3 Reasons To Hire From Outside Your Industry

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While at times it may prove comfortable and convenient to hire from within your current industry, often the best candidate for the job comes from outside your "comfort zone". How can that be? As a recruiter focused on a highly regulated and competitive industry experiencing significant growth nationwide, here are 3 reasons to hire from outside your industry:

1. Deeper Talent Pools:

We function inside a very narrow industry segment yet the companies serve a broad and diverse customer base. The technology used in our industry is not state of the art. Very few companies, from either the manufacturer or the operators' side are using technology to its fullest extent. Last year we completed a search assignment for a publicly held manufacturer who sought technology skills not readily available in local talent pools. Local candidates were 5-7 years behind the times in terms of having the skill sets necessary for the client's impending development project . The client was enlightened enough to realize this and commissioned us to find the best and brightest. The client understood that they had to seek deeper waters to fish in. This helped to find the quality candidates they would need to complete this project. What mattered is that the candidates had the technical skills to take the company from point A to B and points beyond their current capabilities. Our ability to search for candidates in deeper talent pools created a selection process that benefited the company tremendously. Instead of having 2-3 qualified candidates to select from, we were able to present 4-7 strong candidates. Ultimately, this presented the client company with a diverse and qualified talent pool. Always, a preferable option.

2. Top tier candidates thrive on challenges:

Regardless of their industry, top performers thrive on career challenges. They are inspired when confronted with obstacles or impediments; they embrace opening markets that have been closed to their employers; they seek out opportunities for professional growth. As recruiters, we ask client companies to welcome these top performers from other industries as untapped potential for their industry. We recently completed the placement of a Senior Vice President of Operations. The candidate did not come from inside the traditional circle of competitors. Rather, the selected candidate came from large publicly held media and entertainment company. The candidate had no prior experience or knowledge in our industry. Yet, his profile, track record of accomplishments, and most of all, his attitude towards taking the company and his career to the next level secured him the opportunity. For this candidate, it was the opportunity to create growth and expand the client company's operations that fueled his interest in the new industry. Results for the first quarter under his leadership: Sales increased 19% over previous quarter and operational costs decreased 37%.

3. Fresh Approaches to Old Problems:

Can't teach an old dog a new trick? Maybe true, but fresh approaches and new viewpoints may solve old problems that linger inside industries and companies. Seeking out candidates with skill sets and experiences disparately different than what you traditionally recruit from could be the best direction for your company. Companies that seek to embrace fresh perspectives are those that remain on the cutting edge of product development and superior customer service. New opinions and outlooks brought to the table by candidates from outside your industry may lead to breakthroughs on problems once thought insurmountable. Case in point: A major technology provider in our industry segment recently hired a senior level engineering manager from the aerospace industry. This candidate was a specialist in programming languages that were relatively new to the industry segment. Less than 3 weeks after his start, he solved 2 significant programming issues that had vexed an entire department of programmers for the past 4 months. Old problem, fresh approach. Problem solved.

As recruiters, we seek specific skills that will make a candidate successful no matter what industry they are in. Just because a candidate has never worked in your industry does not mean they do not have the potential to become a tremendous asset to your company. Look for the best possible candidate you can get. While direct industry experience is welcome, it is not an end all. Understand and appreciate the fact the skill sets are transferable from industry to industry and perhaps a fresh vision will unearth unseen potential.

Executive recruiter William Werksman is a frequent columnist to job boards including addressing both the candidate's and employer's perspective. Werksman's expertise has been featured in business magazines, national newspapers and television news segments. His firm, Resource Partners, is recognized as the leading source of specialized and executive talent in the Casino and Gaming industry. He manages a staff of recruiters out of his firm's Las Vegas, Nevada headquarters. He may be reached at:

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