Challenging the status quo


Before the panic of recession descended on our green and pleasant land, most employers enjoyed the cherry-picking freedom of a world where the most budding of sector-specialist talent was at their hiring-based disposal; a flourishing economy allowed employers to narrow their focus and insist on sector-specific experience. But in these uncertain times, even the most focused of companies are finding the need to be more open minded in their approach to recruitment. And that’s no bad thing.

It’s hardly surprising that a significant number of workers, all sitting comfortably at their well established desks, are reluctant to rock the metaphorical ‘work boat’ in the search for pastures new — for those sectors that are performing better than average, workers don’t feel the need to look for new opportunities – or don’t dare move from the comfort of relative security. On the flip side, is an available talent pool construed of people that are looking for work because they have to, in greater numbers than those who are looking because they want to. We say again, that’s no bad thing.

And the reason that neither of these facts are as alarming as they first appear, is chiefly because the involuntary removal of ‘sector safe recruitment’ has allowed hiring managers to take the sort of risks, diversifications, and deviations from the norm that they should have taken years ago. But without necessity risk is always, well, a little risky.

Historically, industries kept it firmly in the family: recruiting those with sector-specific experience, or skills intrinsic to their discipline. But with this latest of recessionary-led trends, employers are beginning to see the very real potential in basing hiring decisions on transferable skills and personality fit, regardless of industry background. Whether it’s communication, IT know-how, or the ability to deliver presentations and organise meetings, these skills transcend industry-imposed divides.

And it’s not only jobseekers that are soaking up the benefits: organisations, industries and entire sectors are getting a fresh injection of talent — complete with alternate perspectives and refreshing inputs. For instance, the HR manager that makes the transition from public to private may take with them customer focus, people skills, and a certain level of compassion and understanding; while the PA moving from finance into retail might have a more accomplished hold on strategy, and possess a greater level of business acumen.

Of course we can’t always clearly categorise public against private, or sectors against each other, but this approach does teach us to adopt a less clear cut view of the

recruitment market. And when you open yourself — and your company — up to the possibility of new avenues of talent, the potential for growth really is endless.

So the next time you’re on the hiring path, why not cast your net a little wider? You might just find a hidden gem, with a whole different spectrum to bring to the table.