Experience is not arbitrary

Applying for a job usually requires 2 years experience, 5+ years experience.

What an arbitrary way to measure the divergent & complex experiences of your applicants.

If we assume that a good employee is somebody that is pro-active, that learns, that has worked in diverse contexts, how does an arbitrary time period help?

Does it filter candidates only with those qualities? No, potentially the opposite.

Let’s take two candidates:

  1. John studied Graphic Design & was employed by a large, well-known corporate two & a half years ago. They decided to build a new app, so he starting working more as a User Interface designer. Because of the size of the design team, he has worked exclusively on their in-app artwork.
  2. Jane joined her start-up as an intern, having studied Philosophy at university. She didn’t know anything about tech. She barely knew what an iPhone was. Yet within a year she has self-taught all of the core skills of User Interface design. She has also starting some basic programming in order to build her own online portfolio.

Our arbitrary hiring process would most likely filter out Jane pretty quickly. Which leaves you stuck with John: someone who is not pro-active, who has stuck to an area he already knows well, who has not demonstrated that he excels in anything in particular.

What do you think the development curves of these two individuals will look like? Who will be able to thrive in an ever-changing world? To adapt to your company’s new product? New market?

What sort of message does it send out to candidates? “Just come in, do your time, get to 5 years so you can put ‘Senior’ in front of your job title.”

Your hiring process hints at your company culture. Start hiring because of arbitrary factors & you’ll get average candidates. Mention an arbitrary number in your job description & you’ll attract average candidates. Ones that won’t push themselves. That don’t push the boundaries & the norms. That will just settle in & do their time.

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Henry Latham

Henry Latham

Founder, Prod MBA

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