Why Years Of Experience Is The Wrong Metric To Judge Capability


People used to often come up to my Father and ask for a raise or promotion by saying they possessed 5/10/20 years of experience. The first question my father used to ask was “5/10/20 years of doing what?”

What he was implying was one can sit and do very little for 20 years but somehow still hold on to their job. But that doesn’t necessarily make them deserving of a raise or promotion. This is especially true in Government jobs but is also increasingly becoming true in Private jobs where people do just enough not to be fired.

On the other hand, there are cases where people have more accomplishments in 5 years compared to those who have been in a job/industry for 20 years. But they are often overlooked due to “lack of experience”, even if they actually have more experience in terms of getting things done. Is it fair to then say that the person with the 20 years of experience is better simply because he has been around longer? Of course, if one has been around for 20 years and has ALSO had great accomplishments, then they are clearly the best person for the job.

Here is a simple analogy. Which actor in Hollywood/Bollywood deserves to be paid better? One who has been around for 30 years but has only done small, inconsequential roles and has been inconsistent even in that or someone who has already been around for 3 years but already started started delivering hit/critically acclaimed performances? The answer is obvious.

The only criteria to judge a person should be their accomplishments and the subsequent value they can bring to your organization, not solely the years of experience they have.

As Muhammad Ali said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count,”the logical extension of his quote in the corporate world would be “Don’t count their years, make sure their years have counted!”

To invite the author Anubhav Srivastava for speaking at your organization or for consulting queries, please email anubhav101@gmail.com. Visit  http://anubhavsrivastava.com/about-anubhav for complete credentials.