Why Do Companies Ask For Years of Experience (YoE)?

No Job = No Experience
No Experience = No Job
No Job = No Experience
No Experience = No Job

After days or months of scouring job boards, you come up with a job that matches your skills – only to discover that the recruiter has asked for a minimum of three years’ experience. It’s a downer – or is it? If you know why recruiters and hiring managers ask for YoE (Years of Experience) you’ll perhaps still be able to apply and leverage the opportunity. So without further ado let’s get right to it.

What is YoE and Why do recruiters demand it?

Well, the what is obvious. YoE  or Years of Experience is something that most recruiters look for when scouting for candidates. You can equate the job profile you see on job portals to your hiring manager’s wish list. The hiring manager and the recruiter may not necessarily be the same person because often the recruitment process is outsourced. If so, the perspective of the recruiter and the hiring manager would not be the same. The hiring manager views the candidate as a prospective employee while the recruiter merely sees a candidate whose skills and other capabilities match those demanded by the hiring manager. For more information about this, read our blog on the Recruitment Process.

So that then is the first reason why recruiters – or companies and hiring managers – ask for YoE. The recruiter is merely shortlisting candidates based on the information supplied by the hiring manager. Here are some more reasons why a hiring manager, recruiter, or CHRO may prefer for experience over talent:


Think about it. The freelance recruiter or recruitment agency has only one objective – customer satisfaction – and their customers are the companies who will ultimately hire you and pay their commission or fees. An outside recruiter not usually have as deep or clear an understanding about the role or job profile as the hiring manager – or for that matter you. So they go by what the hiring manager or company lists out as the criteria for recruitment – and follow it to the letter.

Every role is however different and so are the requirements for that role. For instance, hiring for the role of a Dev-Ops developer may not be the same as hiring a UX tester – though both roles are in the same industry and perhaps even within the same organization. Similarly, hiring an accounts assistant for a Chartered Accountant’s firm is different from hiring for the same role in an MNC, conglomerate, or corporate. Freelance recruiters or agencies seldom have this type of deep understanding of the role for which they are hiring – and so they may filter based on the criteria specified – one of which may be experience.


The employment landscape being what it is, there are always thousands of applications for each role – if not more. On the other hand freelancers and agencies are usually working multiple projects at a time. Filtering through all of those resumes that flood their desks – or inbox – may not always be possible. So recruiters try to filter out as much as possible at first base – and they use YoE as one of the filters to ensure that they source the best candidates – especially if the hiring manager or company has asked for it.

Since digitization has set in, automation has taken hold on every aspect of business including recruitment. Many recruiters now use ATS (Application Tracking Systems) to filter out applications before ever looking at a CV either online or on paper. Some hiring managers and HR heads too, use ATS to save on recruitment costs hoping to shortlist and hire candidates themselves rather than pay a freelancer or agency. ATS will filter candidates based on the criteria fed to it. To know more about ATS read our blog on how to optimize your CV for ATS.

Quality vs. Quantity

Once a new candidate is hired he must be trained. Training an experienced candidate is easier – and less costly – than training a green candidate. Experienced employees learn quickly and fall into the flow faster. This means employers can put them on live projects earlier, which in turn means more revenue. Remember though that experienced candidates command a higher pay and demand more benefits. They can therefore can prove costlier in the long run. Besides, there is always the chance that a fresh graduate may possess that one skill required for the job that even the employee with many years of experience does not have.


Every employer is always looking to cut costs – and this includes hiring managers and CHROs as well as recruiters – all of whom work on fixed budgets. The process of recruitment is also not as simple as it is made out to be – 1000 employees apply – you need 100 – you shortlist 700 through ATS and another 300 through a screening test. Then you interview the remaining 200 and select 100. It doesn’t work quite that way.

Remember that organizations have to spend from their budget at each of these stages. And then there is the cost of training, salary negotiation, and benefits to be considered. All in all, when faced with high expense recruitment, employers may prefer to hire freshers who would be willing to work at lower salaries to get a foot in the door.

With all the reasons why employers ask for YoE and prefer hiring experienced candidates, remember that campus interviews and job fairs are as much a reality as recruitment drives. Through such events, employers hope to hire candidates for lower posts at a lower cost. It also bodes well for the community and the organization comes across as sensitive and caring. So if you are a fresher don’t give up hope. Read our article on how to land your first job after college and follow those tips.

If you are a civil services aspirant we’ve got you covered – here’s all you need to know about Government jobs in India.

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