Experience VS Skills: Which Is More Important for Hiring?

Experience VS Skills: Which Is More Important for Hiring?
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Jess Low
Jess Low
Having been an Executive Search Consultant for more than 10 years, Jess Low believes that the success of an enterprise depends solely on employees. She has successfully assisted more than 10,000 job seekers from all over the world in getting into top-tier local and foreign enterprises, recommending and arranging them into various fields.
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20 years ago, the career scene placed much emphasis on education and qualification. As degree holders became more common in recent years, employers turned their focus to skills and experience – basic demand and supply.

Skills are important for employers to immediately identify an applicant’s fitness for the role. A college degree isn’t Google’s official guide to hiring, but skills, logic and grit. 

Which candidate would you prefer, a high school graduate with extraordinary programming skills and has worked on multiple projects, or a university graduate with no real-world experience and only passed theoretical tests? The answer is clear for most people.

However, technical skills are not the sole hiring factor, but interpersonal skills as well. No point hiring someone with excellent digital marketing skills if he/ she brings negativity to the team and has zero passion for work and the company.

So, the right technical skills, interpersonal skills and attitude. How about experiences? Most employers emphasize on experience these days, and it is not difficult to understand why. 

Skills are about potential. If employers are urgent about hiring someone, experience is normally the deciding factor because they would be risk-averse. Someone with high “potential” hardly provides instantaneous return on investment compared to the other candidate with years of experience and consistent performance.

But be careful. Short-term assurance is nice but it may be harmful in the long-run. Companies focusing too much on experience may not be able to innovate and grow. You may hear “I’ve done this for 10 years and it works” too often, and you’d wish that you hired fresh candidates who are more daring to innovate. 

With time, experience can be taught, gained and honed to anyone. What’s important is that you choose employees who have the right personality – eager to learn, full of determination and bring positivity to your company.

My Take On This Never-ending Debate

When hiring talents, consider a balance of academic qualifications, skills, experience, attitude and mindset. Emphasise more on candidates’ attitude because hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. 

Soft-skills such as leadership and communication skills are in high-demand because these people are not only smart and driven, but they improve special collaborations, positive interaction and ultimately work productivity.    

Successful companies have employees equipped with an explorer mindset. They lack knowledge and experience in uncharted territories but their curiosity to learn and undying determination boosted innovations in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 – traits that all companies desperately need nowadays.

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