Take A Chance On Me…

Ben Gateley, Co-Founder & COO, on why hiring on potential pays off.

We’ve always surrounded ourselves with amazing people. They’re often hired through personal networks or on recommendations from friends and family, and over the years we have used this as a way to pull together a group of passionate twenty-somethings. Although they are sometimes lacking in experience, they are brimming with ambition. At the beginning this was more coincidence than strategy. But as we focus on scaling CharlieHR, we have begun to pursue this course with greater intent.

We hire inexperienced, passionate and ambitious candidates into roles that are outside of their comfort zones. Here’s why:

Learning is Engagement

Every leadership handbook under the sun talks about “engaged teams”. Having committed, engaged people around you will always make the journey that much easier. A strong culture, a tangible mission and a host of other things will play their part in engaging your team. But in my opinion: there is nothing more powerful than learning!

That’s why being comfortable in a role is so dangerous. If you’re comfortable you’re probably not learning. In fact — I’d challenge whether you’re even enjoying your role. Put simply: those that aren’t learning as they work won’t be sticking around for long…

It’s for this reason we’re constantly talking about progression with everyone we work with. “What’s next?”, “what more responsibility could you take on?” and “what do you want to learn?” are things that I say on a regular basis.

Fail Faster

The more inexperienced you are for a role, the faster you’re going to be learning. And the steeper that learning curve is going to be. Because of this, you inevitably hit that first failure much faster than you would do otherwise.

Failure has always been important to us. It teaches so many good and positive lessons. I am certain that it’s a hoop we must all jump through on a regular basis. It tests our resilience. It reminds us that “we’re not all that…” (Even though our mums say we are!). It pushes us to self actualise and critique our own actions. We’d much rather someone join the team, fail quickly and move on. This way they can avoid an identity crisis a year down the line because they’ve finally put a foot wrong and are worrying what everyone is going to think. We always applaud failure and support those that fail. If we’re not failing, we’re not being ambitious enough. If that’s the case then what’s the point?

Ambitious teams fail often, but keeping that learning curve nice and steep ensures that we fail often but we fail fast. And when we do? We pick ourselves up and crack on.

Help Yourself By Helping Others

It’s often said that what you put out into the world is what comes backs to you, but I am not so naive to think that we should all be running our businesses on bumper stickers slogans.

What I am sure of is this: by teaching and helping others through a challenge or problem my own thinking and knowledge of that particular subject is improved, concentrated and cemented. I become better through testing out my theories and others around me. Our teams help each other through the problems and challenges we’re all facing. Support should always come from within before looking elsewhere. This not only strengthens the thinking of some of our more experienced team members, but it also provides them with a well deserved confidence boost.


Ultimately, taking a leap of faith on attitude over experience breeds trust and loyalty, and it’s hard to put a value on that. We might not be asking our team to go into battle for us, but we are trying to achieve something most think is un-achievable. Having a loyal and engaged team makes all the difference; it breeds a culture of honesty and openness where the team are more likely to speak up if they’ve got an issue rather than letting it build over time. And it’s what allows us to retain so many of the amazing people we get to work with day in day out.

After all: not only have we taken a chance on them… but they’ve taken a chance on us…

CharlieHR is the HR platform for teams with big ideas.

Neo Sepulveda

Neo Sepulveda

Software engineer at CharlieHR 💻. I like climbing things quite a bit 🐒.

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