Hiring Wisdom: Why Look For Experience?

Skim through online job ads and you’ll find about 95% of them have one word in common: “Starting wages based on experience…” “Looking for experienced, energetic servers and kitchen staff…” “We are currently seeking an experienced office assistant…”

Why is it that experience is so often our No. 1 criteria? Because we assume an experienced person will require less training and be able to get up to speed faster.

The problem with this assumption is that just because a person has done a certain type of work before doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily good at it or even likes doing it. Many people fall into jobs or a career path and, over time, become skilled at them. However, when you look at the top people in any trade or profession, what sets them apart is talent. Their innate ability or that internal motivation (attitude) that makes them what we call “a natural.”

Article Continues Below

Some people are motivated to help others and they make great office assistants, retail clerks, and healthcare workers. Some people are born optimists and are gifted with persistence and the power of persuasion; they’re great salespeople. Others are good with their hands and enjoy making things – perfect for manufacturing, assembly lines, and the building trades.

Skills, the how-tos of any job, can be taught. Start hiring for talent and attitude instead and you’ll have an unbeatable competitive edge.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

Topics