Change, adapting to change and the ability to change are critical elements of any businesses ability to grow and be sustained. New ideas, different perspectives, and experiences, appropriate business behaviors are all part of why a business should change. Some businesses celebrate their change by telling everyone they change for a changing world; or similar words. Change done right is good. With so many businesses in the US wanting to be better, to perform better, why, when they recruit for their leadership roles, do they insist that “You Must Be Exactly Like the Person Who Used to Work Here?”
I know many people who are actively seeking new roles as our economy booms. For some it is career progression for others it is a desire to return to a more appropriate position for their background and experience. Some simply want to leave their current location while others are simply looking for a change. The reasons are many; the frustrations they experience equally so.
“You Must Be exactly Like the Person Who Used to Work Here?”
The common lament I hear from many job seekers after we move beyond an equally distressing concern known as Candidate Experience, is this idea of sameness. Businesses seek replacements or even candidates for new positions, but they always want the same person. In short, businesses that try to clone the previous incumbent while wanting to grow, do better or improve are in all actuality practicing the definition of insanity; Doing the same thing over but expecting different results.
While this practice of sameness, this rejection of change, is more common in support roles such as finance, human resources, and marketing, it can also have an impact in other roles. Roles such as sales or some operational positions.
Smart companies hire without making the “must have industry experience” a prerequisite. In fact, hiring outside your industry has several advantages. Ask yourself a simple question – why do you require industry experience? What true value, in dollars and cents, does it bring to your business? The answer may surprise you.
Candidates hired from outside your industry bring a new perspective and innovation. They are not bound by industry “best practices” that have become cult-like in their following.
Candidates hired from outside your industry ask an important question – “why do we do it this way?” This results in an answer that isn’t, “because that is how we’ve always done it.”
Because the environment and industry are new, those hired from outside the industry are more inclined to rethink and re-imagine their function and role within the business.
Those hired from outside your industry bring a diversity of thought, ideas, and experiences that aren’t cookie cutter.
In short, the innovation and intrepreneurship that those hired from outside your industry can bring to your business are unequaled. It can “raise the bar” and help lift the business to levels it has never before experienced.
Smart companies hire without making the “must have industry experience” a prerequisite.
I am not suggesting that every position in your business should be filled by those from “other than your industry.” I am saying that some positions, can benefit from other industry experience and from that your business becomes better for it. Further, your recruiting process will be faster and you’ll see more qualified candidates whose only detraction is that they do not come from your particular industry. If you focus on the job skills and not the industry, you may well find your interview process is more interesting. You’ll find other professionals who have done what you have done, done what you want, and do what you expect, only they have done this in another industry.
Hiring from outside the industry is the epitome of true talent management. Going outside the industry demonstrates innovation and your openness to new ideas. New ideas that may be more productive, profitable and as a result make your company better. Further, it brings a more strategic application to your hiring; strategic in the sense that you embrace the unknown of the future and are doing what you need to do in order to make that future your future.
Hiring from outside your industry will challenge you as a leader. It will require you to think differently, open your mind to new ideas and accept that just because no one in your industry may have never done something, that you can pioneer a new way and as a result become an industry leader. You’ll see your business from a different vantage point, learn something new and experience new ways of doing things. All it takes is innovation, courage and a desire to change.