Should you Hire Outside Your Industry?

One surefire way to change things up within your organization is to hire outside your industry.

That’s because, if nothing changes, nothing changes, right? In other words, if your company continues to hire people with the same experience and background, you will continue to hire people who will get the same results. That can work, but it can also lead to a stagnant workforce and business.

The article titled The Left-Field Candidate: The advantages of hiring outside your industry, stated this:

“In the early stages of a talent search, many clients will set parameters that inevitably lead them to the same pool of candidates. These will be people who have the very same education, professional designations and industry experience as the people they are replacing.”

The article goes on to say that the left-field candidate – a top talent that comes from a different industry with an atypical resume – can be, under the right circumstances, a tremendous advantage. Among the reasons are that the candidate can inject energy into a stagnant workforce. This new hire does not view the work as the “same old-same old.”

“Hiring a newcomer from an outside industry helps sends an inescapable message that change is necessary,” says Robin Silverman, Senior Consultant, Talent Management, Right Management, a global leader in talent and career management workforce solutions.

However, it’s critical that current employees understand that change doesn’t necessarily equal loss. If the newcomer is seen as a threat, the resistance to him/her is bound to be great.  

“Regardless of the goal for the hire, he/she may never get the acceptance necessary to move things forward,” says Silverman. “However, if present employees understand the reasons behind the hire and have a hand in selecting the new person, it’s possible that the addition will generate enthusiasm and excitement that old, annoying problems will finally be solved by the inclusion of fresh ideas and approaches.”   

Silverman listed these pros and cons of hiring outside your industry:

Pros

1. Drives innovation; brings in fresh approaches that can be applied to Gordian knots that have resisted all internal efforts.

2. Can potentially diversify the worldview of employees and their ability to accept and adapt to others.

3. Can accelerate the implementation of business strategy if the newcomer brings unique skills that are critical to its execution.

Cons

1. Can trigger a higher resistance to change among those who already dislike it.

2. New approaches may not be appropriate or achievable in the new environment.

3. Newcomer may be shunned or excluded from intact teams, or have his/her ideas marginalized.

The article titled Why You Should Hire People outside Your Industry stated that constantly hiring within one’s industry “can cause you to lose focus on other important skills like problem solving, leadership, team-building, project management and adaptability. These traits, often known as soft skills, go with employees to any job, regardless of company or industry.”

The team at Naviga Recruiting and Executive Search says hiring outside your industry can help with your company reputation: “Companies that restrict hiring to industry-only candidates give off the perception that they’re resistant to change. Top talent is attracted to companies that are using best practices and offer the opportunity for growth, not companies that always want to stick with what’s safe and comfortable.”

Hiring from the same, like-minded group of people is ideal if you want to keep ending up with the same results points out the experts from Naviga. “If you want to promote change and innovation, consider hiring outside of your industry. Someone who is not familiar with your industry can provide a fresh perspective and outlook on the way things are done at your company.”

Should you hire outside your industry? As these points prove – yes you should.

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Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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