Don’t Recruit People Based on Experience

May 29, 2010 by  Filed under: Management 

What do you look for when you’re interviewing someone for a job? I’m sure there are many factors that are important to you, and probably experience is one of them.

A job applicant’s previous work experience is often used to judge whether they have the capacity to do the new job.

Many managers go through the resume discussing each previous job with the applicant. The applicant then goes on to tell the manager how clever they are and how successful they were in all their previous jobs.

It’s almost a case of – “Have you worked in our industry before?” – “Yes, I have lots of experience in your industry” – “Great, can you start on Monday?”

I’ve been in the situation where I’m interviewing someone for a sales job and they have several similar jobs on their resume. I’ve often asked myself – “Who on earth employed this person in a sales job, because I have no confidence in their ability whatsoever.”

Put your customer hat on for a moment and think about the people you’ve dealt with in the past who were pretty hopeless. The salespeople, the plumbers, the maintenance engineers or the customer service people on the end of the phone. When these people were interviewed for their job, they probably discussed with the interviewer about their experience, how good they were in their current job and all their previous jobs. However, based on your interactions with them, I bet you’d have something to add to that discussion.

Experience shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s not a reliable indicator as to whether someone can give you the outcomes you want.

What you’re really looking for is talent!

It doesn’t matter how long they have been in your industry, or how long they have been in the type of job you’re trying to fill. You need to establish whether they can give you the results you need.

Depending on the job you’re trying to fill, keep asking yourself, does this person have the talent:

  • To make customers want to come back?
  • To generate more sales for the business?”
  • To make customers say positive things to other people about my business?
  • To manage my people and make them top performers?
  • To make my life easier and help me achieve my outcomes?

Concentrate on the factors that you will ultimately be judged on and keep those at the forefront of your mind.

I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.

John Wooden (1910-, American basketball coach)

Alan Fairweather, ‘The Motivation Doctor,’ is an International Business Speaker, Best Selling Author and Sales Growth Expert. For the past sixteen years, he’s been turning ‘adequate’ managers, sales and customer service people into consistent top performers. He is the author of two books:
‘How to be a Motivational Manager’ A down-to-earth guide for managers and team leaders.
‘How to Manage Difficult People’ Proven strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour at work.
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Alan Fairweather - EzineArticles Expert Author

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