I interviewed someone for our firm recently. The person had 27 years of experience. In the interview I was asked if the experience they had was a strength or a liability in the role we were considering them for.

I told them it depends and it has nothing to do with age.

27 years of experience has potential value. It may have provided skills and lessons that a person with 5-years of experience would not be able to have secured. You cannot accelerate time. Skills, techniques and strategy can be taught, experience comes from experience.

On the other hand, it depends on the experiences and habits accumulated in those 27 years that I have to un-learn in order to increase the odds of success in the way our firm operates.

Who, where and what was associated in those 27 years are programmed into a person’s psyche. Much like children, we are downloaded either with empowering or disempowering programming as we roll through our formative years. It is the same with careers.

It is my opinion that habits, behaviors and attitude fall into either a treatable or less treatable status. The number of years of experience you have or don’t have are not the issue. The habits I am trying to enhance or replace are directly related to the success and fulfillment of the individual who is joining the team.