Experience: Help Or Hinder?
A key question to consider in any recruitment.
The famous saying goes something like this… “Experience: By the time you get it you’re too old to do anything with it.”
When recruiting, we always wonder what importance we should give to the relative experience of the candidates that we meet. This subject was also at the heart of the Democratic primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2007-2008.
At the time, Obama explained that experience is not in itself an asset: While Clinton was more experienced than him, it didn’t prevent her from committing what he claimed to be serious mistakes – such as her Senate vote in favor of the war in Iraq – that he avoided. Simply put, Obama asserted that experience is not inevitably synonymous with performance.
For my part, I do not consider experience as a standalone criterion when recruiting. It can be an asset – for example, it seems to me that intuition, which is very important in our trades, builds on experience. But it can also be a weakness – it may happen that those who have a lot of experience are more reluctant to innovate or take risks, thinking they already know the outcome of actions they could take.
That is why, in my opinion, the best companion of experience is mind-openness. Together, experience and mind-openness allow us to draw honest lessons from past events and to extend the range of possibilities beyond what we have already experienced.