Experience vs Experience

Asking for ‘X’ years of experience in a given profession is a common tick box exercise, that a lot of the time, its downsides aren’t fully thought through and can be a massive roadblock for job applicants. Whether would-be applicants give up at the first hurdle because they’re just shy of the years of experience requirement or the inundated hiring manager passes over the CV because, on paper, there are more experienced candidates.

But where do you draw the line? And is there a method to this proverbial madness?
All hiring managers will have a rough idea of the seniority of the individual that they require, using X years of experience within an industry is generally a good rule of thumb to ensure the individuals that are applying have the right skills, without having to write out an exhaustive job specification. So yes, there is valid reasoning behind the process, but sometimes it can come with its drawbacks, as alluded to above.

On paper, an individual with 10 years of experience as a Fund Accountant could be perceived as being better qualified than one with 6 years, but if the former has only ever worked for one client with less complex procedures, whilst the latter has worked for a number of varied and complex clients, which one is likely to be the better candidate? But if the advert is limiting it to applicants with 8 or 10 years of experience or more, it’s likely the latter candidate won’t apply.

How A Recruiter Can Help

Whilst we can’t change the hiring market overnight, the benefit we do have as recruiters is an open channel of communication with our clients, being able to pick up the phone and have a frank conversation with them about the job on offer and the candidates we have that we believe best fit the bill, even if they’re not mirror images of the job description advertised. In fact, very regularly, our clients will interview candidates off the back of our personal recommendations, where they might not have normally have got through the first round of applications if going it alone.
It’s why we always insist on meeting prospective candidates in person first, we need to get an understanding of their personality, their strengths, their weaknesses and be able to speak to them in an environment that doesn’t have the pressure of an interview, so that when we see a job that fits their needs, we can confidently brief in the candidate to our client and get them a foot in the door.

How To Go It Alone

That being said, sometimes you’re applying for a job under your own steam, so, what happens when you’re missing a few years off the required experience? If you can, try and open a direct dialogue with the hiring manager by email first, openly state that you’re interested in applying for the position but understand you fall short of one or two of the specific requirements, but, counter them with something extra that you can bring to the table. Close by asking if that’s all OK you’d like to apply and would they like to see your CV. It’s a good ice-breaker to hopefully give you a better chance at not having your CV swept under the rug, if the odds are stacked against you.
As an alternative if you’re not feeling overly confident with your chances, get in touch with myself or the team here and we can have an honest chat about the job, check through your CV and give you some solutions for giving you the best chance at scoring that ideal position.