Why is it that we value work experience so much? Experience only matters if you do something with it.
More important are creativity, ambition, eagerness, and desire.
Your insistence on hiring only people with industry experience keeps you from finding fresh eyes, new ideas, and a desire to interrupt the status quo.
Nothing ever got better by doing the same thing over and over again.
Look for Talent
Skill can be learned, especially by a talented person. Individuals who are intrinsically motivated and have the confidence to dive into something will, more times than not, drive better future success than someone with 20 years experience doing the same thing over and over again.
In fact, 10 years or more of direct experience can often be an indicator that an individual was either complacent in their previous job or lacked the overall work ethic and attitude to grow into something else.
We live in a time of continuous technological and industrial revolution. The rate of change is virtually exponential. Even if an individual is in the same position 10 years from now, their job will likely look very different.
Experience is not Expertise
This is especially true in corporate America - Large, slow-moving companies that focus on productivity and are trying to produce the same results over and over again.
These jobs are often task-based and employees are not asked to hone the skills of learning, growing, and building by leadership. They aren't necessarily gaining expert knowledge as much as marking things from a list.
Good candidates definitely can come from these environments. However, it's likely that their career path was not one based on creativity and innovation if the company they came from was not also focused on those things.
No Experience is Relevant Experience
I would argue that in this day and age, no experience is relevant experience for where we're headed. There are constant conversations these days about the impact of AI on future success. Industry will continue to change at a rate so rapid, that past experience will always be irrelevant.
Instead, recruiters must understand that the ideal candidate is one who can embrace constant change. One who can think ahead, innovate, and most importantly, adapt.
This is reality.
Experience is overrated.
Great talent will drive progress, not experience.