Experience doesn't predict a new hire's success [by Amirah Rashid]

Jan 07, 2020

Amirah Rashid is a Business Administration apprentice in the People Experience team at Faculty.

 

Where does this all begin? I think for the majority of us, the whole idea about having tons of experience in order to be successful started in high school. I remember being told how having relevant work experience meant that I would have an advantage when it came to applying to jobs, but I often question how accurate this claim is. This topic intrigued me especially when I started working in the People team at my current job. I am currently involved in the hiring process and I work closely with different hiring teams and there is definitely a wide range of opinions on experience requirements. So, instead of just following people’s thoughts and opinions I decided to research this myself! After tons of reading and debating, here is what I found... 

 

There is a weak correlation between pre-hire experience and performance. 

Just because someone has many years worth of experience, it does not mean that they will perform well and exceed expectations. Success is determined by a number of factors and working in a People role, I found that things such as the culture of a company, team ethic, environment, values and motivation has a larger impact on success than experience. 

Think about us apprentices; we all come from a diverse range of backgrounds. However, let's be honest, we probably do not hold as much experience as someone else who has worked in a sector for 10 years. But does this mean that we won’t be successful? I think not! From all the apprentices I’ve met I definitely think that being determined, ambitious and willing to learn can make you just as successful. Always remember that just because someone has been in a role longer than you have does not mean that they will necessarily be more successful! 

How is success measured? 

Success tends to be measured in two ways: 

Supervisor evaluations e.g. through quarterly or annual reviews 

Or 

Objective, quantitative metrics e.g. sales and survey statistics 

Through reviews, your supervisor or line manager can predict your future success based on what you have already achieved. However, this in my opinion can be quite subjective as each manager has their own definition of success in a role unless there is a set framework for success. 

Metrics… This could potentially be a better way of measuring success as there is evidential data to back what you’re doing. If your statistics show that you’re achieving greatly… what more is there to argue?! 

How is experience measured? 

The measures used for experience tend to be quite basic. The typical measures are: 

  • Number of jobs you’ve had 

  • The tenure at your previous role 

  • Total years of working in the sector 

  • Have you worked in a similar role? 

Now, these questions are great if you want to compare statistics on experience, however, it does not provide you with any ideas on the candidate’s quality of work. Some suggest that we should look at the quality of work and behaviours from previous roles instead of experience. Someone could be in a job for 5 years but could be underperforming compared to someone who’s been in a job for 3 years but has excelled throughout. Instead of asking a candidate how many years experience they have maybe ask how many specific tasks they have relating to the role. 

In my opinion, identifying whether or not a candidate suits the culture in a company also counts towards measuring success. As much as it is a company’s responsibility to create a culture for people to thrive in, everyone has their own preferences so we need to see if they suit the culture of the company as it could stop them from being successful if it does not suit their needs and ways of working. 

I always thought I wanted to work in a super corporate company that required me to wear fancy clothes and shoes but actually, that completely changed and I’ve actually succeeded more in a start-up, flat-structured and People-focused company. 

Some tips when thinking about recruitment (obviously depending on the role and your organisation!) 

Include questions focused on behaviours and attitudes:

- This is good to include during the early stages of an interview to get an understanding of how the candidate responds to situations. It can also help you identify if they adhere to your company’s culture and values. 

Look at people’s knowledge and skills

- Not everyone would have gone to an amazing university or school and everyone has unique circumstances, however, this does not mean that a candidate would not be great for a role. There are so many new ways that people can gain knowledge and skills beyond education so take a deep dive into this. Think beyond the scope of education. Just because someone has a top education doesn’t mean their personality would completely suit the company or the role. 

So what am I trying to say? 

Yes of course, to a certain degree, especially at the beginning of someone's job, experience does matter to a slight extent, however, over time the significance of experience does not have such a large impact. As society is changing and there are more options that people can explore beyond education and work experience it would be great to tailor ways of recruiting and viewing success to take these changes into account. Let me know what you think in the comments below! Do you think experience has a key influence on success?


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