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Why I never hired for “Experience”

By August 9, 2022August 25th, 2022No Comments

I never understood the concept of hiring people based on an arbitrary number of how many years they’ve existed in an industry.

Experience is wonderful, but it’s only helpful in very specific types of jobs:

1/ When you need someone who has PRACTICED (to achieve a certain level of skill): some things just have to be polished by deep intentional training and repetition. There’s no way around it.

2/ You need them to have a huge pre-existing NETWORK (which takes time to build): whether you build those connections one by one, or at scale through a large audience or community.

Both of these compound over time, and there are no shortcuts to building them. But the focus should still be on the QUALITY of experience, not the “number of years.” I believe the quality of experience (what they did during that time) can only be seen in examples of their work, so my hiring process was always more focused on online exercises and take-home assignments.

All other reasons for hiring for “experience” are frivolous.

In my controversial opinion, someone looking for a job that they have already done a thousand times is often (though not always) a sign that they’re stagnant and not learning anything new.

The best pros want to challenge, reinvent, and stretch themselves into uncomfortable territory. If it’s not a little scary, it’s boring.

But then, I might be biased.

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