Blog: Adding experiences to years of experience

Talent Acquisition

Adding experiences to years of experience

Listing experience instead of experiences makes a candidate reliant on chronology, a fast disappearing reason for hiring
Adding experiences to years of experience

As the candidate walked out of her cabin, Anita looked at his resume again. Five years of experience, yet he talked about doing the same thing every year—The same product, the same customers, similar projects (okay, the names were different). Anita put the resume in her ‘active’ file – the rejects.

Doing the same thing over and over again was once a barometer for expertise. So, the longer one was an engineer, the better an engineer one was perceived to be. There’s still some truth in this, but only a little. Given the dynamics of the market, people are expected to perform more, and diverse activities alongside their jobs. So proficiency suffices and experts become…consultants!

This is for those who wish to be considered ‘senior’ just because they have befriended chronology and expect it to deliver success for them. This is also for leaders to recognize the signs…

The fact is, staying on in a single role, function or even organization, doing the same thing for an extended period of time has serious disadvantages:

People grow roots: They become so good at what they are doing that they (a) choose not to embrace change (b) become the equivalent of a banyan tree – under which nothing/no one grows. Eventually they cannot be redeployed when the need arises.

Boredom and complacency: When jobs get done with eyes closed, excitement soon fades away and things become mechanical. The first stage in the cancer of stagnation has set in.

The happy – satisfied paradox: Leaders are satisfied but not happy. They get what they need quickly, but here’s a resource wasting away. The employee is happy but not satisfied. The money is good – up to a point, but the work is repetitive. But why move?

Success is perishable: We all know that success is a perishable commodity. Applause today becomes business as usual tomorrow. Success needs to be unfettered by job descriptions to be sustainable!

Hiring managers look for a wide range of data points before even considering a candidate. One of these – and an important one at that – is what else the person has been doing all along. The experiences, more than the experience, count and variation of roles invariably resonates.

Variations indicate an energy, ability – and willingness – to learn new things: Level 1 of ambition! There is always appreciation for individuals who have looked around their ecosystem, identified and experienced interesting new things either in areas peripheral to their role, by way of special projects, or cross-functional learning – even a short stint in a different geography.

Sure, everyone has a day job and anything new would have to be done on one’s own time. However, sacrificing a few beers-with-friends evenings is a small ‘deposit’ on a great investment in tomorrow! Here are five things that can enhance the experience quotient:

Doing something new every year: Reaching out for a new project. Looking around – there’s always plenty to do, improve, change, help the leader with…

Acquiring some new learning: Whether academic, like learning Java, or mastering the principles of marketing, or a soft skill like how to influence people. Learning is the best gift one can give to oneself. And thanks to the MOOCs, much learning is free!

Teaching: It is said that the best way to learn is to teach! Most educational institutions welcome people from the industry. Practical experiences make terrific learning for the next gen workforce-in-training. Teaching, while helping to revise one’s own learning, also gives unique and eye-opening insights into the DNA of the next generation.

Mentoring: Provided it is done diligently, mentoring is like an automatic promotion, with people responsibilities! Taking charge of someone’s career – even one from another line of business or organization – is a hugely gratifying experience. Mentors are forced to demonstrate maturity, besides imparting learning and catalyzing thinking. Hey, someone’s career could be at stake.

Befriending technology, not chronology: Easier said than done, even for those with degrees in engineering! Technology has permeated every job. It’s everywhere and in everything we do – and it is only getting better! Look at all the black-hair around. Chronology in the workplace is at best nice-to-have. Bosses are only going to get younger!

While hiring managers like people who can-do, they usually prefer those who have-done. First timers are experimental, therefore risky and, possibly, costly. It is the experiential that delivers the goods – faster, better and cheaper.

Stagnocrats with their moribund career-histories will always clog the talent pipeline and waste everybody’s time. Like Anita’s candidate – he actually had just one year of experience repeated over and over, for five years!

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, #Jobs

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