Are Experience and Skills Overrated?

I was talking to the CEO of a management consulting firm the other day and was surprised to hear him say that he doesn’t require new consultants to have – or plan on getting – an MBA.  He feels that it’s more important that recruits are able to work effectively on the teams he’s put in place.

And he’s not alone.

According to new research by Right Management, the talent and career management arm of Manpower, organizations prefer to hire employees who are a good motivational fit with the team and the organization’s culture. During the first quarter of 2010, Right Management surveyed more than 800 senior human resource professionals and other business leaders throughout North America to learn what contributes most to accelerated performance. The results?

  • Organizational culture/motivational fit: 31%
  • Interpersonal behaviors: 26%
  • Critical reasoning/judgment: 21%
  • Technical skills: 12%
  • Relevant experience: 11%

“Immediate, on-the-job performance is so essential these days,” said Michael Haid, Senior Vice President of Global Solutions at Right Management. “New hires need to get up to speed fast and make a smooth transition into the new environment.”

Greatness is subjective, not objective.

Even so, these findings were amazing to me.  The data proves that you could be the most qualified employee with the most impressive resume in the world, but if you’re unable to get along with your co-workers and perform well under pressure and in a way that the organization considers meaningful, it won’t matter.

Your first priority: reputation management.

If you want to assure your managers of your potential, you shouldn’t stop doing good work and mastering new skills.  But you should also place an emphasis on developing deep and positive relationships and looking for opportunities to show that your values are aligned with those of your organization.  Actively manage your reputation and don’t shy away from challenges, since apparently, the mere act of using good judgment to address a problem may be more impactful than the result.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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