Attitude and Aptitude over Experience

By Stuart Rogers
May 31, 2016
THE TALK... | Management

If you read any trade newsletters or magazines, you’ve seen the positive news and forecasts for industry growth over the next couple of years. You’ve probably seen equal coverage on the need for skilled labor to support this growth, with dealers and manufacturers focusing on experience, education and certifications of potential new hires. 

However, finding individuals with industry knowledge, training and certification is a hard path. There are not many hiring prospects with formal training in the industry. Those that exist are often higher up in their companies and aren’t often looking to move or make a change. Plus, smart employers try to hold on to their best employees. As a result, we tend to hire on experience only. But, without certifications or formal industry training, it’s difficult to know exactly what quality of experience our candidates have.
What to do? About six months ago, I stopped hiring based on experience—which sounds like a recipe for failure. Still, I reduced the requirement for experience and started focusing more on attitude and aptitude as the priority, and the process has actually proven to be beneficial.
I found we were putting experienced hires through our onsite training program for standards and procedures anyway, but, with lesser-experienced staff, we weren’t retraining skills to our requirements. In the process, this also seems to have created better loyalty with new hires, as they appreciate our investment in them and their future.
What do you think about deemphasizing experience in favor of attitude and aptitude? Do you employ any “homegrown talent” or have you always looked for experienced staff members? Review last week’s poll, post a comment and/or shoot me a line with your thoughts. 

Survey Results for 06/01/2016:

Looking at your "all-star" employees that you wish you could duplicate, how much industry experience did they have before they started with your company?

More than 10 Years





No Experience at All





Five to 10 Years





One to Three Years





Less than a Year





Stuart Rogers is the founder and CEO of Clear View Windows and Doors, a specialized dealer of windows and doors in Western Canada. He has more than 15 years’ experience working in business development and consulting based around sales process, marketing, channel strategy and technology to drive profitable business growth, including work at Fortune 500 companies. As a consultant, Rogers offers clients insight on differentiating themselves in competitive markets. Contact him at

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When I looked at the survey results so far, I must admit I was shocked at the results. Having employees with 10 years of experience the number 1 category for all star employees was exactly what I expected. However having no experience as the number 2 category was a major shock, especially since it currently sits higher than the other 3 categories combined. Does these results shock you?

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