoring silver-medal candidates goes a long way. Let us see how.

  • Saves Time: One reason why companies should not ignore silver-medal candidates is the interest and already established engagement. The fact that they had applied earlier means that they were interested in the company at some point and they could be still interested. This means the talent-finding process need not be started from the scratch and one can just simply scan the ATS again and find the required resume and details. This obviously can save a lot of time and resources that goes with creating and advertising job postings. This takes us to the next point.
  • Familiarity: Silver-medal candidates are already familiar with what the company has to offer, they have already done their research, they already know the process. They could also have had established a certain rapport with the interviewing panel and the HR. They are also more likely to respond. All they need to know is what the new opportunity is and one might speed up to the negotiation process instead of trying to figure out if the candidate is actually interested in the job or are they simply appearing for the interview for the ‘experience.’
  • They Might Have Got Better Now: A silver-medal candidate almost landed the job earlier, which means they were the runners-up. A look at the Olympic podiums shows that even though gold is considered the best, the silver and the bronze very much mean that the athlete is at a high skill-level, almost as good as the gold, as an article by Herefish points it out.

The silver-medal candidate had the skills and the competence already and they just about didn’t stand first earlier but that there are skills and competence is a given. Chances are that over the period from the previous job opening to what we have now, the silver-medal candidate might have in fact improved on their skills and qualifications.

  • Reflects Well on the Organisation: Companies often tell once the process is over that they will reach out to the candidates if a new opportunity arises, but they rarely do. By actually reaching out to silver-medal candidates, companies can improve what the article by Business Insider calls ‘employer brand’ in a more positive manner. Even if the candidate may not be interested at the moment, the fact that the company remembered them and reached out to them stands out, and at the very least is likely to make them feel valued and recognised. This is in turn likely to create  ‘positive buzz’ around the company, a good word of mouth, attracting talent.

What does this mean for the candidate?

For the candidates, it means one important thing- do not lose hope if you didn’t get that job! Whether one gets the job or not, a cordial parting ‘thank you’ email, letting the company know that they’d be interested in any other new opportunities could go a long way. Going through the interview process but not getting hired is not time wasted. There are multiple reasons why one might not have got the job, but that doesn’t mean one should stop learning new skills, improving on what they have and give up on the idea of unexpected opportunities!

Amidst the Great Resignation, the emerging post-pandemic work culture and the resulting talent shortages, companies could benefit a great deal from keeping the communication-lines open with those silver-medal candidates who had the skills and the competence but just about didn’t make the final. It saves time and resources for the company, and it could be a beacon of hope for someone in need!

Explaining the Pandemic Gap in Your Resume

In our earlier articles, we have charted out ways of hunting for a job during the pandemic, or onboarding yourself when you have been hired and there are limitations with the said process. Realistically speaking, many of us also had to leave our jobs. Many of us might still be on a look out! Worries might be creeping in about explaining the gap in our resume. Circumstances hit us and we had to remain unemployed and maybe we still are.

The unfair situation might be daunting. One might find wondering things like:

  • How can I explain the employment gap in my resume?
  • What to do if this gap keeps getting longer?
  • How do I make sure they know the gap doesn’t overshadow my skillset and competence?

Addressing these questions, let us delve into what one can do about explaining the gap year in the resume.

Be Honest about the gap:

The number one tip is to be honest about it. It might be tempting to cover it up or say something else about the gap. That is a not a good idea.

A lot of people have been affected by the pandemic when it comes to employment, and everyone knows it. Potential employers, hiring managers will understand your situation and it is best the gap caused as a result of the pandemic is made known.

One can add a little note or a small section in the resume letting the readers know the time period of the gap and that the pandemic was the reason of the gap. One can also add a similar line in the cover-letter. 

This brings us to the next point.

Highlighting the Brighter things:

The revelation has been made but how does one make sure that the gap doesn’t simply end up defining the resume?

The key is to making sure your skills, capabilities and certifications are up to date. If you took up some kind of online L&D while being indoors, add it! If you imparted your own L&D in some way, add it! If you attended any webinars, online workshops, training programs, add, add, add!

If the situation didn’t allow you to engage in much L&D then and you can do it now, go ahead and start, and add what you have started, mentioning the ongoing status.

If still your situation doesn’t let you have access to online L&D, make sure your skills and prior experience section are up to date and that you aren’t missing out on anything. You can still update bits about the soft-skills. Note that while additional L&D while staying stuck inside would be a bonus, it is still fine if you were not able to do any of that. Again, remember that potential employers will understand. But wait, we aren’t done yet!

Contacts and References:

Now is the time to use your references well. Talk to your mentors and seniors and ask them if they would be fine to be listed as your references. Potential employers will understand the gap in your resume and they might get in touch with your references. In the absence of recent work experience, a sense of how you are as a learner, how you approach and handle responsibilities will be a good anchor for the potential employers, which they can get from your references.

Make sure you tell the people listed in your references about job-seeking efforts and what you have been up to lately and how you have handled your situation. Keeping this bit about what you have done lately and how you have been handling the job-seeking is also a good thing to bring up during the interview.

And finally, even if you haven’t landed an interview yet, hang on and know that a ton of people all over the world are in the same boat. Keep up the fighting spirit and use the challenging situation to learn, adapt, and persevere more. Remember to keep developing yourself under pressure in whatever way possible, remember to be antifragile!

Experts Talk: All about Working in Africa

working in Africa, working in the African continent

When it comes to working abroad and working in a different culture, there are a whole lot of misconceptions and myths that we carry. On a Mentza discussion on Global Careers hosted by AK Achyut Menon, our recruitment expert from UHR, Nisha Kapoor along with a fellow expert from Africa Tinashe Hove talked about the nitty-gritties of working in the African continent and in the process also dispelled some myths. Below are some key pointers.

