Is Your Phone Listening To You: An Experiment
March 22nd, 2019
It’s often politically unpopular and seemingly risky to hire for a key role outside of the boundaries of your firm’s industry. It also might be just the right thing to infuse your team or organization with fresh perspectives and new ideas.
I’m an unabashed fan of diversity in all forms and flavors, however, one that doesn’t get talked about or that is scoffed at is this issue of industry diversity.
Perhaps you’ve heard forms of these comments before … I certainly have:
What does she know about our business? She’s been peddling widgets and that’s not us!
Why would you hire him? It will take months for him to learn our business.
He must be crazy hiring her. She doesn’t have any experience in our business. This will be a disaster.
While there are most definitely situations where industry experience and knowing the players and landscape might be required, there are a great number of roles (marketing, customer service, some sales roles and even some technical positions) where hiring someone with a non-traditional industry background will strengthen the organizational gene pool.
Hiring industry clones facilitates recycling of like-kind competitive ideas. It helps you import your competitor’s bad habits and it breeds a bad case of industry myopia.
Given the pace of change and the fluidity of industry boundaries in today’s world, the last thing I want … or you should want is an organization staffed and led by people who understand yesterday’s industry rules and battles, when the real battle is out there, somewhere else.
A number of years ago, our senior HR executive went into an interview with a product management candidate of mine, after asking me, “What I was thinking?” Following the interview, his telling comment was, “I get it.”
Instead of seeing a traditional hire with industry experience on paper, he saw someone that seemed irrelevant for our cause. What he saw in person, was a super-intelligent, articulate professional who had context for the job. This individual would not have made it through a traditional recruiting process, which would have been a shame. She turned out to be a superstar.
Hiring outside the lines of your industry takes courage. It doesn’t always work … but neither does every “safe” hire. You’ll have to stand up to the scrutiny of those used to seeing like-kind professionals. You’ll have more work to help someone understand and learn your business and industry. And when done right, you’ll have someone your competitor doesn’t have, offering new and different ideas that might just make their life miserable and yours much more successful.
Read full article at – InformationManagement