- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
There are pros and cons when it comes to hiring juniors. Juniors tend to be enthusiastic, but their contributions may not be enough. They have limited experience and therefore require more training. That can become expensive.
There is also the hope that they will become seniors and stay with the company. That may not always play out the way you want it to. Many juniors might treat the job like a paid internship, take the free training and experience and move on.
On the surface, it seems like a good idea. An enthusiastic junior comes into the office to learn the ropes. But often they learn that the job is harder than they thought. In some cases, they become nothing more than glorified gophers. Let’s take a look at why you should not hire a junior.
PROS AND CONS OF HIRING JUNIORS
There are pros and cons when it comes to hiring a junior employee. Although they can be enthusiastic, open to change, and relatively easy to train they often lack the skill sets and social experience necessary for office success.
While it is true that their enthusiasm and a positive attitude can liven up the workplace, they tend to be easily derailed in high-pressure situations. These situations can show up as actual work-related scenarios or office politics. If you are going to hire a junior it is important to make sure they can relate professionally.
If you are considering hiring a junior you must assess whether they are a good fit. Many seasoned employees will see juniors as a burden. If the company has a mentorship program in place that burden can be released, but most places do not have that kind of program. Company culture is another thing to consider.
Here are some other, more specific things you should consider before you hire a junior employee.
Turnover costs money and junior employees tend to spend less time with a company than seniors. As they are still building up their professional standards, they tend to not fully understand the complexities of the job. That means they are likely to move around from company to company. This will cost you money in training, hiring, and onboarding.
CRACK UNDER PRESSURE
Juniors can tend to crack under pressure. This is likely due to a lack of confidence. Juniors do not have a lot of corporate success to fall back on. Challenging experiences can be destabilizing for them. Besides, they lack the experience to cope with criticism. This may add to the pressure they are experiencing.
LACK OF CORPORATE EXPERIENCE
Being less likely to understand things like office culture they can lack critical behavioral skills. They could affect the way they function in the corporate environment. For many juniors, it is the first time they have heard of some of the common policies and practices in the corporate world. This can be another form of destabilizing pressure.
TRAINING AND COACHING
Juniors will typically require more training than seasoned workers. They often require extra coaching to get a job done promptly and correctly. Companies that have a success rate with juniors usually have a mentoring program in place. Of course, it costs money to keep that program active.
There have been times when junior team members on seasoned team members clash. The energetic attitude and nature of a junior employee who has not been tempered by life can create resentment and discomfort for senior team members. This may result in clashes between them.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
There is a lot of conflicting information online when it comes to the topic of hiring juniors. In a series of threads on Quora, many senior developers complained about juniors being a burden that could not pull their weight. The listed anecdotes galore of difficult scenarios and a rash of complaints. Out of all the comments posted on the topic, only one was positive.
This suggests employers should communicate with their existing employees and have a grounded understanding of company culture before leaping to hire juniors. If there are clashes it can end up costing you more than it is worth.
The most relevant comments all mentioned the need for a good mentorship program. Forming a mentorship program is an added cost. It will require time and energy toward research and development. You will have to have team members that are willing to participate with enthusiasm. Putting this sort of program is an expenditure and may not deliver the results you want.
Many people think they can hire juniors to get some extra work done cheaply. That may be true, but you have to weigh the costs against the expense. Especially if you hope to nurture the juniors into long term seniors. That is not to suggest it is impossible to have a quality junior experience. It is merely to say you may be better served putting time and money into other things.
GREAT JUNIORS ARE HARD TO FIND
But if you get one, nurturing them and coaching them into a top earner should be a priority. If you come across a junior employee who shows talent, aptitude, and the ability to stick to it, you will want to put in the extra time and effort to show them the ropes.
If you do this well and mentor them to greatness, your company could reap the rewards for a long time. It is not unheard of that a junior comes into a company and blows everyone’s socks off. But it is closer to the truth that you will encounter many of the negatives listed above before you find that wunderkind you are hoping to find.
Again, due diligence is the call of the day. Confirm with your staff that they would be willing to take on junior staffers. Consider developing a mentoring team and work to help them achieve your objectives. If everyone is not on board, you could experience some backlash. Pick the wrong juniors and it could cost you a lot more time and money than you bargained for.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell