Hiring Advice From Dee Hock (Or, Why Experience Is Unimportant)

Which of these personal attributes is most important in someone you are hiring?

  • Capacity
  • Experience
  • Integrity
  • Knowledge
  • Motivation
  • Understanding

I asked 25 students this question this week.

Three answered ‘Integrity.’ This is the ‘right’ answer, according to Dee Hock – a leader before his time. Founding CEO of Visa, Hock has some great words of wisdom on many topics. Stumble upon more about these words here.

(now deleted!) Prezi about Hiring via Dee Hock

I made a prezi to walk through this (see right – unfortunately and erroneously deleted). However, the gist of it goes like this…

On hiring associates, Hock opines:

“Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience.”

Why so? Because:

“Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities.”

One can easily agree/disagree with the exact order. What is most interesting to me is the ‘irrelevance’ of experience.

  • “10 years experience required.”
  • “University degree required (preferably Masters).”


  • “You can show me that you will always do the right thing. I will see it in the whites of your eyes.”
  • “You are going places in life and believe we can help each other add value.”
  • “You can accomplish amazing and beautiful feats.”
  • “You get it. Me. Us. What we want.”


Life is attitudinal. Work too. Have the right attitudes, and showcase them. Prove them out, make other people believers in you too. This is the (hiring) work at hand.

←This Much We Know.→

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