The Pros and Cons of Hiring Experience vs Unexperienced

By: Shane Cotner

When it comes to filling an open position on your sales team, the obvious choice is generally the more experienced candidate. They come with an established history, work record, and, most importantly, a vast knowledge of sales. However, sometimes we find ourselves drawn to a candidate who has little to no sales experience. As you look to fill an open position in your company, consider these pros and cons of hiring the candidate with little sales experience.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Sometimes, inexperienced candidates have a greater tendency towards thinking outside the box. Candidates who have worked in their field for a long time often come with set habits. They are more likely to fall back on tried-and-true methods which may make them resistant to change. Because of this, I’ve found that clients sometimes prefer the greener candidate. These candidates are fresh and ready to go. They’re a blank page, not a bad habit or set way in sight. They can be molded into a company’s ideal sales representative.

Of course, no bad habits also means no good habits. When someone hires green, they will have to commit a significant amount of resources towards that new hire’s training. This sales rep will not only need to be taught about the specific corporate culture they’re entering, but the ins and outs of the field as a whole. It will take time, money, and manpower. I recommend clients sit down and take a long look at their current situation and make an honest evaluation: do they have a proper training program or the resources in place needed to support green candidates?

Show Me the Money

Experienced candidates come with a higher price tag. It makes sense. After all, you’re not just hiring a person. You’re also hiring their book of business, their knowledge, and their experience. Experienced candidates know what they’re worth—they’re also ready to dive headfirst into your company. This kind of know-how and preparedness means that they’ll expect to begin at a higher salary. A green candidate will fall lower on the salary spectrum as they are only just beginning to build their career as a sales representative.

However: green candidates cost significantly more up front. They will require training programs, consistent mentorship, and a significant amount of hand-holding until they find their footing. This kind of training cannot be rushed, and will often cost more money than a client is anticipating—especially when compared to a candidate ready to wade straight into the thick of things.

Risky Business

Inexperienced sales reps are often more likely to take a leap of faith than their more experienced counterparts. Green hires are generally more willing to leave their comfort zone—after all, the majority of their responsibilities exist outside of their comfort zone anyway. When everything is new and feels like a possible risk, they are more likely to confront new challenges with little fear.

An experienced sales rep, on the other hand, may proceed with more caution. Their inexperienced counterparts are playing the game while still learning the rules, and thus are more likely to have a misstep that could lead to negative consequences down the road. This lack of knowledge and know-how can lead to a high turnover rate, impacting the stability of a corporate culture. A more experienced sales rep not only knows what they’re getting into, but understands the likelihood of a risky choice paying off.

Looking to find the right fit for your team? Contact Grapevine Recruiting at (952)856-2371, or visit the contact page at our website.