Experience Is Overrated
I got a job at Disney two months post college.
The role: television scheduling coordinator.
My degree: marketing communication.
I had zero experience scheduling television. I didn’t even know it existed — something I admitted in my interview.
My first year was exhilarating. The responsibilities assigned to me changed often. This resulted in fast growth and opportunities to prove myself as a valuable new member of the team. My work paid off. I was awarded Employee of the Quarter after my first year.
The other day a friend contacted me about a coordinator position in my building. A colleague told me the hiring manager was strictly looking for candidates with five years of relevant experience.
I almost shit myself.
Five years of experience for a coordinator role? Typically, five years is required for manager positions.
This particular position isn’t a weird job-posting outlier. Hiring managers are demanding increasingly more experience for entry and junior level roles. As this becomes more common, it creates a frustrating catch-twenty-two: how are inexperienced college grads supposed to get entry level positions if they demand unrealistic experience?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been turned down for a job because the hiring manager “decided to go with someone with more experience.” All of you? Me too.
I’ve seen colleagues step into roles knowing nothing excel within months. I’ve seen people with all the experience in the world come and go just as quickly, usually for one of two reasons. Either they’re overqualified and feel squandered, or their personality doesn’t jive with the culture. Usually it’s the former.
Yet we continue to stress experience.
So what should we stress? What really makes a candidate a potential valuable member of your team?
Intelligence. Reliability. Creativity. Personality. Promise of growth. Wit. Ability to learn. Passion.
These candidates are rare.
But they’ll work harder. They’ll work smarter. They’ll be more passionate about their purpose in your organization.
It’s time to start hiring candidates based on more than a résumé.