8 Ways to Reap Value by Hiring Employees From Unrelated Industries

Many employers feel they need to hire candidates who know their company’s industry like the back of their hands. But hiring outside of your given industry scope often can bring unique value that you might miss out on by hiring within your existing sector. After all, a diversity of backgrounds and opinions is key to innovation. If you’re thinking about hiring someone from a different field, consider the following.

1. Hire a Product Specialist

The candidate works in an adjunct industry where they currently are on the receiving end (customer) of the hiring company’s product or similar products from another company. While this candidate has service-industry experience, and the hiring company’s ideal position description seeks someone with manufacturing experience, they are open to those with different backgrounds.

Perhaps the candidate provides unique insight not only into what they like or don’t like about the product, but also about competitors’ products. As such, they can offer competitive intelligence that may be challenging to find elsewhere.

[Related: Choosing from Candidates with Little to No Experience]

2. Hire a Sales Consultant

The candidate has worked at an unrelated industry startup where they wore all hats, from sweeping the floor to managing the front desk, training, setting up sales calls and everything in between. While their official title is something like Front Office Manager, it may be that they have been selling ideas or services throughout their tenure, without the title.

Bypassing them for a sales role because they don’t have the moniker or the specific industry experience could be a big mistake. Consider their ability to survive a startup, as well as influence the performance and operational success within a loosely defined, fast-paced structure a fuel that may drive revenue through the hiring company’s sales engine.

3. Hire Someone to Pave New Revenue Channels

The candidate has sold ABC widgets, which are quite different from the DEF widgets the hiring organization markets. However, there is a specific channel of widget warranty sales (e.g., financial) experience that the candidate accrued that would transfer well to the hiring entity.

The candidate has a consistent record of skyrocketing sales and exceeding goals in every company they’ve worked, based largely on this unique financial acumen. If the hiring manager and this candidate can hammer out a deal contingent on their bringing that same expertise into a new widget market, then it could definitely be a win-win.

4. Hire an Idea Person

The candidate knows technology, and they’ve innovated repeatedly, applying their tech expertise in new and changing spaces within hypercompetitive environments. In some instances, the innovative ideas have been a shot in the dark and fell flat; but mostly, their ideas have culminated into revenue- and profit-generating coups that ultimately lined the pockets of ownership while also converting to salary security and long-term retention for the team members. For hiring companies in less innovative industries now finding themselves in increasingly competitive waters, the innovator candidate may be the answer.

5. Hire a Change Leader

Inspiring leaders know not only how to capitalize on their reputation but are also genuine, thus getting people on board with change. The fact they arrive from an unrelated industry is a clear advantage to their success as they won’t be bogged down in the industry politics otherwise associated with key leadership players.

[Related: The Most Important Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring Executive Leaders]

6. Hire Leadership With Key Customer Insights

The candidate’s past manufacturing leadership role collaborating with executives and decision-makers in top banking organizations could be helpful to a consulting company whose sole clients are financial institutions. The fact the candidate ‘gets’ bankers and their core needs will be instrumental in closing large accounts and growing revenue.

7. Hire a Fixer at the Helm of the Ship

This candidate knows how to diagnose and repair things: operational and sales processes, technology underperformance, security flaws, customer service failures, human resource fatigue and more. They capably parachute into companies and take stock of people and process issues, pinpoint what’s working well and make and implement recommendations.

They are fixers, and it doesn’t seem to matter the industry. In fact, the diversity of industries and sectors they have worked in provides an advantage, as they have been there, done that and will do it again to stamp out wide-ranging problems.

8. Hire Someone to Breathe Life Into a Stagnant Organization

Have you ever looked at a problem so long, you overlooked the obvious solution? Similarly, people who have been immersed in one industry for years on end may lose their ability to have perspective. Recruiting a candidate who has the passion to learn a new industry, product, service and/or process can see things anew, breathing life into an organization. This can lead to smoother processes, market share growth, product innovation, revenue and profit lift and much more.

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