Job Hunting Tips

Are Years of Experience a True Measure When Applying for a New Job

Kirsty HeneganPosted by Kirsty
min read
Years Of Experience Job

My partner was thinking of moving on from his current role and in true fashion, he came to me to have a chat about being a job seeker, editing his CV and applying for roles (not that he ever listens to any of my advice!)

When it came to looking for a new position, I noticed a lot of job advertisements on job boards ask for X amount years of experience, which is something I have been guilty of when writing ads. But what do years of experience really mean?

Understandably, for more senior roles you may need to have worked in a particular sector before as the amount of years usually equals more confidence and the need for less training. However, some employees are constantly upskilling, taking on new tasks and gaining more exposure than others, so does the years of experience really mean you have more skill than others?

When giving internal promotions, most companies (that I have worked for anyway) give promotions based on measures. My sister is an engineer and before she could be promoted to a senior role, her log book had to be signed off by her manager, to say she could confidently do X Y and Z. Some of her colleagues were promoted earlier than her and some after. At people2people we must achieve certain targets and complete training to move up the career ladder. So why when we move on to a new company, are employers asking for years of experience rather than skills?

As a recruiter or a hiring manager we need to look at the language we are using when writing our advertisements.  Are we really looking for someone who has six years’ experience in their field or are we looking for someone who has experience doing X, Y & Z? When taking a brief for the position ask the hiring manager to elaborate on why they want six years of experience, what is it they actually want the employee to know and understand before starting the role? By simply asking for a set number of years’ experience, we could be ruling out someone who is a perfect match for our role.