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Experience is Overrated in the Corporate World

experience overrated


Experience is Overrated in the Corporate World

At age 19, Lionel Messi had shown the world that it takes more than experience to be good at what we do. At 22 years, Messi won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award by record voting margins. Companies prefer to hire people who have once held a similar position to the one which they are hiring. This is true and important for many companies. Often, experience plays a big role in determining whether a job applicant is qualified or not.

If you consider what is meant by ‘experience’ in most cases, you realize it is heavily skewed towards one metric: the length of time spent doing a particular job. However, this experience in itself is a weak indicator of future success, experts say.

Experience May be Bad Experience

Having admitted that Hilary Clinton has more political experience than him, Donald Trump told Hilary during the campaigns leading to the 2016 American elections that what she has as a politician is bad experience. In the corporate world, people learn a lot of bad things over a long time whilst doing their jobs. Under pressure, many salespeople crack and cut corners in order to show decent figures at the end of the month. Such experiences are repeated until it becomes part of them; the normal way of doing things and getting results. This experience becomes problematic at some points in your career when you find yourself in environments or positions where the operational systems in place prevent you from cutting corners. In my line of work, I have met many people with bad experience. The unfortunate thing is that many of them are unaware their long years of experience is a bad one; a period of learning and practicing that which is not professionally right. Sadly.

Experience May not be Transferrable

It is easy to assume that a candidate from a successful firm will bring valuable and usable knowledge about the processes and policies that made that firm so successful, Geoffrey James posted. There are no such guarantees. What recruiters actually do is to take a hedged gamble with an experienced applicant. A person may be successful in one organisation but may not do well in his new organisation for several reasons. Organizational culture, support from team members, compensation and other benefits, organizational leadership, operating environment, are among the reasons.

Experience is Good for Today, not the Future

Experience acquired in performing tasks in the past is not necessarily required to perform tomorrow’s task. Take a look at the value of typists few decades ago. Contrast it to the value placed on typing skills in today’s world of business. Similarly, skills and knowledge deployed to manage risks that prevailed in the past may no more be relevant in even identifying cyber risks to a business today, let alone in managing them. To prepare adequately for the future of your business, you need workers who are well equipped to face the future; innovative, problem-solving, tech-savvy, and emotional intelligence. These are not necessarily dependent on work experience.

Experience May Be Specific to Industries

A successful CEO in the banking industry may not necessarily succeed in same position in a mining company. Similarly, a successful salesman in an auto company may not succeed as a salesman in an insurance company. The differences across industries may be subtle but it is such subtle differences that actually make all the big differences in performance. Consider footballers who excel in one league in Europe only to flop heavily in another on the same continent.

Too Much Depends on Experience

The corporate world places too much weight on experience. Hiring, promotion, compensation, recommendations, and firing are many of practices where experience is given a big consideration. Fortunately, some businesses are moving towards using other objective metrics such as what you can do irrespective of previous experience. This also, is however difficult to assess, hence why many businesses still rely on job experience.

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