The Seven Decisions in Making a Great Hire: Experience

I once heard a person say that they do not know how a trip will turn out until they are on the way back.  Experience is a powerful teacher.  Reading about performing certain tasks, attending classes on those tasks, looking at pictures of a those tasks, and discussing those tasks all combined do not illustrate how a person will do those tasks.  Knowing the experiences of a person who has actually performed specific tasks is a strong indicator of how well a person will do those same tasks in the future.

Additionally, becoming effective at some tasks can only be achieved through experience.  Jockeys can learn to become better jockeys through many methods: coaching, reading, observing others.  However, no great jockey became a great jockey without the experience of riding a horse.

I recently read Empire of the Summer Moon, a book by S. C. Gwynne.  The purpose of the book is to illustrate how experience transformed tens of thousands of Comanches from the American High Plains into the most effective “light cavalry on the planet.”  As successful nomadic warriors and hunters before the Spanish brought the horse to the America, the Comanches developed techniques of warring and hunting on foot. They gained advantage through deception, position, and mobility.  Each day, the Comanches’ nomadic experience was one in which their existence depended on mobility, logistics, strategies, tactics, and weaponry. Although the tools in today’s warfare have advanced with technology, the experiences of the Comanches in moving warriors, supplies, and weaponry to exploit the enemy with surprise, deception in detection, and retreat to safety are similar to the strategies used today with attacks from air bases, which in some cases is thousands of miles from the enemy.

When the Spanish brought horses to America, the Comanches joined their experience as highly successful nomads into the experience of far more successful nomads with their daily use of horses.

For two hundred years, their experiences as nomads made the Comanches an indomitable nation far superior in military power than any other indigenous people who met European expansion.  Thousands of Comanches accurately shooting arrows at full speed on horseback and then being able to move their force hundreds of miles in just a few days was impossible for the Europeans to comprehend at the time.  If you are interested in learning more about successful nomadic people, I highly recommend Empire of the Summer Moon.

So along with talentskillknowledge, and personality, experience is essential part effectiveness performance.  A hiring manager who is skilled at assessing how well experience indicates successful performance in future experience can add more insights to making great hires.

Does the applicant have the talent, skills, knowledge, personality, experience, potential for long-term success, and the personal goals to fit the job?  In the next discussion, I will look at potential.