Like every industry that is based around people, recruitment has its share of issues and challenges. Ageism in the hiring process is a reality that affects us all, candidates and employers, and to which every recruiter has been confronted. “He’s too young, he won’t be reliable! She’s too old, she’ll want to retire!” Although these generalities are coming from a place of good intentions (choosing what is best for the business), more often than not, these fears are simply depriving companies of amazing people with indispensable qualities.
At Proforce, we meet every day fantastic candidates of all ages. Because we hope this can resolve some insecurities that employers may have about junior and senior employees, or help these candidates find arguments to better sell themselves, we decided to paint a concrete portrait of what it can be like to hire from these age groups. In this first part, let’s explore what can be the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a junior employee. *
* Beware of stereotypes! The ideas presented here obviously do not represent all the younger employees and are only based on our own research and observations.
The pros of hiring a junior employee
Productivity. Often very enthusiastic and grateful to be given a chance, junior employees show a great desire to prove themselves to their new employer. This results in increased productivity as our newest recruits are eager to take on the challenges we give them.
Open to change. Juniors learn quickly and show great adaptability. They would no doubt be less reluctant to change and be more comfortable in an evolving industry as they have only been working in it for a short time.
Easy to train. Particularly if your company has its own specific processes, hiring less experienced employees is ideal. We can more easily train them to our ways of working because they have not yet assimilated other companies’ processes or had the time to develop their own reflexes.
Innovative ideas. As newbies to our industry, juniors provide a very valuable external perspective that can help to challenge the status quo and bring innovative ideas to the table. Their “ignorance” of the good old ways can be very useful and a competitive asset.
Optimistic attitude. As they do not have much experience (therefore, not many negative experiences), the juniors are very optimistic employees. It’s a quality that is very important in many contexts and beneficial to the morale and motivation of a company.
Affordable salary. Since they have less experience, their salary expectations are lower than more experienced employees. The cost of employing a junior being more advantageous, it is then easier to reward their good work with performance bonus, raises, etc.
Flexibilities around the schedule. Junior employees may be more willing to engage in a job that requires overtime or that has a non-standard schedule (such as an evening/night job) because they may not have as many personal obligations yet (example: family).
Skilled with technologies. If before, being proficient with the Office suite was a skill worth mentioning on your resume, nowadays, it’s almost certain that all young professionals have already had to use these platforms in their schooling. Having grown up surrounded by evolving technologies, younger employees are not only familiar with a lot of software/tools, but also have a technological instinct that makes adopting new technologies easier.
Culture ambassadors. Junior employees will be good ambassadors of your employer culture. Since they value happiness in the workplace, they will be willing to get involved in initiatives that contribute to this idea (team building activity, 5 @ 7, office party, etc.).
Cons of hiring a junior employee
Higher turnover rate among young workers. As they are still building themselves as professionals, juniors do not necessarily yet know what best suits them in terms of employment, workplace, conditions. They tend to change jobs more often as they need to try and find out what’s right for them. Since their experience is still limited, they are less afraid of starting over in a new company or industry.
More difficulty coping with the pressure. Since they do not yet have many professional successes under their belts, junior employees may lack confidence when faced with problems. Since they have fewer past experiences to compare with, new challenging situations can destabilize them.
Less accustomed to the corporate culture. Young workers may more often lack judgment in the way they behave around the office. Many are hearing for the first time about some of the legal policies or common workplace practices that may seem obvious, but aren’t necessarily for someone who has never worked in an office.
Difficulty to accept criticism. As they are just starting out their careers, young people will need more coaching. However, they are not used to receiving negative feedback so it can be quite difficult for them at first. They may also lack confidence in their work as they have less experience, which can also contribute to making them feel insecure when they are given feedback.
Require more training and coaching. Before hiring a junior employee, we need to be sure we have the resources and the structure in place to lead our new recruit to success. One can think of setting up a mentoring program, offering training and continuing education opportunities, setting accurate and attainable KPIs, etc.
“Clash” between generations in the ways of working. Times are changing! Young workers are focused on efficiency and don’t value presenteeism. Although these are beautiful modern values on paper, it can often give the impression to their managers that they do not want to put the efforts. We must think about evaluating our management team when hiring junior employees!
As stated in the beginning, these ideas are obviously only generalities. We must always take the time to evaluate each candidate that we meet as unique individuals. We hope that this article can help employers clarify and recognize their needs, and see how junior employees could be great assets in their business!