Guest Blogger, Grant Reilly:  “Grant is a Chartered Marketer and communications professional with a passion for branding and creating engaging content that adds value to the customer experience and has a positive impact on society.  He also has 15 years’ leadership and management experience of high performing communications teams within the Sport, Charity, Public Sector, Higher Education and Recruitment sectors.”


When strategic workforce planning and creating high performing communications teams is it better to choose team members based on their skill set and passion for a job, project or company, or on their skill set and years of experience in a similar role?

In my opinion, it comes down to how risk averse you are as a Marketing Manager or Lead.

It’s not necessarily that candidates don’t have experience full stop; I hear the same constant comments coming from very skilled marketing communications professionals applying for roles or promoted positions when they get rejected, “I didn’t have the experience that other candidates had”. This raises the age-old chicken and egg question – how do you get experience when no-one is willing to give you the experience?

This issue is compounded by the sheer number of people applying for roles that do not have the passion, skills or experience to fulfil them. It’s their applications that create more noise, disrupt the marketplace and stop recruiters from being able to identify top talent.

Passion Vs Experience

I once applied for a role and when interviewed, realised I did not have the same levels of experience or achievements on my CV as the other candidates, but the one thing I did have was a passion for the role (I knew it was the perfect fit for me culturally and skill wise). This made me stand out, and I got the role because my line manager took a risk, believed in me and knew I would learn and grow into the role. Because of this belief and their willingness to take a risk on me, I was fiercely loyal, worked to the limits of my ability, constantly learned and developed myself, my team and the business, I added value, so I did not disappoint them.

In the grand scheme of things, I am probably not the biggest risk taker. I do not gamble on a whim but instead remain objective and only focus on a calculated risk where I can weigh up the risks versus rewards.

When recruiting team members and strategic workforce planning, I will always select those with the right skill set, the right cultural fit for the team and for their passion (experience is a bonus). These are the people who stand out in interviews. It’s their passion, their willingness to give their all to improve themselves and what your team delivers that is the difference between success and failure.

If a team is passionate and willing to learn then they can be shaped to deliver success, whereas those with experience may be less willing to learn and inclined to focus only on how they have always done things in the past.

I live by the motto “Fortune Favours The Brave” and sometimes the Brave need to take calculated risks with their teams so that they can reap the rewards!

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