THE ART OF GRAPHIX: The right combination in recruitment battles

The battle between qualifications and experience has played out in the business arena for some time. I have met many persons who, with an immense amount of academic knowledge and qualifications, still struggle to secure employment. I am not sure if there is a clear answer to this age-old question, but there are good arguments on both sides.

Choosing between experienced versus qualified candidates is often one of the most challenging decisions companies face during the recruitment process. Since the cost of higher education has risen, many people are rethinking their plans to head off to university even though it may be their only hope of starting on their chosen career path.

So, do qualifications highlight the best candidate, or will real workplace experience carry more weight with employers? Do both attributes have their own merit and place in the job market?

Education and Experience

Education can be defined as the process in which intellectual and moral instruction are provided to students. Experience refers to practical involvement in an activity or event, or the knowledge and hands-on skills gained over time.

What is the difference between qualifications and experience?

Qualifications show you have the necessary knowledge for the post, whereas experience proves you have worked in your chosen field.


A college/university degree was once a major factor in determining who got the job but, as more people have gained degrees, some employers have become less impressed and focus more on experience. Some businesses write job advertisements which specify that a particular certification or degree is needed for the job. Different industries and jobs favour different attributes, so neither may be more important than the other as it depends on what works for the company. But remember: If you obtained your degree 15 or 20 years ago, especially in a technological field, it is almost irrelevant now.

Work Experience

Does your experience mean you will get the job? This is a good question, as one of the virtues people believe in is that experience is the most important thing in the interview process. But it all depends on the employer. Consider if you would want to hire a surgeon without the proper education and experience.

Employers do favour candidates with good work experience, as it indicates they can work well in teams, alone, think quickly on their feet, and have the experience to adapt in a real-life environment. Experience simply implies that you can confidently hit the ground running.

My message to school graduates entering the workforce with minimal experience is to work hard, as surely your time will come. When it does, you must always be ready. It is crucial that you become a participant in your own rescue. Continue climbing, training and embracing opportunities because a timid lion never eats. Go for it.

Every small step takes you closer to your goal. Make every attempt to forge ahead with the right mix of experience, qualifications or both, which gives employers a reason to look twice or even three times’ at your resume as it will show you are a well-rounded individual. The ideal candidate is “always” a good combination of theoretical knowledge and practical understanding. Until we meet again, fill your life with memories rather than regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.

NB: Columnist welcomes feedback at deedee21bastian@gmail.com

ABOUT COLUMNIST: Deidre M. Bastian is a professionally-trained graphic designer/brand marketing analyst, author and certified life coach with qualifications of A.Sc. B.Sc. M.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of The Bahamas, Nova Southeastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas.


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