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Should You Hire People with NO Experience?

Published on June 7, 2018

I know what you’re thinking. You clicked this post because you’d never hire a “know-nothing.” Inexperienced employees drive you crazy.

You don’t want them…

… but I want to change your mind. You should think harder about hiring those "know-nothings."

They just might surprise you:

1. They’re cheaper than experienced labor.

Someone with 3-5 years experience in the field is going to want more $$$ than someone with zero experience.

Someone with more than 5 years experience is going to want $$$ and to be a crew leader or supervisor.

Whatever your industry (lawn care, cleaning, pool maintenance, etc.), it’s cheaper to hire less experienced workers.

When you hire inexperienced workers, you broaden your pool of potential employees beyond these two options:

Poaching from competitors.
Hiring people your competitors fired.

There are some assumptions about the inexperienced that we need to clear up (most things you’re thinking of as problems are actually opportunities):

2. They are "tabula rasa."

That means they’re a “blank slate.”

You typically think of inexperienced laborers as “know-nothings.”

I want you to do me a favor (it’ll really be a favor to yourself in the long run): add a “yet” onto that. As in...

“They don’t know anything… yet.”

Here’s the best thing about people who know nothing about your industry:

They don’t think they know better than you.

They know that they know nothing.

You get to teach them exactly how you want them to perform your services. You don’t have to deal with objections like “At my last job I did it this way.”

In a lot of cases, experienced field workers are hesitant to change or unable to see the benefit to doing things “your way.” New employees with no experience don’t know anything but “your way.”

3. They don’t have “industry baggage.”

This goes hand-in-hand with them not having a technique they learned at another company.

They don’t know anyone else’s culture or perks.

For example, say an experienced employee comes to you from a local competitor. This local competitor stocks their fridge with cans of soda AND water.

You keep your crews supplied with bottled water. Your crews appreciate that you keep it cold.

This new, experienced employee feels let down. They “used to get” free soda. They liked having a Dr. Pepper with their lunch. Now they “just” get water.

They start to grumble. Suddenly, the other workers wonder aloud why you “just” give them bottled water.

Now everyone’s morale suffers.

4. They’re Grateful that You “Took a Chance” on Them.

Everyone has had the experience of applying for a job they’re not sure they’re qualified for.

You fill out the application and hand it in, thinking it may not even get read. But you hope that maybe someone will read it and give you a shot.

If you hire the right kind of “know-nothing” (we’ll talk more about that in a second), they’ll appreciate you took a chance on hiring them.

That appreciation helps you in 2 ways:

1. They’re eager to please.

People who feel like you did them a favor in hiring them are eager to show their appreciation.

They work harder and learn faster.

They do things “your way” not just because they don’t know anything else, but also because they want you to approve of the job they’re doing.

2. You have a chance to earn their loyalty.

Loyalty is not free. It’s earned. Just giving someone a chance doesn’t ensure lasting loyalty but it does put you on the right track to earn longtime loyalty.

If you build an effective (and infectious) company culture, you’ll keep the best employees you hire and train. Retention is the best way to make “know-nothing” hires a great value for your business.

5. The Right Kind of Employee is Way More Valuable than Experience

This is the most important reason to hire people with no experience in your service industry business.

An employee who fits in with your culture and you as a business owner is worth far more to you than an experienced employee who doesn’t work the way you work.

Think about it this way:

You’re locked out of your house. A locksmith comes and offers you a solid gold, diamond-encrusted ring. It’s undoubtedly an expensive, impressive key.

But there’s a catch… The key doesn’t fit your lock. Sure, it’s pretty. And shiny. And expensive.

But it doesn’t fit.

Find employees that fit in well with the kind of the business you run.

Related Podcast: Hire for Attitude, not Experience with Chris Volpe

You’re looking for someone who is:

  • Responsible - they got the interview on time and were ready to talk to you.
  • Reliable - have a second interview they have to come to, add a hoop or two to jump through in your hiring process.
  • Willing and Able to Learn - you need someone who is eager to try new things and able to pick them up quickly.

Inexperienced Applicants Can Become Your BEST Employees

Don’t count them out because they don’t know anything… yet.

Hire people who are teachable, have great attitudes, and a willingness to work. Build great training systems to get them up to speed.

Expand your horizons and open the doors to great potential employees by letting the inexperienced into your hiring funnel.

Related: Why Your Employees Leave You [Podcast]


Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.


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