It is a mistake to hire a candidate based solely on experience. This is not saying that knowledge of the job and the requisite skills and knowledge are not important. They certainly are. Of course, you want the right person for the right job. However, looking primarily for experience will produce disappointing results.
I work largely with privately held and family held businesses. But in that arena I have worked with many industries ranging from real estate, construction, retail, service and hospitality, nonprofit, and manufacturing. I have made the same observation in all of these industries. Those running the business believe that their industry is different from others, so unique that the primary requirement is experience. Because of that mindset I have seen many bad candidates hired and many qualified candidates screened out. The hiring manager is using the assumption that as long as the candidate has previous experience in the industry or job that the candidate will be a success in the hiring manager’s job.
In my work with organizations I have found that experience in the industry is NOT a predictor of success. In fact, I have seen it become a detriment when people are so ingrained with the past that they are rigid and not looking forward. And this is exactly where businesses and hiring managers are missing great opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competition.
I was presently surprised earlier this week when I found a job advertisement for the president of a multi-unit restaurant company. The advertisement listed the following qualifications; energetic, forward thinking, creative, high ethical standards, excellent communicator, strategic visionary, good educator, excellent negotiator, decisive, big picture perspective. Now to be honest the ad did request a background in the restaurant or similar industry. But this restaurant has big plans and wants out of the box thinking. Would out of the box thinking help you in your business as well?
Here are five qualities you should consider when selecting an employee:
Confidence – You need to believe in yourself and your ability. You need to have passion for what you are doing. It is also important to have the emotional intelligence and emotional stability to take criticisms and setbacks.
Creativity – If it is important to have empowered and engaged employees then you need to have employees with curiosity and creativity. This quality in employees can help your company become a leader.
Communication Skills – Communication includes written, verbal, non-verbal (body language), good listening and ability to connect by making sure that messages are understood.
Shared Values – Many employment situations fail because the employee does share the company’s values. Make clear your company’s vision, values, and mission.
Empathy (Ability to build relationships) - It is essential for sales but, really, we are all really in the business of influencing others. The ability to build relationships and work as a team is essential to that process.
You can learn whether a candidate has these qualities though effective interviewing and with the aid of assessment tools. If you are looking for high quality employees why not start thinking out of the box and stop using experience as a primary requirement. You will be pleased with the results.