I recently read an article saying there are two kinds of job candidates: Experienced and Trajectory.
Upon being hired, experienced candidates can jump right in. They have the wisdom of experience and require very little coaching. They also command a higher salary. Trajectory candidates are hired not for their proven track record, but for their potential. They are likely willing to roll up their sleeves to prove themselves.
I would argue that any good team has a solid mix of these two types of candidates. Experienced employees have solid technical knowledge and skills needed for success, along with knowing the culture for the future. Those trajectory hires can provide a blank slate and an eagerness to learn. They can also contribute to a company’s longevity, by ensuring there is a range of ages and life stages in the ranks. After all, those trajectory hires will eventually morph into experienced team members.
In these times, where turnover can be higher than normal and candidates aren’t always knocking the door down, I would encourage those of us in the hiring position to avoid getting stuck on where is candidate is right now. Focus on the potential.