John Grubbs - When Training Matters

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Are you looking for industry experience when hiring? If so, I plan to challenge your thinking and hope to change your mind when we finish this time together. A friend of mine named Scott Hardegree introduced me to a concept called G.A.S. regarding the people we hire and retain at work. G.A.S. is an acronym for Gives A S@!t. Scott and I are ex-military, so the language is less offensive. For this intellectual work, I toned things down. We were deep in a conversation when he shared this gem, and the language is too sticky not to share it with you. 

Let us return to the question regarding industry experience. I see the value of someone knowing your industry or sector, and I understand the attraction. However, you can miss a vast talent opportunity by limiting the scope of your search for top performers. Additionally, the limitations of this type of search in any scarce employment market may force companies to select experience over G.A.S. The temptation is most likely to trap the average hiring manager, and they will make the wrong hiring decision. People with mediocre talent and industry expertise may seem justified. This tactic is a big mistake!

What is fungible, you might be asking? Fungibility is the ability of a good or asset to be interchanged with other individual goods of the same type. In other words, like money has fungibility, top performers are fungible in the sense they can interchange across different industries with success. When given a choice, always select G.A.S. over experience.

Industry experience does have value, but it lacks much fungibility. It is valuable and limited by the industry in which it exists. By name, it represents explicitly the industry you are describing. If you are looking for manufacturing experience, you will not select healthcare experience or vice versa.

Before you get frustrated with this thinking, there is a difference between industry experience and credentials to perform a specific job. The credentials to be a...

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