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over 3 years ago by Lia Woolley

Should You Hire From Outside Your Industry?

Should You Hire From Outside Your Industry?

When starting to recruit, you will have the image of ‘the perfect candidate’ in mind, however when the reality of actually finding this person sets in, the list of necessities can start to decline. With hiring managers reporting the skills shortage to be at a 14-year high, companies are starting to consider cross-industry hiring in order to increase their talent pool.

Experience over potential?

Hiring within your industry can remove some perceived risk. The individual you’re hiring knows what they are coming in to and has a proven track record of comparable successes. The doubt “will they just go back to their old market if it gets tough?” is likely to linger in the back of your mind. There is an argument to say that an experienced person might get up and running quicker.

However, are these reasons enough to discard the notion of cross-industry hiring?

In a time of high demand, forward-thinking employers will look beyond direct experience and will start to assess the potential in people. People with an aptitude to learn, with motivation and drive. After all technical skills can be taught but can these fundamental traits? It’s even common that people coming in from a different industry have more determination to get their knowledge up to scratch quickly, and consequently start to outperform other members of the team.


There’s the old saying; “If you always do what you've always done, you always get what you've always gotten”. Now you may not necessarily be looking to shake things up internally but bringing in someone from a different industry is going to bring a fresh, new perspective that you won’t have had before. Introducing some diversity into the team may provide some new solutions to old problems.

Finding the right fit

Whilst the candidate may not be the “right” fit in terms of industry, it is important they are in other areas. Although the industry may not be the same, you can still look for similarities in their experience, whether this be company size, facing comparable objections or equivalent projects and clients. This can ensure a smooth transition.

Industries can have drastically different cultures but understanding the candidate’s motivations and desires in this area can have a big influence on the ultimate decision.  A robust interview process must be developed to effectively assess and measure the traits you’re looking for.


Hiring from a different industry can prove an invaluable source of new talent, not only during a skills shortage but also to add new perspective to your company. If venturing down this route, it’s essential that correct measures are put in place to give your new employee the best chances of success. They will need more training and support, potentially over a longer period, to allow them to adapt to the industry. This highlights how crucial their onboarding is. However, you could reap the rewards of this effort for years to come.


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