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Experience, Expertise & How To Tell The Difference

Making a list in Excel doesn’t make you an Office expert, and recommending Netflix to your in-laws doesn’t count as SaaS sales experience. Candidates have been known to forget that while writing resumes, and it’s easy to let some inflated claims slip by if you’re not doing your due diligence. Here are three strategies for ensuring you get the both the experience and expertise you’re looking for.

Get An Expert Involved

Management and HR often hire for positions that are outside their area of expertise. This makes it easy for anyone with charisma and a few buzzwords to make a good impression (especially when they’re in sales). Getting the potential employee’s direct supervisor involved is the easiest way to compensate for potential blind spots.

The supervisor should be able to tell whether the candidate’s experience is legitimate and relevant. Of course, if you’re making an executive level hire or starting a new department, you may not have that experience in house. In that case you can reach out to a recruiter with expertise in your industry or try the next tactic.

Rely On Evaluations

Opinions are divided on whether personality tests and other subjective evaluations add value to the hiring process. On the other hand, tests for hard skills are much more definitive when it comes to evaluating whether a candidate’s experience is sufficient. (See here for a handy cloud computing aptitude test.)

If there’s nothing available for the required skill set, try giving the candidate small projects or in the case of sales, running them through some common sales scenarios to see how they react. Even if they pass you may recognize some potential areas of weakness and if they don’t, you know they didn’t meet your requirements.

Reference Check Thoroughly

We’ve talked about how to reference check effectively before. All of that advice applies, but you should also ask direct questions about the areas you’re looking for experience. You’ll get insight into whether the candidate’s experience is relevant, which is much more valuable than just counting years.

Are you an expert in your field? Or are you trying to ‘fake it ‘til you make it’? Either way, we want to hear from you in the comments!