Talent is Far More Important than Experience

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It absolutely amazes me that so many organizations focus on how much experience a person has when considering who to hire. Look at any job posting, and you can be assured it will clearly call out how much experience the job poster thinks a person should have for a particular role. What won't you see? Anything mentioned about talent.

In the most absurd cases, talented people are passed up for internal promotions in favor of less talented people with more experience. Why does this happen? Who knows for sure, but I suspect a lot of it has to do with a hiring manager being unable or unwilling to do battle with their superiors, or possibly the HR department, over who they can hire. It's too bad too, because these are exactly the people that can a great company.

Let's say you're hiring a Customer Service Manager, or an Operations Manager or a Project Manager. Does it really matter if they have 10 years of experience instead of 5? Sure, it would be ideal to get an extremely talented person who also had a ton of experience. But why put experience up front? Why make it a litmus test for whether someone gets past whatever your initial screening process is? Experience is great, but it's by no means a substitute for talent.

When someone says: "I want a person with at least 10 to 15 years worth of experience for this role", what they really mean is, "I'm assuming that someone with 10 to 15 years of experience is going to have the skill and talent required to be successful." That may be the case; but it might also be that they're nothing more than good corporate politicians.

Businesses need to operate like sports teams in this regard. Sports teams scout based on talent first, and experience second. They look at past performance, speed, agility, and whatever else they're interested in. The experience that a player brings to the table is certainly beneficial, but it's talent the gets the player through the door. Let's say it another way; How many 60 year olds have been playing golf longer than Tiger Woods? That may be an extreme example, but you get the point.

When you're looking to hire someone, talent comes first.