When to Hire Junior vs. Senior Level Employees

Determining the seniority level for your next hire

April 29, 2021

Hiring Junior vs Senior Employees meta

There are many decisions to be made before making a new hire, most of which are determined as you sit down with the Hiring Manager to create the initial job description. What are the role’s responsibilities? Will the role be remote or in person? What seniority level do you plan to hire at? This last question holds a lot of weight, as there are both advantages and disadvantages to hiring junior and senior level employees.

The decision of what level employee to hire is ultimately up to what is right for your business based on budget, schedule, and company culture. That said, we know seniority level is often a decision that Hiring Managers rush to, rather than weighing the pros and cons first.

In order to help ensure that you and your Hiring Manager are aligned on seniority level from the start, we’ve outlined the pros and cons for hiring junior and senior level employees. Check it out below, and share with your team as needed!

Pros of Hiring Junior-Level Employees

There are a number of positives that come with hiring someone more junior. Junior-level employees tend to be:

Energetic and motivated
Junior-level employees are typically younger, so they aim to please and will put in the effort to do so. They want to prove themselves so you’ll often see increased productivity.

Adaptable
They aren’t “stuck in their ways” yet and should fold into your unique corporate culture with ease.

Innovative and up to speed on trends
Junior-level employees can often bring a new perspective to the team, providing insights on new trends, technology, and more.

Quick to hire
The average time to hire lower-level employees is shorter than senior-level employees.

More affordable
Starting salaries are lower than senior-level counterparts.

Loyal
Discovering and nurturing talented individuals at the beginning of their careers can be incredibly beneficial to your business in the long run.

Cons of Hiring Junior-Level Employees

While there are many benefits to hiring junior-level employees, these new hires also:

Require more more training and attention
There is an upfront cost when hiring junior employees, so be sure your Hiring Manager has the bandwidth to take on this training from the start.

Will inevitably make mistakes as they learn the ropes
As with all new hires, there is a learning curve. This could be longer for junior employees as they learn new tools and techniques.

Difficulty accepting negative feedback
It’s important to keep in mind that junior employees aren’t used to receiving criticism at work yet and lack confidence. Ensuring feedback is provided in a constructive and calm manner will be more important than ever.

Pros of Hiring Senior-Level Employees

Here are the benefits you can expect when you hire someone at the senior level:

Experienced and self-sufficient
Senior hires require less hand holding and often have shorter learning curves throughout the training process.

Well connected in the industry
Oftentimes, if they don’t know the answer, they’ll know someone who does, and can use their professional connections to advance quicker.

Usually has leadership experience
Senior hires can improve company culture or fix long standing problems, as it’s great to have trained, fresh eyes coming in.

Cons of Hiring Senior-Level Employees

Senior-level hires come with some challenges, too, including:

Less flexibility
Unlike younger colleagues, senior hires are more set in their ways and could be less flexible to policies, procedures, and unexpected changes.

Higher salaries
With experience comes pricier paydays, which could limit the opportunity for future hires on the team, or more convincing internally.

Longer time to higher
These are highly qualified candidates, so sourcing will take longer. The interview process is often more in-depth as well, thus taking more time and energy.

Higher turnover rate
Often, senior executives are chasing their next best gig. They don’t have the same employer loyalty that more junior-level employees often have.

What’s Best for You?

Before deciding whether to hire a junior or senior-level employee, consider your company’s budget and your hiring team’s time:

Here are just a few ideas…

  • How much do you want to spend on a new hire?
  • How much can you spend on a new hire if the most amazing candidate were presented to you?
  • Would you benefit more from one senior-level hire or two (or more) junior-level hires?
    For example, do you need a Senior Architect that will cost you $120,000 to manage the entire project? Or would you benefit more from two junior developers for $60,000 each, who can bang out code all day?
  • Does your Hiring Manager and hiring team have training bandwidth?
    Typically, the more junior someone is, the more training they’ll need. If you and your team are spread particularly thin and low on time, it may be worth hiring someone senior who can jump right into things.
  • Is your organization looking to increase their diversity metrics?
    Expanding your search to include junior-level employees widens your talent pool to include more candidates from underrepresented groups.
  • How will this hire impact company culture?
    Shying away from hiring junior employees for fear that they’ll make mistakes could send a negative message about your company culture. Not only does this make for an anxious work environment, but it also spreads a false narrative about the nature of successful companies. And if you look for junior candidates who are motivated, communicative, open-minded, and curious, you’ll often find that they’ll grow into senior management roles over time.
    Hiring senior-level employees can immediately have a positive impact on company culture. With experience and knowledge of how to successfully maintain strong cultures elsewhere, senior employees can come in and make a strong impact on team dynamics and company values from day one.

Like with any role, finding the right individual is key. Experience does play a factor, but a person’s passion and transferable skills will also go a long way.

Before deciding which level employee you need, measure where your company is at in terms of budget, time, and need to determine what level candidate makes the most sense. Most importantly, don’t automatically shy away from junior-level employees just because they’re likely to make mistakes, and don’t shy away from senior-level employees because of higher starting salaries. Simply look for the route that’s best for your company at this point in time!


About Fetcher

At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruiting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at fetcher.ai.

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