Would you hire someone who knew theory or someone who knew practice (created 2010-11-03).

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Someone on LinkedIn asked if it was better to hire someone who knew theory or someone who knew practice. Here's my response.

Only in a hypothetical world would someone be 100% theory or 100% practice. So let me change it to someone who is mostly theory versus someone who is mostly practice.

My inclination would be to hire someone who has a good knowledge of theory because I think it is easier to train someone in the practice aspects of work than to train someone in the theory aspects of the work.

I also believe that knowledge of theory makes you a faster learner, because you can learn based on concepts rather than on rote memorization. You can more easily adapt to changes in the environment if you understand the basic concepts as well.

Of course, the type of job might change my mind. I wouldn't want to hire someone to mow my lawn who had a good theoretical knowledge of how grass grows.