Managers often perceive newcomers in their team as both long-term assets and short-term burdens, mainly because new hires will need to be inducted, trained, and given lighter loads before they are able to get up to speed, thus inevitably slowing everyone else down in the process. But are rookies really inefficacious or was it just a perception?
Many people who are given or are working in a new environment often get lost from what they are supposed to do. It could be because of unclear expectations or they simply are inexperienced. However, newcomers are not always a burden despite their inability to keep up with their senior’s expectations.
According to Executive Advisor Liz Wiseman, inexperienced people tackle tough challenges better and are surprisingly strong performers. In her book, Wiseman described that rookies facing significant knowledge or skill gaps are alerted, moving fast, and working smart. While they are not well-suited for tasks that require technical mastery or where a single mistake is a game-ending, rookies are particularly adept at work knowledge that is innovative in nature.
Further, Wiseman emphasised that there are three things rookies especially good at:
Having little knowledge and insight themselves, newcomers have no qualms about seeking guidance from others. Rookies are four times more likely to ask for help and to listen. They seek expertise 40 percent more than experienced peers. When they do, they connect with five times as many people. Hence, if you want access to more knowledge, consider putting a rookie on the job and telling them it is OK not to have all the answers themselves. With one expert, you will get one expert; with a newcomer, you get access to many more.
Clueless about whether a new idea or opportunity is impossible to achieve, rookies readily explore new frontiers. With added pressure to succeed and nowhere to retreat to, they are also more likely to improvise, be resourceful and focus on meeting basic needs to push their high-risk projects through.
Newcomers face a steeper learning curve. But because they are mindful of the gap and want to gain ground, they often deliver results faster. Rookies tend to score 60 percent higher than experienced colleagues on the timeliness of their output. They are cautious at first as they gather data and study a situation, but once they jump in, they move quickly, making them perfectly suited for lean and agile development projects. Use your rookie talent to generate fresh ideas, experiment, deliver quick functionality, and get rapid feedback from your customers or clients.
Rookies are far more capable than most people expect. Instead of putting them through basic training, ask them to make a difference right away. They might not necessarily need more management; however, they need to be put in the game, pointed in the right direction, and given permission to play. Additionally, anyone can display “rookie smarts.” The real game-changer is ensuring that the entire team is able and willing to adopt the newcomer’s mindset when necessary, regardless of age or career stage.
While you have come up with the ideas that rookies are valuable, you should be able to identify which ones are the real game-changers. HR Thought Leader Dr John Sullivan said that too often, recruiters and hiring managers pass over talented rookies, even though they are destined to change your industry. Dr Sullivan has seen many talented individuals get rejected simply because these individuals did not have a formal title of a recruiter. But some of these talents eventually got accepted in prestigious companies like Google after many rejections. It is unfortunate when smaller and lesser-known firms pass on these rookies at the beginning of their career just because they do not have a degree or title as written in the job description, added Dr Sullivan.
Oftentimes, recruiters fail to bring in talented rookies to their workplace because they cannot find them. Not all inexperienced candidates can be a real game-changer to your company. There are only a few and they are generally busy producing solutions, thus unable to update their job search materials.
If you want to tap on these talents, here are Dr Sullivan advises on which types of rookies you should hire:
Not everyone can discover rookies as they are “busy” individuals. They often seek improvements and give little attention to polish resumes or LinkedIn profiles. But don’t worry, you can always spot these talents by asking or interviewing the following referrals:
Although inexperience in the world of work, you can polish rookies and make them your valuable assets.