So, without further ado let us see what it means to work in the African continent!

Dispelling the Myths:

First things first, Africa is a big continent, with around fifty-four countries, all having a different culture and language. A lot of us think of Africa as a whole country, some even thinking about whole of Africa as South Africa!

Each country has a different set of customs and work culture. The differences can be seen even in the duration of work permits and what each country is seeking to build. We shall take a special look into this aspect later. Continuing on the myths and misconceptions, one more myth that surrounds the African continent is that one perceives it to be a place with poor infrastructure. The countries in Africa have not only great roads but also flyovers crisscrossing. There are rich reservoirs of mineral resources, toll-roads, solar projects to work on. What’s more, over the last few decades, many Indian telecom companies have also been making headways into the continent, all in turn building upon the infrastructure.

Now that the image of the African continent is in place, let us take a look at the opportunities one can encounter!

Opportunities and Industries:

Africa is a continent where one can work across the vertical and horizontal levels. Unlike some countries, the hierarchy is a lot more flexible and one can achieve a high post in a relatively less time, provided the right skills and competence. One can directly access the decision-makers, the owners and the managing directors, proving one’s mettle and keep growing. Again, differing from some countries, where one often finds oneself departmentalised in hierarchies and waiting for promotions, the African continent provides a large canvas with its flexible systems.

It’s a bonus if you are someone who is an expert in the industry and has had experience – African companies put a lot of importance in expertise which can be passed on to through training and experience.

What’s more, the warm and friendly nature of the locals, the multicultural workplace environment, the salaries in US dollars for expats, a respect for expertise, experience and competence, all this makes a wonderful experience. There have been candidates who were so happy working there that they wanted to keep extending their contracts!

Let us take a look at some more peculiarities exclusive to the African continent.

More About Africa:

From manufacturing, IT and non-IT, engineering, the African industrial landscape has a lot to offer. There has been a push towards the entrepreneurial spirit what with one of the youngest set of populations now seen in the continent with an economy for the future. Jobs are being created by emerging as well as established businesses and micro-businesses, all looking to develop further.

Students who are studying in the various African countries have an even greater advantage here- they can interact with their lecturers and other professionals, start networking and create a job for themselves even before a need for the job arises! The older, experienced candidates obviously have their expertise and digital networks to bank on.

Each country in the African continent has a certain need for further development- a Google search for the work-seekers permit would give us a list of the skills each country is on a lookout for. Coupled with this research about what expertise is needed particularly, and a visit to explore the culture and the place should help the individual looking to work in Africa get a sense of what it would be like living and working in this environment. And many happy candidates who were placed as heads-of-department at many of the industries in the African continent, now having risen to GM/MD levels would have a lot to talk about the importance of getting the right consultation!

Professional Lessons to learn from Diwali Festivities

Diwali image 1

 

As many of us know, Diwali is not just about a day. The festivities and the rituals begin right from Dhanteras, and go on for days till Bhai Dooj.

Now, here are some professional lessons to be learnt from the five days. Don’t worry, we are not asking you to work during the holiday season, but the following lessons can always be implemented after you come refreshed from a Diwali break.

 Dhanteras:

This day, the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month Kartik, is associated with cleansing and purchasing.

The day gives us lessons about the importance of getting rid of chaos and old clutter , and thus make space for order, novelty and freshness.

In the office space, it is similarly necessary to get rid of old, obsolete technology, and be up to date with the emerging trends. Plus, it is a great idea to keep the work station clean, tidy and ordered. There is known to be a positive correlation between work efficiency and a well-lithygienicpeaceful work environment with minimal disturbances.

 

 Chhoti Diwali:

The fourteenth day of the fortnight is associated with preparation of sweets using various ingredients like flour, semolina, dry fruits, milk solids, etc.

Remember how the various sweets are not simply “sweet”, but the taste of the main ingredient always lingers? Be it milk, cashews, almonds, pistachios, there is an instant recognition.

It would do us good if we keep this in mind: it is necessary to retain one’s essence to gain recognition.

For example, an HR manager of any company, would much prefer a candidate who is honest  and transparent as opposed to someone who is showy (flamboyant) and ingratiating.

Sooner or later, the inner qualities of that candidate would be recognised, like the main ingredient of the “sweet.”

 

Diwali:

Here comes the festival of lights! There is sound, there is colour, there are feasts, there are Pujas performed, there is celebration everywhere! The young people visit and take blessing from the elders. Oh, and there are diyas, rangolis!

In the professional lingo, this teaches us the importance of good networkingbonding, the importance of mentors. It tells a lot about the power of one small diya. About the power of one single colour to add that missing touch in a rangoli. Sometimes, a rangoli remains incomplete without that one colour. Team work is the Key.

A line of diyas has the capability to light up an entire place. Collaboration, not competition is the way to go.

 

Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj:

Govardhan Puja is celebrated to mark the feat of Shri Krishna when he lifted up a mountain to save cowherds and farmers from incessant rains. Some regions celebrate this day as a New Year, and some as the Annakut, literally mountain of sweets. Some celebrate the bond between husband and wife.

Bhai Dooj celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, here, the sister acting as a protector of the brother.

Anyhow, the two days teach us a lot about the importance of being supportive to our colleagues, especially in the time of crisis.

Taking responsibility, having empathy, handling interpersonal relationships effectively are some of the lessons we can take with us. It tells us about the importance to have Emotional Intelligence. In short, the importance of taking leadership in little things.

Emotional Intelligence could be used in handling meetings, negative feedback or appraisal, client relations, empowering your colleagues, etc.

Diwali festivities not only give us good times, but good lessons which could be applied in a professional setting.

Delving into meanings of festivals and traditions, could help us a great deal to understand the values and their timelessness.

Happy Diwali!