How much experience do you need?

Would you appoint some one to a high profile senior management post with only one years experience of management? Would you expect a minimum of three years, more than five years or at least ten years?  If experience isn’t measured in years how should it be measured? 

Frank Lampard has just been appointed manager of one of the top clubs in the premiership  after only one year as a manager in which he failed to gain promotion from the championship. Clearly his employers are not basing their decision on his track record as a manager. Granted he has worked for a number of very experienced and successful managers, he was a top class professional and having been a senior player at the club he understands the culture. 

As a manager I would certainly agree that I was influenced by my experience of being managed by some outstanding managers. I picked up some good habits and was shown some effective ways of working. But I know from experience that a good professional does not necessarily make a good manager, it’s a different set of skills. And knowing how things are done in an organisation can be an advantage  but most employers want to appoint senior managers who will bring fresh ideas and new ways of working.

After many years recruiting to senior management posts I do agree with the  Chelsea board that measuring experience in years is not a reliable indicator. I know from experience that a candidate’s ten years experience may be one years experience repeated ten times! However a track record needs to be long enough to evidence skills and abilities that will be needed in the post. So it’s not about the number of years a candidate has held a relevant post or posts but what they packed into those years, what they archived, what they leaned and therefore what they can bring to the vacant post.

Under the heading “ Experience “ on the person specification needs to be specifics such as experience of managing a big budgets and large staff groups plus evidence of successfully managing change ,improving performance and delivering on targets. But not so specific that you risk ruling out what would otherwise be an good candidate. 

Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger


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Sarah Hammond 1 Year Ago

Having been judged in the past by the number of years I have been in post rather than my experience its good to see some changes happening and some recognition that its the quality of experience not the quantity.