Hi, thanks for the comment. I appreciate your perspective. I am always willing to consider people with varied levels of experience. I find that most undergrads who are interested in research find a way to do some work in a lab - uOttawa, for example, has many programs that allow undergrads to get involved with research. I myself have 2 undergrads in my lab now, and an additional one will join for the summer.
For me it has nothing to do with them coming in with experience per se and more to do with the fact that that experience allows me to contact their previous supervisor and ask how they worked out in the lab. It also gives me a chance to talk to them about what they did in that previous lab - however far removed it is from my own studies - and see if they understand what they were doing and, perhaps more importantly, if they were excited about it!
uOttawa doesn't have a rotation system, and so students pick a lab right out of the gate. Having something concrete to chat to them about, like their former project, gives me something to judge 'fit' on before we enter into a 2 year minimum commitment together.
Just like any other job, requirements are flexible, even when they are listed (except for the enthusiasm part, that's a real requirement!) and if someone was able to convince me in another way that they would be a good fit, then I would consider them.
Finally, I think part of it is that I am looking for someone who would be my very first student. This is a huge deal because it sets the tone for the lab. Real research is nothing like labs that one takes during courses. And so, especially for this first student, I want someone who has some idea of what they are getting into. In the future, when (hopefully), I have been around for a while, I will be in a better position to give people with less experience a chance.