We hire for experience, and we fire for behaviour

We hire for experience, and we fire for behaviour

Experience. It’s something most companies still (desperately) rely on when hiring someone, because it feels like the safest indicator of hiring success. Or maybe it’s just because we’ve always done it this way. And as we all know, old habits are very, very hard to come back from.

Being a founder of a company myself, having hired 25+ people now, I don’t care about experience at all. Alright, I know that I am by definition biased, as my company Equalture fights for hiring people based on who they are, instead of what they did, but I actually also have another reason to not care about experience. Here’s why. 

I had to fire someone once

At the very start of my ‘career’ as an entrepreneur, I had to fire someone. It was one of the first hires we made here at Equalture, when our product was still being developed. But despite the product not being fully ready, we did already have our games that we could let our candidates play to learn more about the person behind the resume (we develop neuroscientific games to measure a person’s cognitive abilities, behaviour, and personality).

Ironically, I turned out to be the perfect business case for our own product. Because I did get sold by an absolutely amazing resume and fun interviews, while this person’s scores on the gamified assessments weren’t amazing at all. So yes, as dumb as it sounds, I did partially ignore our own product, simply because of the fact that I so desperately wanted to hire someone with a level of experience that I did not have. Being 22 years old back then and a first-time founder, I was afraid of not knowing how to build certain aspects of my business. When you bump into someone who does have that experience you think you need, it’s hard to not get sold immediatly. So I get why people hire for experience, because I did this myself too. 

But it backfired.

I ran a quick poll on my personal LinkedIn

Over 80% of all companies worldwide still make use of resumes to screen their candidates. And as the first impression of someone is formed during the screening process, this also means that over 80% of all companies basically base their first impression on a resume – which easily leads to getting influences by all kinds of screening biases

Now, what you will find on a resume is information about someone’s track record, indicating their more job-specific, hard skills. But what you can not be sure about based on a resume, is how smart someone actually is, how someone behaves at work, and what someone’s personality is. 

Reasons to fire someone or not extend a contract

If your company also screens candidates based on their resume, and even prepares interviews by making use of a resume, this second statistic is even more interesting for you. I ran a quick poll this weekend on my personal LinkedIn account – I asked people what their most common reason was to let an employee go. I received 89 votes only in the first 17 hours, and the results were very clarifying and consistent. See for yourself:

This visual shows the results of a poll done on LinkedIn about the most common reason employers let an employee go. The results show that most founders and managers fire employees because of their personality and/or behaviour.

So, out of all 89 votes, 78% voted for personality/behaviour, 12% voted for intelligence/learning ability. Only 10% voted for job-specific hard skills. Yet, that 10% is the only thing you will get from a resume. 

I need to ask. Why would you hire for experience, if you fire for behaviour/personality? If that aspect of someone most often makes or breaks your hiring success, then why would you not focus on getting better insights into that?

How Equalture can help

These visuals show the Equalture application flow of which part is neuroscientific games that measure cognitive and behavioural aspects of each candidate in an unbiased way. On the right side you can see the game skyscraper.

Here at Equalture, we are building a tool that revolutionises the way candidates apply to one of your jobs. Instead of uploading a resume and filling in a boring job application form, we let candidates share their LinkedIn profile and play some games right away.

After the candidate finishes their job application, which takes 15-25 mins, you will instantly receive their report and scores, which you can also benchmark against your current team, by letting them complete the games first. In exchange for taking the time to apply, candidates will also get a report, including some nice tips and tricks. 

Curious to try out one of these games yourself? Leave your details below and start your game right away. However, we won’t tell you what we will measure only until after you’ve completed it. 😉

Hiring is just like risk management

Hiring is just a form of risk management. With every single person being hired, you will obviously take some risk. However, life’s about taking smart risks, and that’s no difference in hiring. If you know where the risks are, you can start collecting data to help you minimise a risk. Simple as that.

It’s time to stop holding on to habitual hiring methods, just because it’s a habit. Instead, start hiring for the exact same insights that you would normally let people go for. I promise you that your hiring success will improve significantly. And in case you’d like to see how Equalture can help you with that, you know where to find us!

Charlotte Melkert Co-Founder and CEO of Equalture in Portrait picture

Cheers, Charlotte


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