According to LinkedIn’s Jordan Burton (Talent and Leadership Advisor), the answer is no.
In my 15 years in executive assessment, I’ve had the privilege of walking through the full career histories of about 500 CEOs and C-level executives.
The highest performers — the ones who consistently exceed expectations in each role — rarely take on the same job twice at any point in their careers. They usually take on meaningful step-up roles offered through connections in their networks.
So, if you want to bring exceptional performers into your company, why are you looking for candidates who have already done the exact job in question?
The moment you set the bar at “must have done this job before,” you immediately skew your sample toward weaker performers — the ones who are open to a lateral move because they are struggling in their current role or don’t have better options.
The most common way companies create this negative bias is by including bullet points like “At least 3 years in similar product marketing roles” or “Prior experience leading FP&A in a public company” in their job postings. Qualifications like these create a negative performance bias — and can also create serious DEI issues.
“So, Jordan, should we just kill the qualifications list?”
Yes, pretty much.
Most qualifications are proxies for what you really care about. If there’s a specific skill (for example, a programming language) that the candidate needs to possess and that you can’t train them on, that’s fine. Otherwise remove these time in role filters that attract lateral-movers.
Focus, instead, on the actual results and competencies you need in the role.
Keep in mind: You always reserve the right to pass on a candidate whose career track looks nothing like the role in question. Just don’t turn away that amazing up-and-comer who might wildly exceed your expectations.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn.
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