When it comes to job offers or when discussing about the job profile with the company’s management, it almost always comes down to the fact that the person must have at least X years of experience from similar job(s)/position(s), and if it is from the same industry, even better. Personally, I always like to challenge this idea and ask the Manager to justify it and explain to me the rationale behind it. Occasionally, the justifications are valid and have a bearing with the reality of the job, however, unfortunately that’s not always the case. “Our industry is so different” is the most common justification I’ve heard, usually followed by a poor or outright joke of an attempt at justifying it; what is more, it is quite easily be proven to be untrue.
I would argue that these wrong or unnecessary requirements, which are stated in the job offer/advert, are often due solely to the fact that things are being done in a hurry and there was probably not enough time to think it through. Many managers do not really have time to recruit, and as a result they try to find the exact copy of the person whose position just became vacant: “Because John was good and now he’s gone we need to find a new John,” is a common approach. Also, you hear reasons like, “John had been doing this job for five years, and we need someone who has at least the same experience, although John didn’t have it when he started. Because who could know how to sell tires if you haven’t sold those before? Yes, this business is so different.”
You start seeing my point and that’s why I’m asking how much does experience really matter when recruiting a new person? Also, perhaps we should concentrate on something else when recruiting? It’s a good idea to listen to what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says about this. The video starts at 2:20 and in his words:
“If you think about it, I started the company when I was 19, right, so I can’t institutionally believe that experience is that important. Or else I would have a hard time reconciling myself and the company… so we have invested in people who we think are just incredibly talented even if they haven’t done that thing before.” – Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook.
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Zuckerberg. I’ve personally gotten into different positions where you didn’t normally see a lot of people my age – I was that young. Sure, next year, I’m going to be 33 “already” so finally I’m getting into an age where I can say it out loud when someone asks about it in the middle of the meeting without people looking at each other 😀
And if not previous experience, then what? Personally, if there’s one thing or feature in a person which really makes a difference for me and that I always look for, it’s the ability to make things happen. In this world there are too many people who are just full of talk, always complaining or saying how things should be done, but never actually doing anything to make those happen.
People who know me and how I work know that I can, and I will make great things – sometimes even amazing – happen. So, for me it’s also always been pretty easy to notice this kind of people around me and no wonder, without any exception, these kind of people are always doing so well both in their work and private life.
Teemu is a Director of InHunt World and has been working in the recruitment and headhunting industry since 2009. Teemu is from Finland and came to Spain in 2014 to set up and open new headhunting offices in Madrid, and later in Barcelona. Since 2016, Teemu has been focusing on designing, creating, and running the new InHunt World International Headhunting Network, which already covers over 30 countries.