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Hiring people without work experience

Arielle Gordis 9 min read
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Workplace trends

Last month, the U.S. lost 4.1 million days of work to strikes

American workers are striking at the highest rate in nearly a quarter-century. In fact, last month, strikes resulted in over four million missed days of work, according to the Labor Department, which is the biggest monthly total since August of 2000. The recent surge has been fueled in part by Hollywood actors who joined striking writers as well as the United Auto Workers strike. Experts explain that while the individual reason for each strike varies, they’re all occurring as workers, who are still in high demand, gain more leverage in the labor market. With greater power to negotiate with their employers than they had pre-pandemic and a stronger sense of empowerment, even despite a recent downtick in job openings, employees feel well-positioned to demand more.

Western business confidence in China in plummeting

With tensions between Beijing and the West continuing to deteriorate, U.S. and European companies are painting a bleak picture over doing business in China. Between a deepening economic slump, increasing data-security demands on foreign companies, and crackdowns on firms engaged in corporate due diligence, it’s become significantly more difficult for Western companies to conduct business there. Many of the corporations with deep roots in China are growing increasingly pessimistic that the country’s long-awaited post pandemic boom will actually materialize. And with the red lines regarding what is allowed and what will be censored still blurry, a number of businesses have reevaluated their basic assumptions and optimism about the Chinese market’s profitability.

The AI corner

Google is giving its AI chatbot more capabilities

Since its launch, Google’s AI chatbot Bard has not received as much attention as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. In fact, in August, ChatGPT had nearly 1.5 billion desktop and mobile web visits, which is more than three times as many as Google’s A.I. tool and other competitors, according to Similarweb. However, Google hasn’t given up – last week it unveiled a plan to leapfrog ChatGPT by connecting Bard to its most popular consumer services, such as Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube. With these new features, known as Bard Extensions, Google is hopeful that its chatbot will gain more widespread adoption as it gets closer to becoming more of a personalized assistant for users. The new features would allow users to ask which emails it missed and what the most important points of a document are.

Prominent authors are suing OpenAI

More than a dozen authors, including best-selling novelists John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand, are suing OpenAI for infringing on their copyrights through the use of their books to train its popular ChatGPT chatbot. OpenAI does not publicly declare which works it uses to train its models, but the complaint notes that the company has admitted to using copyrighted material. The complaint also says that OpenAI’s ChatGPT is capable of producing summaries of books that include details that are not available in public reviews or elsewhere online, indicating that the underlying program was fed the books in their entirety. Additionally, the authors claim that the success and profitability of OpenAI is predicated on mass copyright infringement without fairly notifying or compensating the copyright owners.

Hiring people without work experience


As artificial intelligence continues to transform the way we work, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: technical work experience may not be as valuable as it once was. Research is increasingly signaling that social and emotional skills, such as showing empathy and genuinely responding to human reactions, will become the most critical attributes for many jobs  in the future, because these are the qualities that cannot be replicated by machines or AI.

That being said, as companies across industries begin considering headcount plans for 2024, after significant layoffs and resource crunches, these valuable soft skills still seem to be secondary to technical work experience. A recent analysis of close to 4 million jobs posted on LinkedIn in the last few years showed that 35% of postings for entry-level positions asked for prior relevant work experience, and for entry-level software and IT service jobs, 60% of those listings required at least three years of work experience. And even in job listings that call for “0-2 years of experience,” there’s often still an unspoken understanding that it doesn’t really mean zero and that some work experience is expected.

Why is this the case? Typically, when the resume of someone who clearly doesn’t have relevant work experience reaches an HR or hiring manager’s inbox, the first concerns that come to mind are: this applicant does not have a proven track record, this applicant would need a lot of hands-on training, and this applicant might decide to leave for a new opportunity as soon as they gain relevant experience in this role. While those concerns certainly hold some validity, what often gets missed in this type of analysis are all the advantages that come from hiring for potential and the opportunities that present in someone with no experience.

In reality, entry-level roles are usually focused on tactical execution. They involve owning smaller projects and deferring to managers for larger decisions and oversight. So, when you take a step back and really consider the skills necessary to succeed in these roles, technical expertise is often less essential than the ability to learn and communicate, receptiveness to feedback, motivation and dedication, and the potential to grow. Technical and job-performance skills can be taught, which is why soft skills are ultimately what can really set individuals apart.

