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Hiring for any job is not easy. It might seem as though the difficulty is on behalf of the interviewee hoping to convince management to give them a chance, but anyone working in recruitment can tell you that hiring decisions can sometimes backfire, and as a result, attention to detail and a clear ability to read people is essential.

Moreover, sometimes the most experienced, or even most qualified person is not the right person for that particular job role. The metrics do matter of course, but sometimes you may have a role you’re struggling to fill, and as such, you may begin considering other possibilities.

In this post, then, we’ll discuss how to see potential and possibility within an under-experienced candidate you’re considering. It may be that you’re hiring straight from a graduate program, or a professional from an adjacent industry with transferable skills. Regardless, you’re no doubt looking for results that offer longevity. In this post, we’ll discuss how to achieve the best route forward and more:

Leadership Qualities

These 6 leadership traits often show the beginnings of someone able to think clearly, come up with ideas, collaborate, communicate, delegate, and take responsibility where appropriate. An individual like this is a natural leader, often willing to put a foot forward where others might not or take risks in pursuit of novel ideas or a clearer path toward the goal. You can sometimes see examples of this in past extracurricular experience (such as their academic record), their roles on sports teams, or if they’ve been a self-starter, such as fundraising for a cause they care about. Leadership qualities are less common than you think, and so developing someone who holds them can be truly special.

Response To Failure & Challenge

Everyone goes through challenges and occasionally failure too. Shrugging that off and Moving forward is important, as is not taking that failure personally, but also taking responsibility where appropriate. Asking candidates about a time they failed to achieve a goal can help you gauge how candid their response is, and if they take failure as a personal affront instead of a basic stepping stone in life. If they regard it as the latter, they have a healthy outlook and understand growth.

Motivating Factors

A personal touch often helps. It can be important to learn exactly why someone wishes to work in your field, for your company or service, or dedicate themselves to the public body that you run. Of course, a job is a job, but if they have a personal appreciation for the service, care for the culture or history of the institution (and its requisite knowledge), as well as the development of its future, then that showcases a real, pensive understanding of what your operation is, and how it might develop in the future. That kind of enthusiasm can be just as important as a year of experience because all topics will be focused on,  all opportunities will be grabbed, and all questions will be asked during their on-the-job training.

With this advice, you’re sure to see the further potential even in under-experienced job candidates.

Originally Published on

Michael D. Levitt Chief Burnout Officer

Michael D. Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout consulting firm. He is a Keynote speaker on The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Burnout. He is the host of the Breakfast Leadership show, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of his latest book BURNOUT PROOF.