Hiring Underqualified Staff – The Pros and Cons

The other day, we had a look at the benefits and drawbacks to hiring overqualified staff for your company. But in this piece we’re going to flip it around and look at both sides of the fence when it comes to hiring candidates who are underqualified for the role that’s being offered. Although it may not seem like one of the obvious recruiting strategies out there, there can be some real benefits to the practice- as well as the obvious downsides.

The Pros

Eager to learn and impress: New employees who are lacking the skills or experience required for the role are more likely to be grateful for the opportunity that’s been afforded to them- meaning they will be really eager to both learn and impress on the job. Sometimes, there’s no substitute for having an enthusiastic, motivated employee on board.

Loyal: Similarly, a staff member who has been shunned from various other companies for a lack of experience or qualifications will be very loyal to the firm that does eventually decide to hire them- despite being underqualified. And with all of the associated costs involved in replacing staff, having a high retention rate is more important than ever.

Lower salary: It’s a more than acceptable practice to offer salaries based on experience- and this is where you can really start to feel the benefits of hiring underqualified staff. By starting them off on a lower salary, you’ve already hugely reduced the risks involved in hiring them in the first place, whilst if they perform on the job then you can reward them suitably with a higher salary.

The Cons

Lack of skills/experience: The obvious one! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point this out, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Clearly hiring underqualified staff has its benefits, but don’t expect them to come armed with all of the skills and experience required for the role. If you want someone to come in and hit the ground running, then this probably isn’t the answer.

Time taken to train: If you do elect to go for an underqualified candidate, then their lack of skills will take time to improve upon. Whilst this means extra time and effort in getting the new hire up to speed, the long-term rewards could outweigh the initial costs.

Underqualified staff only work in some industries: Whilst hiring an underqualified candidate needn’t be a huge problem in a lot of industries, it’s worth remembering that the same doesn’t apply to every job. If the NHS went around hiring underqualified doctors with the intention of training them up then we would certainly have cause for concern!

Although hiring underqualified staff purposefully could be a rewarding strategy, if you want to avoid it all together then it might be worth using the recruiting services of an online recruitment agency. That way, a team of recruitment specialists can produce a web-enhanced advert written to your specifications before screening any applicants for the role: making sure you only interview the candidates who are suitably qualified for the role.