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Recruit Outside of the Box for the Most Valuable Candidates

3 min

When looking to expand a team or fill a position, employers often look to what they know best… the types of candidates they have hired in the past.

However, we urge you to think beyond the confines of your usual candidate profile. If an individual has a skill set that is relevant to a position, but is currently working within another industry they shouldn’t be ruled out.

In fact, when sourcing for niche positions, professionals without direct experience can not only fill challenging talent requirements, but often add more value by bringing in new skills and best practices. Hiring from outside the box can be an incredibly lucrative move in terms of the impact such individuals can have on a business.

A shining example of this technique in action is London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, who consulted none other than Ferrari’s Formula One Pit Stop team to help them. By consulting Ferarri, doctors were able to adopt new techniques and protocols in order to improve their intensive care patient handover process and ultimately save more lives. In this way, they utilized experience from a completely different industry to their advantage. Why not put this into practice for business?

Therefore, when looking to fill a niche vacancy, shift your attention away from the “typical profile” and instead realize (as Google, Facebook and other successful startups have done) that the best hires are not always a “perfect fit” on paper.

Redefine the parameters of the position

After reassessing the specific candidates you are looking for, it’s important to ensure the position being advertised attracts the attention of these individuals. You may, therefore, need to redefine the parameters of this job spec.

Think about how a specific job role would usually be presented and try to reconfigure it to appeal to new talent pools. The new job specification needs to focus more on the skills required, rather than industry-specific experience. Use universal (rather than industry-specific) terms for the skills needed to ensure candidates from all industries can recognize where their profile is relevant—ie. Don’t use industry jargon.

Consider highlighting that you are interested in candidates from outside of the industry and even go so far as listing the types of roles they might currently be in. This can prevent candidates from dismissing your ad as they assume their experience is irrelevant and can help your ad appear in search results of candidates from outside of the industry.

Redefine the role, but keep it accurate. Your ad needs to fill the needs of your position. The last thing you want is to start attracting completely irrelevant candidates.

Ensure the challenge is not downplayed

Modern candidates are looking to be challenged in the workplace, and this plays wonderfully into the hands of hiring managers seeking ambitious talent from outside of their traditional talent pool.

In a recent LinkedIn survey on ‘Why & How People Change Jobs’, it was discovered that 36% of respondents said they had left their previous role as they were looking for a more challenging position that utilized their skills, and 47% accepted a new role that would test them in their career.

Challenging work was also listed as an important consideration by candidates from a number of different demographics; 43% of millennials were looking for their job role to push them, compared to 31% of Generation X and 22% of baby boomers.

It may be tempting to simplify the role when attempting to spark the interest of the more “unusual” candidate, but in actuality, the challenge posed by such a career change is likely to encourage the best candidates to apply. Use this to your advantage within your job ad.

There are more career changers available than ever before

Along with the large number of candidates seeking more challenging roles, there are also a large proportion of professionals actively seeking a complete change in career. More than one third (34%) of respondents to the LinkedIn survey were classed as ‘career changers’—individuals who changed company and function.

These professionals sought new challenges as their previous roles didn’t leverage their skills to their full potential or were a poor fit. Their drive and curiosity about new industries makes them exactly the kind of candidates that are likely to add more value to your firm. Such candidates are often more engaged and passionate, so it is well worth considering their transferable skills.

When recruiting outside the box, think outside the box

When reconsidering what talent can fill a role, hiring managers need to also rethink their approach to recruitment. Not only does the job description need to be altered, but where the job is advertised needs to fit with where such candidates are searching.

This may require you to look into new advertising sources, databases and networks, in order to find candidates with the skills you are looking for.


About Us

Phaidon International is the parent company of five leading specialist recruitment agencies. For more than 15 years, we have given clients and candidates the peace of mind that the recruitment process is in expert hands. Out continual investment in best-in-class technologies and consultant training enables us to recruit with speed, precision and accuracy. Today, we provide contingency, retained search and project-based contract recruitment across 11 offices in 6 countries. Contact us today to learn more about the company and the opportunities we offer.