Experience vs Character: What’s More Important When Hiring
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Author: Donata Hammonds | VP of Recruiting at P1 Service Group | February 6th, 2024

Experience vs Character: What’s More Important When Hiring

As the Vice President of Recruiting, I often encountered the age-old dilemma in talent acquisition: the importance of experience versus character in hiring the right people for our company. This debate is not just about choosing one over the other; it's about understanding how these elements interact and influence the success of our organizations.

Firstly, let's delve into the significance of the experience. In many roles, particularly technical or specialized ones that we see in the trades, experience is invaluable. It brings a certain level of expertise and an understanding of industry practices that cannot be easily taught. Experienced candidates often require less training and can contribute more quickly to the company's bottom line.

However, experience isn't the be-all and end-all during the hiring process. This is where character comes into play. Attributes such as adaptability, resilience, and a growth mindset are crucial in today's rapidly evolving business landscape. A candidate with the right character can grow into a role, learn new skills, and, importantly, align with our company's culture and values contributing to exponential growth at the company level.

So, which is more important to consider when hiring new talent? The answer isn't straightforward. In reality, the ideal candidate possesses a blend of both. A certain level of experience is necessary to ensure competence, but the right character ensures a candidate's growth, adaptability, and long-term contribution to the company.

But where do we find these ideal candidates? The answer lies in diversifying our hiring and recruiting strategies. Traditional methods like job postings and sourcing are a start, but we must also look beyond. Networking events, industry conferences, and even social media platforms are fertile grounds for discovering talent. Additionally, employee referrals can be a goldmine, as our existing employees understand the company culture and the qualities needed to succeed.

In conclusion, while experience and character both play significant roles in the hiring process, the key is finding the right balance between the two. By broadening our recruitment horizons and employing a holistic approach to evaluating candidates, we can unearth the best people who will drive our companies forward.

Donata Hammonds holds the position of Vice President of Recruiting at P1 Service Group, an investment firm dedicated to partnering with residential HVAC, plumbing, and electrical service companies with a people-centric philosophy. In her role, she is responsible for creating and implementing comprehensive recruitment strategies across all portfolio companies within P1 Service Group. Additionally, Donata is the esteemed founder and an advisory board member of SoCal Recruiting, which she established nine years ago.

SoCal Recruiting is a specialized firm offering recruitment services tailored to the Plumbing, HVAC, Roofing, and Solar industries nationwide. On a more personal accolade, Donata is a patented inventor in the consumer beauty industry. Her innovation led her to the semi-finals of the popular entrepreneurial TV show, Shark Tank, where she was a hair's breadth away from making a televised appearance.