3 Pros and Cons for Hiring Outside Your Industry

The advantages of hiring outside industry help are many. There’s also industry and company-specific drawbacks — drawbacks that may not show up until after you’ve finished up with the recruiting and hiring process. There’s a very old and very simple saying that goes something like “If you keep doing things the same way, you’ll keep getting the same results.”

I won’t bother quoting Einstein and his definition of insanity here, but you get my point. In order to shake things up you have to keep adapting your strategies, including the types of people you hire and the unique experience and long-term potential for the company that they bring to the table.

Here’s a few pros and cons of hiring outside industry employees that all management should be mindful of when hiring season comes around:

Benefits of hiring outside your industry

Pros of Hiring Outside Industry Help

1. Increases innovation levels, allowing the team to hammer out problems once believed unsolvable.

It’s so easy for an entire company to get stuck in a rut and simply not have the know-how or gumption to work their way out of it. Similar to how certain people just can’t seem to find a way out of a career or personal life they don’t enjoy because they’re trapped by the negative thinking they learned early in life. As many of us have learned through the years, the best way to enact change is to go outside one’s comfort zone. In the case of your team, figuring out how to make a certain product or marketing method work might seem impossible because the team finds itself trapped in industry-minded dogma. A fresh face who has never dealt with common industry biases can come in and may in fact help everyone find their way with new ideas and unique ways to deploy them.

2. Diversifies the team and teaches them to accept non-industry viewpoints.

This can make for a big advantage in the global marketplace as the company grows. What’s popular in Wolflake, Indiana isn’t likely to be a hit in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) — nor will marketing approaches that appeal to the British necessarily appeal to Germans. The point I’m getting to is that industry dogma can cause issues with not just the brainstorming of ideas, but also the execution of those ideas as you move to different markets. Think of hiring outside industry help as a great primer for all future endeavours the company will take.

3. Allows for more flexible and effective strategies when the non-industry employee can offer unique skills absent from the current roster.

There are plenty of traits, known as soft skills that can be found across all industries. They include skills such as leadership, problem solving, adaptability and more — managers wouldn’t hire outside their industry in order to find these types of skills. However, others such as media, finance, auditing, accounting, software knowledge, writing, editing, animation, filming, and many more are often niched down to specific industries. For instance, a wildlife photographer needs a very unique set of knowledge and skills to be successful at capturing elusive animals on film. These new skills can allow the company to adapt new strategies for current projects and, once again: allow for movement into new markets and new industries.

Advantages of hiring outside industry employees
Image Credit: U.S. Army Corps/Flickr

Cons of Hiring Outside Industry Help

1. May trigger pullback from change-averse employees.

There’s no question that many in the workforce as a whole are resistant to change. Hiring outside industry help can incite emotions ranging from fear, rage, jealousy and more from your current lineup of employees that are experienced at working in your industry. Whether healthy or not, most of us are programmed to fight change, even when it’s a necessity for long term survival.

2. Time can be wasted trying strategies that aren’t conducive to your industry or business.

It’s pretty much a given that firefighters don’t need to learn a new way to climb a ladder, or chop down walls and doors with their axe. Changing such processes would just waste valuable time that could be spent actually fighting the fire. In some cases a new approach isn’t what’s needed to execute more effectively, and being too open to new ideas where they’re not needed holds the potential to waste valuable time and money.

3. The outside industry employee may feel ostracised from the group and not valued for what they offer.

This is actually a risk that all managers take when hiring any new staff. Personalities clash and some new hires will be better at onboarding into the culture than others. However, when a legitimate “outsider” is hired into the company, there are tons of variables to consider including those I’ve mentioned already, and others including the fear of “why” you’ve hired the outsider and “how” that decision impacts an existing employee’s future with the company.

Share your views…

When do you believe is the best time to hire outside industry help?

For instance, is it best to diversify from the very beginning, or is it best to have a solid foundation of industry-minded staffers before shaking things up?

Image Credit: danieljordahl/Flickr