Hi! And how are you all? I really do hope that all of you are fine and having a great time in your career as well as your personal lives. As for me, it has been a busy month doing training from Kota Bahru right down to Singapore. The month of May will be even busier, but I am not complaining. A highlight in May was when I attended the Lancaster University Alumni in Renaissance Hotel in which both, the chancellor and the vice-chancellor were present. It was really good meeting up with fellow Lancastrians and a great time to reminisce about old times at the University.
This month I want to talk to you about this thing called work experience. I am always fascinated when I look at recruitment advertisements in the newspapers and one of the things always stated is that they would like someone who has at least a certain number of years of experience in a particular function, at least 10 years in a marketing function for example. Somehow I get the impression that the recruiters think that quantity of experience is very important. I do not deny that this is important, as we usually perceive that if someone has gone through 10 years in a particular function, then they ‘would have seen it all’. I however think that this is flawed thinking. My view is that the ‘quality’ of experience is definitely more critical.
IT IS THE QUALITY OF EXPERIENCE WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE QUANTITY
Let me illustrate this with an example. Let us say there is a HR manager who has performed this function for 10 over years in a ‘stable’ company where there has been no major HR activity other than the normal operational aspects. He has 10 years experience, but it is limited to basically ‘doing the same things, ten times over’. On the other hand, we have another HR manager with only four years of experience, but during that time, his company was acquired by a bigger organization who re-vamped the whole company; he had to conduct employee layoffs twice and he had to undergo the ordeal of getting the long overdue Collective Agreement signed with a very hostile Union. From an experience viewpoint, although he has only four years experience, in terms of quality I would grade it higher than the person with 10 years experience. In the process of selecting new staff, we must ask ourselves, what is the purpose of getting experienced people? The main objective is to ensure that if similar situations should occur in the future, the person involved will be able to handle it better. Different experiences also help sharpen the skills and competencies of the individual concerned, such that he is able to handle the operational aspects of HR better in the future.
In measuring the value of experience, we should always look carefully for evidence of results and accomplishments. Make sure the resume or work summary of the applicant focuses on results rather than the activities themselves. I would rather hire a person who scores 20 runs, than the other person who swung his bat a hundred times. These achievements must be examined in depth during the interview, by effective, probing questions.
The next time you conduct a selection process; do make a concerted effort to probe into the experiences of the person carefully. I assure you, it is worth the time spent. Choose quality over quantity every time! It will most certainly pay off in the future.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I really do hope you have enjoyed reading the above, and I have in a small way, added to your management knowledge. Until my next newsletter, take care and I do hope you will all have a great month ahead.