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I have grey hair ... but it doesn't mean I know anything!
I have been in the work force for a LOT of years ... but it doesn't mean I know anything!
I meet people who have the same experiences over and over, but don't seem to learn from them ... so they don't know much!
I meet people who have been doing the same thing day in, day out, for a LOT of years ... so they have SOME experience (whatever it took them to get good at what they do ... if they are in fact good) but they don't have LOTS of experience.
What is my point?
Experience is not judged just by time, experience is judged by quality.
If I have been managing the same group of people for 30 years then I have, a lot of years "in" and some experience. On the other hand, if I have been a manager for 10 years with increasing, and different, responsibilities during that time, then most likely the experience gained is significant ... particularly compared to the 30 year manager just mentioned.
If it takes 1 year to master a role and someone has been in that role for 10 years do they have 10 years of experience? Or do they have one year of experience, ten times over?
Very often in a job description I will see a mandatory for a particular skill .. it might say, 5 years of experience selling software solutions. Really? Does someone who has been selling software solutions for 5 years really have much more to offer than someone who has been selling it for 2 years, but has been selling other things for 5 years?
In your own career, seek to add experience ... not just "time in"! Don't ever take the easy route, push yourself and learn.
In looking to hire people be open to the fact that there is a law of diminishing returns beyond a certain point of experience. A person might become a GREAT salesperson after 2 or 3 years of GREAT experience ... but
(a) they might really only have 1 year of experience three times over (if they have not grown and learned and invested in them-self);
(b) it does not mean someone with 5 years of experience will be any better;
(c) Do you really NEED a person with all of that experience or do you want someone who is more affordable and can fit into your way of doing things?
Having a conversation with a truly experienced person is a breath of fresh air ... they are just tough to find!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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