9 Tips For Hiring for a Position You Don't Understand

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Posted by: David Garcia January 31, 2024

Growing businesses need reliable hiring managers to acquire the best talent. However, the person interviewing and hiring the new talent won’t always fully understand the position they need to fill.

Even the most experienced hiring managers will come across these positions in their careers. So, what do they do?

Luckily, there are countless ways to conduct interviews and choose the right talent for the job. Moreover, it’s not as difficult or time-consuming as you may think to familiarize yourself with a new profession.

9 Effective Strategies When Hiring for a Position You Don’t Understand

If you’re hiring for a position you don’t understand, follow the tips below.

1. Research Before Writing the Job Description

If you’re entirely unaware of the position, ask coworkers with experience in that role for a crash course. The more information you have about the role, the better.

You can also use the internet to your advantage. Read through job descriptions of the role you’re hiring for, so you can see the value of the position. There are plenty of sites out there that give detailed descriptions of a vast array of different professions.

You can use these other sites’ job descriptions as templates for your own. Just know that a job description is more than a summary of the requirements for a role—it also conveys the company culture and applicant fit for the team. These are elements of the hiring that you can emphasize even without knowing the job’s intricate details.

2. Try the Job Yourself

One excellent way to quickly grasp the concept of a job role is to try it out yourself. You can do so by shadowing an employee in the same role and getting some training. Afterward, you’ll likely understand some technicalities and jargon related to the position.

As a result, you can ask better questions during your interview and give the candidate confidence that you understand the role.

Job training is one of the best ways to understand a position quickly. With hands-on experience, you’ll retain all the essential information you’ll need when conducting your interview. You don’t need to invest yourself in the role fully, but instead, get some inside knowledge of what it takes to get the job done.

3. Review Their Portfolio and Work Experience

Resumes and portfolios are an excellent way to get an inside view of a candidate’s job experience. That said, you’ll need to do additional research if it’s a position you don’t fully understand. Moreover, it can be challenging to vet their credibility if you don’t know what to look for in the review.

To solve this, request work samples from the candidate and assess them with someone with experience in that role.

4. Be Honest With Yourself and Colleagues

When it comes time to interview, be honest with yourself and the person asking you to hire for the position. The last thing you want to do is fake your knowledge when conducting interviews. The talent will sense that something is off during the interview, which could hinder the hiring process.

Not only does this come across as unprofessional, but it could also deter valuable candidates from your job offer. To avoid this, be honest with yourself and everyone else involved in the hiring process about your knowledge of the position.

5. Get Referrals

Referrals are a viable way to find the best candidates for the job. If someone you trust refers to someone for a position, chances are the candidate is credible. This validation is beneficial if you don’t fully understand the role yourself.

To achieve this, craft an email showcasing that you’re looking for referrals for a job opening. Then send it to every relevant person in your professional network. After getting some responses, ask them about some of their referral’s top achievements.

6. Take Your Time

It’s natural to want to fill a role quickly, but doing so might hurt you eventually. Remember that the main goal is to hire the right person, so taking your time allows you to screen each candidate thoroughly. Although a drawn-out hiring process can be exhausting, take the time to go over every detail.

If you don’t fully understand the role you’re hiring for, don’t be afraid to spend as much time as necessary to get insights. While you might have a deadline for hiring, there are ways you can use your time wisely.

7. Trust Your Instincts

Humans are lucky enough to have strong intuition. Your gut will give you clues during each interview, so make sure to analyze what your instincts and previous experience tell you about a candidate. Although you shouldn’t necessarily base your decision solely on what your gut tells you, you can use it to help in the hiring process.

Even before the interview, though, you can intuit an applicant’s personality from their writing samples. Materials like cover letters, emails, even punctuation marks give clues about whom the person is, whether they’re detail-oriented or an upbeat team player.

8. Ask for Help

If you still aren’t confident you can hire the right person at the end of the day, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can tell whoever tasked you with hiring for the position that you don’t know the role well enough to make a proper decision.

You’re far better off being straightforward with your boss than to end up hiring the wrong person. Your manager should help point you in the right direction and even give you resources to help you better understand the position.

9. Screen for Employment and Education Verification

Finally, one of the best ways to hire a candidate is to verify their experience with an employment and education screening.

Any new hire will need to go through a standard background check to look at criminal history. However, vetting their employment and education ensures their resume is not just a document manipulated to make the applicant shine.

If the screening confirms their credentials, you also can take that to mean they have substantial experience for the role.


No doubt, hiring new employees can be exciting and exhausting. Not only do you need to spend time interviewing candidates, but you also need to have a good understanding of the role for which you’re hiring.

As a recruitment professional, it’s natural not to know the ins and outs of every profession. However, you must have a basic understanding of a job before the interviewing phase.

If you need extra help finding the right people, ScoutLogic offers valuable resources for recruiters with our extensive background, education, and employment screenings. Contact our team today to learn how ScoutLogic can help you find the right talent for your company.

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