Table of Content
  1. 1. Seek advice and guidance from those in the industry
  2. 2. Shadow the job yourself or get some training
  3. 3. Invite guest interviewers
  4. 4. Double check their portfolio and work experience
  5. 5. Get referrals
  6. Conclusion

How to Hire for a Job Position You Do Not Understand

A recruiter’s job is essentially in the name, hunting for talented potential employees. But it goes beyond that: you need to take time to determine who is the best fit for any given position. This is done through extensive review of resumes, conducting initial interviews, and employment screening. So, when it comes to recruiting for a position you don’t have much experience with or knowledge about, how can you know who is the most qualified?

One way of getting around this obstacle is having a strong, effective recruitment strategy, a plan of action for a company or agency that includes the employer’s hiring needs, timeline, and goals in hiring for a certain job position. Here are five suggestions for developing a good recruitment strategy to ensure you make the best choice in your search for new talent.

1. Seek advice and guidance from those in the industry

What better way to get a fuller idea of what a job position entails than to talk directly to people who already have years of experience doing that job? A good first step is to explore your current network and find professionals who have a proven track record of success in the field you’re hiring for. Have them help you identify techniques and strategies you can use in your hiring process, including coming up with sample questions and preferable answers to those questions.

It can sometimes be nerve-wracking to reach out to people for help, especially if you don’t know them personally. If you’re feeling hesitant about approaching professionals or don’t know the proper etiquette, check out some ways to get expert advice.

2. Shadow the job yourself or get some training

Just having someone familiar with the position you’re hiring for speak a bunch of jargon to you probably won’t get you any closer to understanding it. Experiencing the position and work itself can help you not only craft better interview questions, but also think of suitable follow-up questions when speaking with job candidates.

One recommended way of doing this is to try a crash course or train with a professional for a short period of time. Training helps with retention of information and offers trainees an opportunity to ask questions about areas they’re still having trouble getting the hang of. You can also shadow a qualified professional to see what the job is like and what kind of skills are needed for it. Job shadowing gives those participating a chance to see what the day-to-day work of a certain position is.

3. Invite guest interviewers

If you’re still worried about the possibility of making the wrong decision regarding a hire, don’t feel like you have to do all the legwork on your own! If you’re recruiting for a high-level position, invite an experienced professional or expert to assist you in the interviewing process. Have them sit with you and give you real-time advice on the competing candidates.

There are a number of ways to find professionals who are willing to aid you in the interview process. Using Linkedin or other professionally-oriented social media is a good start. Be aware that you should first try to establish a connection with the person you’re seeking help from before you go asking numerous favors of them (see tip #1).

4. Double check their portfolio and work experience

Online profiles and resumes look nice and can provide you with a very general idea of a candidate’s experience and qualifications, but hiring for a job you’re less knowledgeable about requires that you dig a little deeper than usual.

It can be hard to evaluate the quality of a candidate without seeing some of their previous work. Verify their experience by requesting a sample. You can evaluate the sample work with other designated professionals and get their expert opinion. Never seen a professional portfolio before? Get a better idea of what a good one should look like with these work portfolio samples.

5. Get referrals

If worst comes to worst, you always have a fallback option: referrals from your existing contacts. This is one of the more reliable ways to recruit quality candidates. Importantly, soliciting individuals referred to you by people you already know and trust gives you an extra added guarantee of their work quality.

You can start by sending out an email to your professional contacts. Be polite and professional, but also direct about what you want from them. Include a clear call-to-action early in your message. You can also strengthen your emails and boost your response numbers by improving your email signature.

If you’re still scratching your head about who to contact, try signing up with Jobalaya as a referrer. This service allows you to receive referral leads without much time commitment. Have your employees sign up as well to make the task of finding great recruits even easier!


Hiring new talent is not an easy job. It takes time, patience, and a lot of research. Hiring for a position you don’t understand only intensifies each of those necessary aspects, making your job as a recruiter even harder. However, we have listed some fairly simple and easy suggestions for developing a strong recruitment strategy to ensure you make the best possible decision in an otherwise difficult process. Of course, these are just a few of the ways you can build and improve your recruitment strategy for hiring new potential employees, but they are an important start.

Remember, whether you are hiring for a position you fully understand or one you don’t know the first thing about, referrals make everything a bit smoother by removing some of the guesswork from searching for recruits. Make getting and passing on referrals easy with Jobalaya!

Jeremy Olivier
I'm a writer and musician based in Taipei. You can just as easily find me curled up on the couch with a good book as you can bounding down a rural Taiwan mountain trail. I have a bachelor's degree in history and an MA in Asia Studies.