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Hire Someone With No Experience

If your company has plenty of hiring resources you have my permission to skip this post. But, if your operation runs on a shoestring, this may be the ideal time to get a a cheap (read free) but talented hire.

The key: look for someone with no experience.

I began to think of this idea as I read Larry Stybel's blog post on Harvard Business Publishing, How to Get a Job Without Experience. His counsel is pretty much what you would expect: find a company with a great idea and no money, offer your services for free but be specific about what you want in return (a title, perhaps), and have an end date in mind.

All great advice. But I wondered, if there are talented job seekers out there who are looking for opportunities such as Larry outlines, shouldn't companies be actively looking for these people?

If we turn Larry's reasoning around a bit, here's what you do.

  • Advertise your "no experience required" position, but be specific about what kinds of skills are required.
  • Be up front about what you pay: nothing. But let applicants know you can reward them with other things, such as introductions to business associates or promise of a job when you are ready to hire.
  • Emphasize the limited time requirement. Maybe its one or two days a week, 15 hours a month, whatever. Applicants must still have time to look for full-time work even as they earn the experience they want at your shop.
Obviously you won't be hiring a staff surgeon on this plan. But you might find yourself someone quite a few notches above intern to work in marketing or other areas where hustle and smarts can overcome lack of experience.

Is this a crazy idea? Have you ever hired a no experience candidate? How'd that work out for you?