An interesting topic of conversation at the moment is whether industry experience is valued the same if not more than technical experience. Being in the recruitment industry, we see industry experience come up a lot as a job requirement for sourcing potential candidates. Does that necessarily mean that someone with industry experience would perform the role better than someone who doesn’t have industry experience? Does industry experience qualify as a critical success factor?

I know there are a lot of variables to consider when answering these questions and generally it varies from case to case. All I wish to do is to get you to think outside the square. We can all come up with an argument as to why skillsit’s important but I would like to explore why it’s not ‘a job critical requirement’.

How realistic is it for an employer to find someone that meets all their criteria – industry experience (Mining), systems experience (Sap and Pronto), qualifications (must be CA or MBA qualified)? In a candidate short market I believe a little flexibility will go along way. As recruitment consultants we have on numerous occasions experienced having an exceptional candidate who could with all confidence be able to perform and excel in a particular role however due to certain criteria (generally industry or systems experience) were not considered.

What ever happened to transferable skills?

If the role is an urgent fill or the industry is very specialized I can completely see the relevance of the heavy industry or systems weighting. However, by not interviewing or even considering candidates ‘outside the typical mould’ are you really getting the right candidate for the job? There are plenty of highly experienced and highly skilled candidates out in the market however not all will fit the exact mould you are looking for.

After all someone has to gain industry or systems experience somehow. In essence somewhere down the track someone will give these candidates the benefit of the doubt and then you risk good talent going to your competitors. All I ask is if all the other boxes are ticked in the recruitment process then think twice before making industry or systems experience the job critical requirement.

Chanelle Stewart – Consultant

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