In today’s rapidly evolving job market, employers are regularly asking themselves: should they stick with hiring from within their industry or open the doors to candidates from different industries? This article explores the pros and cons of hiring outside your industry.
Navigating Post-COVID Work: The Cross-Industry Hiring Dilemma
In the world after COVID-19, work has changed. Remote and hybrid work is now more common. Hiring managers may find that boundaries separating people geographically are less of an issue. Many employers are finding talent outside their immediate geography and industry with the move online.
A McKinsey report found that 87% of top executives said they were having trouble finding people with the right skills for their workforce or expected to have trouble soon. But interestingly, fewer than half of them knew how to solve this problem.¹ Because of this shortage of workers in their industry, many employers are rethinking their talent pools and wondering if they should focus on hiring people outside their industry.
Advantages of Hiring Outside the Industry
In today’s job market, it’s not just about changing jobs. It’s about changing industries. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 48 percent of employees who switch employers are also venturing into different industries.² Here are six advantages when looking at candidates outside your industry.
1. You can gain access to varied soft skills
Soft skills are traits and non-quantifiable skills that help a person excel in a job. Certain soft skills are more pronounced among workers depending on the job and industry. For example, retail workers often have a strong drive for results and focus on customer satisfaction. Financial professionals may have a strong focus on being detail-oriented.
Recruiting people from outside your industry can often bring candidates with different kinds of traits that may, in turn, help your team. This can often lead to:
Professionals who’ve navigated various industries may be more adaptable to the changing needs of the business.
Innovation and Creativity
Individuals stepping into your industry for the first time can bring a fresh perspective. They can leverage their different work experiences to offer new ideas.
2. You can help people find their first professional jobs
Hiring people with transferrable skills from outside your industry can give them better opportunities by assisting them in finding their first job in a professional setting. For example, you can provide better wages and new experiences for people coming in from the fast-food industry, allowing them to expand their skills and grow their careers.
Related Reading: 4 Essential Interview Questions for Finding Your Ideal Hire
3. You can improve engagement and retention
It may be an additional responsibility, but you can train new employees and provide them with personal training development, allowing them better career growth. Employees with developmental opportunities can be more committed and passionate about their work. This urges them to stay with you longer, improve your organization’s retention, and increase profitability through having highly engaged employees.
4. You can widen your talent pool
Expanding your recruitment strategy beyond your industry allows you to access more candidates. If you’ve been struggling to find the right professionals within your field, this approach helps you find more candidates, unlike those you’ve seen before.
5. You can diversify your candidate pool
When you hire candidates from different industries, you are often attracting more diverse candidates. Niche industries get caught in the trap of only hiring other people within that industry, and these people may be very similar to those you already employ. For example, the overwhelming number of engineers in the United States are white males. In fact, 69.7 percent of men receiving engineering degrees were White.³
When you recruit from other industries, you may attract candidates from different socio-economic backgrounds, different races and ethnicities, people with different sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
6. You can expand your networks
Hires from other industries can introduce your team to new networks and connections that may benefit the company. Expanding the company’s reach can open opportunities for growth and collaboration, which can improve the company’s potential.
Challenges to Manage When Hiring Outside the Industry
While hiring from different industries can bring value, it’s important to consider some of the challenges you may face along the way.
1. You would need to prepare different interview questions
Broadening your talent pool can save so much time in your recruitment process. However, you may need to prepare entirely different questions for candidates from other industries. Instead of asking about their hard skills, you would need to screen them for their transferrable skills and experience.
If you wish to make the screening and recruitment process more accessible, you may consider teaming up with a staffing firm specializing in inclusive hiring to streamline the process further. This collaboration ensures well-screened candidates who contribute to your diversity objectives.
2. Current employees may be resistant to change.
Introducing employees from different industries can sometimes cause resistance from your existing workforce, especially if they perceive the new hires as less capable than they are. Integrating these newcomers into your team may require you to spend time aligning with your current employees and showcasing the value they bring with their unique perspectives.
Related Reading: What Makes a Job Good: 4 Empowering Takeaways for Employers
PEAK PERFORMERS CAN HELP YOU FIND EMPLOYEES WITH FRESH PERSPECTIVES
If you are looking to hire people from other industries or are looking for those who can bring your business fresh perspectives, Peak Performers can help you connect with these types of candidates. We help you find diverse candidates from various industries, experiences, and educational backgrounds.
We can find expert employees who can fill temporary, direct hire, and executive roles. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.
1. Agrawal, Sapana, et al. “To Emerge Stronger from the COVID-19 Crisis, Companies Should Start Reskilling Their Workforces Now.” McKinsey & Company, 7 May 2020, www.mckinsey.com/to-emerge-stronger-from-the-covid-19-crisis-companies-should-start-reskilling-their-workforces-now.
2. Kochhar, Rakesh, et al. “Majority of U.S. Workers Changing Jobs Are Seeing Real Wage Gains.” Pew Research Center, 28 Jul. 2022, www.pewresearch.org/majority-of-u-s-workers-changing-jobs-are-seeing-real-wage-gains.
3. “Representation in Engineering.” NSF Engineer Study, nsfengineerstudy.org/Among-all-men-receiving-engineering. 31 Oct. 2023.