If there’s one thing Mark Zuckerberg learned from starting Facebook at age 19, it’s that experience isn’t everything.
“I can’t institutionally believe that experience is that important, or else I would have a hard time reconciling myself and the company,” the social network’s co-founder and CEO said in a recent interview with Y Combinator.
If not experience, what does he look for in prospective employees? Talent, he told Y Combinator.
“We invest in people who we think are just really talented, even if they haven’t done that thing before,” Zuckerberg said. “That applies to people who are fresh out of university, as well as people like the CFO who took the company public [David Ebersman], who had not taken a company public before.”
As a hiring manager, it’s important to recognize that just because someone doesn’t have past experience with the specific job doesn’t mean they’re not going to be able to do it well, Zuckerberg emphasized.
Besides the obvious advantages of hiring talented individuals, having a culture of growth and opportunity helps to attract and retain the best employees.
“One of the things that we’ve done well is giving the people at the company a lot of opportunity,” Zuckerberg said. “People see that you create opportunities for people, and that keeps the best people engaged and makes the best people want to come work at your company.”