BNET Readers: Forget Experience v. Youth, Focus on Fit

Last Updated Sep 5, 2008 12:54 PM EDT

Generation gapApparently, yesterday's post on the value of hiring experienced candidates with "baggage" hit a nerve: 34 comments in 24 hours and counting. There is a broad range of voices from staunch defenders of fresh recruits to their harshest critics ("they'll happily sing Kumbaya together around the campfire of failure," "outrageously high starting salary expectations, a tendency to bounce from one job to another"). But one point emerges out of the conversation: experience v. willingness to learn may have been the wrong question.

The real issue, according to these BNET commenters is about matching employee skills and personalities to the corporate culture. Or as suzette_pasustent puts it, "in the end, it's the FIT that matters." The right question to ask then is how firms can best guarantee a good match both through the recruitment process and training or mentoring.

And some of you have some pretty harsh words for any HR department who places blame on a new hire alone, leaving management unexamined. mmccomber, for instance, believes that "the example shown in the article about the experienced adjustor seems to me to be a failure of management to ensure the message about the mission got to the employee.... It irks me to think that people think they can hire somebody "experienced" and not provide the least bit of 'orientation' and continuing guidance, much less any training."

cdusberger agrees that we should be less focused on baggage, and more on training: "I find that 'baggage' relates to an employee who is a poor fit for the job whether the individual is inept or merely trained in a method incompatible with their current position." And simon.greener chimes in, "It seems to me that those doing the interviewing, assessing and hiring need to spend more time understanding the applicants and less time blaming others and stereotyping." jcouturier7282 also emphasizes training, asking: "Has anyone started a new job with their first day being 100% productive?"Answer: no.
Perhaps stuart.fawcett sums it up best:

What kind of company would hire a senior employee without taking the time to understand the business the candidate was coming from, understanding the reasons for them leaving that company, and then failing to brief the candidate on the company strategy at both the interviews and at probation review meetings? Such a company has inbuilt HR baggage that it might do better to address first.
In other words, it's the baggage in HR we should be worried about.

(Image of the generation gap by Joi, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.