Are You Picking Candidates Based on the Worst Metric?

Oct 13 / Steve Lowisz
When it comes to evaluating job candidates, years of experience is treated as the holy grail of qualifications. It's the magic number that supposedly determines whether a candidate is truly qualified.

But let's cut through the smoke and mirrors and take a closer look at why this age-old metric might just be the worst possible way to assess potential hires.

Compensation Games

First, let's address the elephant in the room: compensation. Many organizations use a point factoring system to price roles, and lo and behold, one of the biggest factors is years of experience. It's like a bad game show where contestants earn points for simply aging, regardless of their actual skills or performance.

This method often ignores market rates, the ever-changing demands of the job, and other important factors that should determine a candidate's worth. The tech industry may be moving on from this outdated metric, but most industries are lagging behind. Why?

We All Want to Hire a Candidate That’s Done the Job Before

Hiring managers often justify their obsession with experience by claiming they don't have time to train newbies. In their world, it's a sink-or-swim mentality. But let's be real, folks. If you can't devote any time whatsoever to training a great candidate with a lot of potential, you may be greatly limiting your talent pool.

Chronic understaffing and overwhelmed managers are contributing to this madness. The prevailing notion is that it's easier to hire someone who can hit the ground running. But what about the damage done by open seats? What about bad hires that we overpay for – all because they had the “right” number of years of experience?

"This is How We’ve Always Done It”

The most dangerous words in the English language are “this is the way we’ve always done it.” Hiring managers love to stick with what they know, even if it doesn't make any sense.

Breaking away from the status quo is tough. It means challenging the familiar and embracing change, and let's face it, we humans are creatures of habit.

Inertia is a formidable force that continues to shape our hiring practices, and it's about time we break free from its grip.

"This is How We’ve Always Done It”

Now that we've thoroughly debunked the myth of years of experience, what's the solution? It's simple: focus candidate selection methods that ACTUALLY correlate with success.

Look beyond the resume and delve into a candidate's potential. Use proven interview and assessment techniques to evaluate their ability to adapt and grow, rather than relying solely on a rigid checklist of years on the job.

Tools like Perception Predict allow recruiting and HR teams to use data to find candidates that will excel in your unique environment. They even let you identify traits that are more associated with poor performance on the job...so you know what to avoid when selecting a candidate.

Sure, there are professions where experience is non-negotiable. For a C-suite position, it's probably best if the candidate has a few years of leadership experience!

However, most roles don't follow this model, and it’s high time we adjust our approach accordingly.

In conclusion, it's time to rethink the way we assess candidates. Years of experience may have its place in some contexts, but it should never be the sole determining factor. Embrace change, challenge tradition, and focus on what truly matters: a candidate's ability to excel in the role.

So, the next time a hiring manager tells you they “need” a candidate with X years of experience, remind them that experience alone doesn't always translate to success. It's time to move beyond this outdated metric and unlock the true potential of your hiring process.

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