I distinctly remember a conversation with a recruiter once, when I was applying for a job that i was more than qualified for in a different industry than the one I was currently working in. She asked if I had ever done the specific job being offered before. As I went on to explain my experience in other industries and how it easily translates to that particular job, she responded snidely, “So, what you’re saying is no.”
This is a huge stumbling block for job seekers today and very detrimental for the companies seeking quality employees. There’s no out of the box thinking with hiring anymore. They want to plug and play, a cookie cutter employee. This is a huge mistake.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate my point. You’re hiring for an inside sales position in a particular niche industry. Let’s say you want low level inside sales for a small mortgage company. You put out the recruiting illustrating the job description. Of course, for any low level sales position, you get flooded with applications from people with little to no work history. I’ve already discussed the pros and cons of a fresh employee like this in a previous post, so I won’t beat a dead horse here.
You get two resumes in front of you.
The first is someone who has 1 year of experience at another small mortgage sales firm.
The second has 8 years of experience in high level executive support, client retention, client service and resource management. This person is looking to change careers.
Now, to some of us, it would seem like an easy decision. You choose the one with a solid history of success. You can easily train such a person in your industry.
Sadly, that’s not the common thought process for recruiters today. The idea seems to be that the person who worked in the exact same function elsewhere is the best pick. After all, they already know the job, right?
Unfortunately, that’s erroneous thinking. You see, more often than not, they work or worked for another firm doing the same thing and they weren’t successful. After all, how many successful sales people need to do a low level sales position for a full year, let alone multiple companies? Sure, they know the job, but are they good at it? Where is their steady track record of success? Well, if they have one, they aren’t applying for a low level position somewhere else.
Now, think on this carefully. My challenge to you is to break the chain of linear hiring. Look for solid people, regardless of industry. If they were successful in another industry, odds are it has more to do with their work ethic and mental acuity than with their initial experience within a singular industry. Those are the best possible employees to have. Those are the ones who don’t fit into a mold. They more often blaze a new trail within and for your company to help take you to new heights.
Contributor: Robert Sacerich
Robert is a Bioethics and Ethical Philosophy student at Cleveland State University, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes. He writes about science, technology, politics, human rights, feminism, religion, and any other topic that catches his eye.
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