The chicken and egg problem: Job experience or career potential?

For young people pursuing their dream jobs, don’t lose hope, even if you lack the work experience that most companies require. Some organizations, recognizing the chicken-and-egg dilemma, open their doors to those with great potential. Let me share with you my story.

When I started applying for a new job, I noticed that many companies require at least two years of job experience. Because of this preference to those with several years of experience, those with limited or none at all are placed at a disadvantage even though they may have greater potential. This is because organizations want employees that can produce results as soon as possible. The assumption is that experienced hires can perform better and faster than those with limited to no work experience. 

Candidates with limited experience have difficulty getting into careers that they want because most organizations would prefer to hire a candidate with more experience. Thus, the candidate with less experience does not get the opportunity to gain experience to get into their desired career path, resulting in a vicious cycle—the classic chicken-and-egg problem.

To candidates with limited job experience, do not fret, as there are some managers that might see your potential and give you a chance at a career of your dreams. 

But, of course, in the current world that we live in, you would need to find ways to open these doors of opportunity for yourself. In my case, for example, I was able to shift to a career in supply chain from an Information Technology career even without experience in supply chain because the hiring manager was aware that I had an industrial engineering bachelor’s degree and that I was to about to earn my MBA in De La Salle University (DLSU). 

Both degrees are relevant to the supply chain industry. My formal education opened the doors for me to the career path that I wanted. But the journey was not easy because I was not able to translate my education into immediate work results. It took me about three months to get a hang of things, and to produce quality results consistently. Using this experience as an inspiration for my final MBA paper, my collaborators and I saw that having a well-designed on-boarding program and training could help new hires adjust to their new organization and produce results more quickly. 

I hope that more organizations will have a shift in mindset, and consider hiring candidates with limited experience, but with great potential. However, this should also be partnered with a well-designed on-boarding and training program that can unleash the potential of these candidates. Hiring candidates with limited experience and developing them could be more cost effective than hiring candidates with extensive work experience. Furthermore, candidates with limited experience can have insights for improvement that candidates with extensive experience might not be able to see.

Both candidates with limited work experience and the hiring organization have a role to play in breaking the vicious cycle. Candidates with limited work experience can gain knowledge and skills through formal education, especially one related to one’s desired career. Hiring organizations can develop an on-boarding and training plan to equip new hires with essential skills and tools while also paving the path to unleash the new hire’s potential.

Breaking the chicken-and-egg vicious cycle can potentially increase employee job satisfaction as more candidates are given opportunities at the career that they want. As Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Bryan Balagtas was a software test analyst at Hewlett Packard for five years, but has successfully shifted to a career in supply chain as an Assistant Manager at McDonald’s Philippines. He will graduate from De La Salle University, with a Master of Business Administration degree in February 2020. He welcomes comments at [email protected] The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.

Topics: Green Light , The chicken and egg problem: Job experience or career potential?
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