A manager interviews employees and narrows down the candidates to two: one with experience and one with potential, intelligence, and high motivation. Which one would you choose? The experienced employee may ramp up faster and bring in knowledge that will help make the process better. But he or she may also have baggage that could interfere with the work.

The employee with potential may bring enthusiasm and energy into the job and go the extra mile to accomplish tasks beyond expectations. Of course, this type of employee won't get up to speed as quickly.

Current Marketing Challenge

Hire marketing experience or potential?

My business partner, Susan, and I will soon add staff to our marketing consulting firm. We have different ideas on the qualifications required. Susan thinks we should only add people with marketing experience. I believe that highly intelligent and motivated people without marketing experience can be molded to use our methodology.

Even though I think training fast learners about our and our clients' business is a better way to go, experience also has some benefits. What do your readers think—marketing experience or willing and able?

—Peter W., Partner, company name withheld

Before anything else, write down the position's core competencies. Those should drive hiring the right person. So how do you decide? Might as well flip a coin. Readers evenly split the vote:

  1. Stick with experience

  2. Go for potential

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Hank Stroll (Hank@InternetVIZ.com) is publisher at InternetVIZ, a custom publisher of 24 B2B e-newsletters reaching 490,000 business executives.