What are the key benefits of hiring people without experience?

Openness and adaptability

Inexperienced candidates don’t bring past employer baggage with them, which means they’re starting on a clean slate and are more moldable to your organization’s needs. These hires are usually open to contributing to multiple areas of the company in order to discover their greatest strengths and where they can bring the most value. Additionally, their lack of experience makes them more receptive to feedback and less defensive when told to consider a new approach.

Motivation to contribute

Those without job mastery or an impressive track record are often more eager to prove themselves and motivated to deliver. When you take a chance on them, they feel more of a commitment to showing you that you made the right decision. Additionally, their lack of experience helps them provide fresh perspectives and outlooks, enabling them to ask the critical questions that those already immersed in the company or industry may overlook. These inexperienced candidates can also offer creative solutions to problems that those bogged down by years of experience may not think to consider.

Talent diversity

Hiring individuals without technical expertise can also create space to bring more diverse talent into the organization and offer opportunities to those who might not otherwise have had a shot. For example, low-income students who can’t afford flashy, uncompensated summer internships may still have highly relevant skill sets, perspectives, and potential. Hiring for potential and soft skills, rather than experience, would enable this talent to bring great value to a company that’s willing to give them a chance.


While investing in the training and development of inexperienced hires is certainly relevant, the cost is often balanced out by the lower salary expectations of these inexperienced candidates. Additionally, according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn, which is why doing so from the get-go can really help increase loyalty and retention.


So, how can you effectively hire inexperienced workers?

Be prepared

In order to ensure you are well-positioned to teach and guide these non-experienced hires, it’s important to set up a structured training plan for new joiners. Company leadership should make sure to identify strong managers and HR professionals within your organization who have the patience, leadership skills, and know-how to train others, and make sure they are given adequate preemptive training as well.

Create a balanced team

Being open to hiring people with no experience doesn’t mean everyone should be new to the industry or role. It’s important to strike a healthy balance between your zero-experience hires and those who bring relevant expertise to the role in order to maximize the benefits of each and enable them to complement one another.

Build a supportive team

Help your inexperienced employees learn from their teammates so they can get acclimated faster and feel they have others to lean on. Ask your team members with more years under their belts to help guide the less experienced joiners and share their best practices. And at the same time, encourage those experienced team members to ask new joiners to weigh in on strategies and approaches when relevant, because getting fresh perspectives can often prove extremely informative and beneficial.

Adjust your expectations

Make sure you fully understand the impact of a long onboarding and slower ramping-up time, so that you can effectively evaluate if it makes sense for your team at this point in time. While all the benefits mentioned above may be true, it still could be the case that you simply don’t have the bandwidth to offer extra hand holding right now – and that’s okay. Be honest with yourself about what you and your team can take on and what kind of employee will bring the greatest value to the group in order to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Water cooler chatter

A well-preserved dinosaur skeleton known as Barry will be auctioned for ~$1.28 million next month in Paris. The Camptosaurus, which dates from the late Jurassic period some 150 million years ago, was discovered in Wyoming in the 1990s. It was first restored in the year 2000 by Palaeontologist Barry James, whom it was named after.

“It is an extremely well-preserved specimen, which is quite rare. To take the example of its skull, the skull is complete at 90% and the rest of the dinosaur (skeleton) is complete at 80%.”
Alexandre Giquello, President of Drouot Patrimoine

American Airlines was fined more than $4 million for keeping passengers on planes for too long. Authorities said 43 American flights between 2018 and 2021 kept fliers sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours without being able to deplane, which violates federal rules. This fine, levied by the U.S. Transportation Department, is the largest ever for lengthy tarmac delays.

“Whether the issue is extreme tarmac delays or problems getting refunds, DOT will continue to protect consumers and hold airlines accountable.”
Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation Secretary

Question of the week

Last week’s answer: Canada and Japan

This week’s question: How much is the demand for STEM jobs expected to grow by 2030?

Just for laughs

Hiring people without work experience
Arielle is a writer and storyteller currently serving as a content marketing manager at When she’s not busy writing, you can find her walking outside for hours on end or planning her next travel adventure.

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