Hiring Outside the Box: considering skills over industry experience

This entry was posted in Business Clients by .

We get it: it can be a risk to hire candidates without experience in your industry—but experts agree that bringing in team members from different backgrounds has numerous benefits.

Organizations that are open to candidates from outside their industry will not just have more candidates to choose from. These candidates also bring outside perspectives, including new processes and ideas. When team members approach problems from different angles, it can lead to more innovation.

Additionally, the situation organizations are facing today is a first in history. The strain that the coronavirus outbreak has put on the world economy means that many employers will struggle to fill in-demand roles (health care support, delivery drivers, etc.). Looking at candidates from negatively impacted industries (restaurants, retail, etc.) to fill these roles will positively impact both businesses and workers.

Focus on Transferable Skills

Many skills will transfer effectively from one job to another. Someone who has years of experience in customer-facing roles will likely handle any customer service position well, regardless of the industry. Similarly, good writers will be strong additions to any marketing or technical writing teams.

Take a look at the job description for the position you need to fill, and think about what skills are needed. Transferable skills to keep in mind include:

  • Sales
  • Business Strategy
  • Team Management
  • Relationship-Building
  • Writing
  • Technology Literacy
  • Organization
  • Teamwork

Be Transparent During the Interview

Be honest during the interview process about what the job entails. Transparency means that many candidates who would have been a bad fit will filter themselves out. As much as possible, you should work to paint a thorough picture of what the day-to-day job looks like.

Not only is the interview the perfect time to practice transparency. You should also be expecting transparency from your candidate. Ask them why they want to change industries and if they believe they will be a good fit for your company. Additionally, ask them about any concerns, so that they have the opportunity to raise issues and questions.

Have a Strong Onboarding & Training Program

A strong onboarding and training program means you can hire candidates who are a great cultural fit even if they don’t have all the needed skills yet. Although this means they might not produce as much in the beginning, these candidates might be the better investment in the long run. Alignment with company values means higher motivation and lower chance of turnover.

Additionally, a strong training program won’t just benefit new hires. According to Pew Research Center, 87% of workers believe training will be essential for them to stay relevant in the workplace. This means a strong training program will benefit both new and current workers, helping them stay productive and engaged.

For more information on how to develop a strong training and development program, check out our FREE ebook, Training the Workforce of the Future.

The Bottom Line

While it can be a risk to hire candidates with no industry experience, it’s important to remember that hiring for potential can lead to better long-term results. Setting realistic expectations and providing training throughout their careers can help your new hires quickly become engaged and productive members of your team.