Written by Guest Author | October 31, 2017
We all know how important skills are in the 2010s workplace – but are technical skills really a match for experience?
The answer to that question is so often “no”. Sometimes, a candidate may not have the skills that are needed for a position, but they may have experience – whether gained in a specific role or general life – that puts them in a strong position in certain situations.
That element of experience, and the trust you may have in someone who possesses more of it compared to a much more ‘skilled’ but less experienced candidate, is not necessarily easily picked up through the use of recruitment software and other popular sourcing methods. It therefore needs to be carefully considered in your hiring process.
Here are some key areas in which experience can win out over skills when you are comparing candidates.
When a strategy needs to be developed around a certain skill set, do you turn to the person who is most obviously blessed with such skills?
The answer is… not necessarily. Given that even a strategy based largely around one area can often interact with and have an impact on other areas, it may actually be a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ person who is best-placed to weave the right strategy for you, rather than an expert in just one particular set of skills.
Are you looking for someone who can slot straight into your company as a capable project manager? If so, even a holder of a management degree won’t necessarily be the best candidate if they’re competing against someone with ample hands-on experience and a track record of success.
Management, after all, is really an art more than a science. It’s a skill that develops with experience, rather than being automatically possessed by whoever has been most extensively educated.
An ability to communicate well with a wide range of parties is definitely one of the most sought-after ‘soft’ skills in candidates, and with good reason. For one thing, while there are many experts in particular skills, they aren’t necessarily the best people to directly converse with your clients.
Just think of all of the issues that client communication can present: unexpected setbacks that must be explained, difficult personalities, the potential for confrontation and fallouts… you need someone on your staff who’s pretty good at dealing with all of that.
At the very least, you shouldn’t risk making your clients feel inadequate or uneducated, unless it is absolutely required. So leave your skills experts to apply those skills, and have your best communicator handle client communication.
Sometimes, of course, you just have the instinctive sense that a certain person’s experience will make them more useful to your company than that candidate who is theoretically more skilled. Combine such ‘educated hunches’ with the use of the most sophisticated recruitment software to pinpoint, pool and narrow down candidates, and you will be able to maximise your chances of hiring success throughout 2018.