What is experience?

‘Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.’

Aldous Huxley

And this is an important fact we must recognise as we look at changing the entire HR industry, the way we define job requirements and perform searches or tests for our ideal candidates. I strongly believe that recruitment agencies and the next generation of HR consultancies will need to start looking into this.

For the longest time, the world have remained stable enough for strategies to stay roughly the same and then it is just about being able to execute well, exploit the same strategies again and again. Most of them focused on the demand markets, with the labour and supply-side more a matter of long-term fundamentals. The competitive context shifted and as labour markets got disrupted; firms are now competing both in labour and demand markets in the short term, forcing them to have to develop models and strategies that aligns both.

What this means is that we probably won’t be able to find the same kinds of profile of people who have had 10-20 years experience in 1 or at the most 2 things. We would have people who had experience in a dozen things. We need to start embracing what is good about people like that: they learn fast, they desire to perform, they might be less silo-minded and perhaps less entrenched in a fixed way of doing things.

Companies that change their paradigm would continue to deliver goods and services well into the next decade and become new champions. Those that continue thinking labour is for them to mould into their own cultures to deliver the goods and services they always did; they might eventually wind down for lack of suitable manpower or management talents.