"Thank you for your application. Your skills and qualifications are excellent. Unfortunately, you do not have sufficient experience in the area of [ insert area of expertise], which is critical to this position. Therefore, I regret to inform you that we have chosen to hire a candidate who has more experience in this area." - Sounds familiar?
Experience, as we all know, is created over time. Try Googling "Career Experience" and you find yourself with returns on Why do you need experience, How do you gain experience, Where can you find exposures to enhance experience, When will you get enough experience. But who ever tells you WHAT experience truly mean?
As a HR practitioner and a candidate myself, I've been rejecting (and of course rejected) based on lack of experience throughout job seeking journeys. Though we walk away with feedback knowing we didn't meet the mark, something is still quite missing from the equation.
The knowledge of this thing called "Experience" is so frequently used in the workplace, but its simply a skill that is so difficult to put into words.
What Exactly is Career Experience, or Experience for that matter?
While indulging myself in a book recently, I had a brief light bulb moment that I really wanted to share it here with everyone. This powerful illustration can truly amplify our understanding on Experience and how we should convey the message on WHAT Experience is! Here's the citation from the book:
"For the previous weeks, Ericsson and his colleagues had been bringing members of the Tallahassee SWAT team and recent graduates of the police academy into his lab and placing them in front of the big screen with a Beretta handgun loaded with blanks holstered to their belt... The researchers wanted to know how officers with different levels of experience would react.
The results were striking. Experienced SWAT officers immediately pulled their guns and yelled repeatedly for the suspect to stop. When he didn't, they almost always shot him before he made it to into the school. But recent graduates of the academy were more likely to let the man stroll right up to the steps and into the building. they simply lacked the experience to diagnose the situation and react properly...
What Ericsson expected to learn from these accounts was the same thing found he's found in every other field of expertise that he's studied:
Experts see the world differently. They notice things that non-experts don't see. They home in on the information that matters most, and have an almost automatic sense of what to do with it.
And most important, experts process the enormous amounts of information flowing through their senses in more sophisticated ways." - [Foer. Joshua. Moonwalking with Einstein. Penguin Books. 2011. P.54]
How true is that.
Experience is an event or occurrence encountered which leaves an impression on someone. The more events you go through, the better you are in future diagnosis. The more critical events you go through, the more diverse your experiences are. To me, Experience is the knowledge and skills to managing crisis. You've seen this before, you know what is it, and how to go about doing it. You might have made a mistake managing a same situation prior, therefore based on previous encounters you know how tackle the same problem differently. ie. you don't need to re-learn mistakes.
Unique events consolidate to become your own unique experience. Experiences collected at a workplace setting then become your Career Experience.
All these experiences at work takes time. Time to see things happen *touch wood*, and time to experience different scenarios in multiple organisations.
With time comes periodic increments and promotions. One can say that the compensation level of candidates can be a brief benchmark on their career experience, though number of years of work can be another.
I hope with this reflection on my reads will give you a different and clearer perspective of what the term experience truly mean. If you're dealing with young ambitious millennials, you know you will really need this piece of information to manage their expectations.