Outside the Box: Why You Should Consider Searching Outside Your Industry for Job Candidates.

Michael Gallagher January 10, 2018

Required industry experience is a rigid mindset, and the torrent of disruptions that have befallen industry behemoths should be a wake-up call.

It’s the employer’s lament: All the good ones are already taken. But, are they, really? All the employees just like the ones you already have might be spoken for. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Follow the aforementioned lament with the adage, Familiarity breeds contempt. We’ll temper that just a bit and interpret it to mean that if a company continues to hire employees just like the ones already working there, you’ll ultimately grow dissatisfied with the same results. Here’s why you need to start searching outside your industry for job candidates.

A familiar cast of characters

There’s nothing wrong with establishing prerequisite parameters when hiring. You need certain skillsets to ensure that things get done, and a specific track record can help to determine a mindset that’s in sync with company values.

Limitations set in, though, when companies attempt to replicate outgoing employees instead of allowing for some fresh thinking. Do you want a continuation of what previous employees contributed, or would you, perhaps, benefit from a new perspective?

That’s what hiring from outside your industry can accomplish. Someone without a status quo approach gives you the opportunity to inject energy into ongoing projects and objectives. They can even inject energy into your workforce.

Tried and true is so yesterday

Does knowing your business inside and out really matter? Will only an industry insider work for this role?

If you’ve got the metrics to prove your case, stick with what’s worked before. Keep in mind, though, that you’re basing the future on a set of practices that garnered success in the past. In the past. When you open yourself to the option of hiring based on future possibilities – potential – you’re also inoculating the organization with the sort of outside thinking that when done by your competitor or a startup results in disruption.

An outsider offers you a diversity of ideas.

Potential can trump experience

Nothing about business is getting any easier. Experience is knowledge gathered from past events. This can be important, but it’s the future that really counts. This is where hiring outside your industry can really make a difference.

We’ve all met them. Candidates who just impressed our socks off. Alas, they knew little about the industry itself. What we saw could have been far more important than what they lacked. We were witnessing potential. We observed their ability to adapt. We saw that they would be able to grow into roles that would evolve in complexity.

Potential is a potent predictor of future success. Experience is a reflection of past success.

There’s a downside

Bringing in people from outside your industry often helps you diversify the worldview of your existing staff. You’ll see an increase in their ability to adapt to outside external threats and changes.

Sometimes, all it takes is one small, new approach to untangle a hopelessly stuck project – or even department. This is especially true if your industry outsider brings along new or unique skills the rest of your organization lacks. Does anybody speak Chinese?

For all the upside an outside hire can bring to the table, there can be some cons – but they’re mostly in the form of a reflection you may not want to see. These new hires might trigger a deeper resistance to change by those within your organization who are already averse to it.

In that case, your industry outsider runs the risk of being excluded. Their insight and perspective could end up being marginalized. So, be prepared.

Watch what you’re saying

“We only hire from inside the industry” is a policy and a practice that may be keeping top talent away. It’s communicating, “We are resistant to change.” Sticking to what’s safe and comfortable is not going to be found on any company’s list of best practices.

There’s nothing wrong with recruiting carbon copies of the employees you already have – which would make them more like clones – if your objective is to maintain the status quo. If you look outside the walls of your industry, you run the risk of innovation.

You’ve got to be okay with that.

Mankuta | Gallagher has been connecting companies with exceptional talent since 1994. If you are looking for help finding the perfect fit for your organization, contact us today.

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