10 Years, 15 Years, 20 Years . . . Who Cares

I have never been a fan of “experience.”  It has always driven recruiters crazy.   When I’m building a job description, I refuse to put in number of years experience.   I think experience is a hollow metric too many people lean too heavily on.   Experience suggests someone is good because they have spent years doing something over and over.   The fact that experience “suggests” is exactly what bothers me about it.  If someone can show me they know what they are doing, experience doesn’t need to be part of the equation.   I think too much is equated to experience.  Just because someone spends 10, 15, 20 years doing something doesn’t actually mean they are good at it.  I’ve seen my share of people who spend years doing the same thing in a never ending loop of repetition, never getting any better, never growing, never giving back.   Experience incorporates too many assumptions of capability where demonstration is what is needed.

Show me!

I want to see you know what your talking about. I want to hear HOW you do things.  I want to know WHY you make the decisions you make.  I want to know WHAT you focus on.  I want to you to explain to me how you sell, why you sell and what you use to sell.   I don’t like to make assumptions where I can get actual data.

I want data that shows me how a candidate prospects.  Show me a prospecting process you’ve developed.  Share your prospecting philosophy.  I want data that shows me how you engage customers or how you manage an account.  Show me a governance plan you created.  Give me a work flow document.  Show me something that says you know what your doing and that it is deliberate.

Too many people hide behind experience.  Unions have mastered this.  The “Hey, she’s awesome. She’s has 15 years experience doing blah, blah” doesn’t cut it for me.  What I want to get is the “She’s awesome, she does blah, blah, leverages blah, blah, blah and knows how to blah, blah, blah”

Using experience to express qualification is like slight of hand.  The magician says, hey look over here at these years of experience, as he quietly hides the lack of impressive know how and ability with the other hand.

When we use experience as a criteria for qualification we are applying our own assumptions.   We say to ourselves; 10 years of experience equals X, 15 equals Y, etc.   We apply some assumed level of capability or qualification to the years of experience.   This is a flawed approach.  Why use assumptions when we can get proof.

I want proof.  Call me a control freak, but experience is too hollow.

Do you sell proof or your experience?