Innovative hiring: The benefits of recruiting from outside your sector

July 22, 2020

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When it comes to effective hiring, many employers prefer to choose candidates who know the company’s industry very well. However, while having industry experience is beneficial, hiring candidates from outside of your sector offers unique value to your workforce.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of hiring candidates from a different field as part of your innovative recruitment strategy.

Innovation and adaptability

Hiring candidates from outside of your industry opens the door to innovation. Someone who isn’t experienced in your sector won’t have industry fatigue and may be able to bring new and fresh ideas into the workplace.

Although it might feel safer to hire someone who knows your sector, taking a chance can add more value in the long run; it could lead to innovative changes that help your company to grow.

Those who are new to the industry also tend to be more adaptable and open to new ways of working. On the other hand, candidates who have been in the sector for a while can become comfortable with their own way of doing things. Employees with less industry experience won’t have any bad habits to break, but you can help them to make lots of good ones within the role.

Transferable soft skills

Although many job descriptions specify hard skills that candidates need to fulfil the role, soft skills are also important. These include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Initiative
  • Priority management
  • communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Organisational skills
  • Problem solving

Whilst all of these skills are important in a candidate, they don’t necessarily apply to one specific sector. In fact, these skills are important across all industries and, by widening the net into other industries, you’re more likely to find candidates who possess all of these qualities.

For example, while construction, engineering and manufacturing companies may prefer to hire project managers from their own space, there are many other industries where the ability to manage high-value projects is sought after and nurtured. Leadership and commercial skills can also be sourced from outside the existing energy, process and infrastructure talent pool.

Transferable hard skills


Some job roles have similar criteria across industries, and so it can make sense to hire from another sector.

For example, many energy companies target ex-military personnel as they have a high number of transferable skills, such as leadership and engineering skills. This means they’ll still be qualified to do a great job within your company, even if they’re new to the industry. Approximately 14,000 employees leave the armed forces on a yearly basis, providing a pool of top talent for energy bosses to tap into.

Discovering new potential 

Although skills are important when it comes to hiring new talent, it's important not to discredit potential. Exploring candidates with potential rather than an exact match provides a great opportunity to develop the employee and grow their career with you. It also keeps the employee engaged for longer and helps to increase your company's retention rate. 

Many candidates looking for new opportunities are in search of personal development and growth, so by offering that, you can attract employees that fit well within your company culture. Providing excellent training and mentoring to these candidates keeps them loyal. 

Valuing potential over skills expands your talent reach too, because it means you're looking outside the box. By focusing on factors outside of your job description checklist, you increase your chances of hiring someone who fits perfectly within your team dynamic. Skills can be taught, but attitude is more difficult to change, so it's important to consider this during the hiring process. 

Increasing your talent pool reach

You may have reached the limit of your potential candidate pool and traditional recruiting tools. You might find, when hiring within your current sector, that passive candidates are harder to find and employee referral programs have been exhausted.

If this is the case, looking for candidates outside of your industry could widen your talent pool and introduce you to fresh potential employees with transferable skills that are perfectly suited to the job you’re hiring for.

Widening your candidate search will also help you to develop a more diverse culture. If you find that your candidate pool consists of potential employees with similar experience levels, ethnicities and educational backgrounds, it might be helpful to broaden your search and look for talent within other industries.

Reduction in payroll costs

When recruiting from competitor businesses, companies often find themselves offering higher wages to motivate potential employees to leave. As a result, salaries can increase, adding to the payroll burden and potentially impacting budgets.

Hiring someone from another industry means you don’t have to compete with other employers on the basis of wage alone - you can offer candidates the excitement of working in a new sector where their skills are unique, rather than a commodity to be haggled over.

Demonstrating flexibility and diversity

The majority of companies thrive on the ability to be flexible and learn to adapt to changes in the market.

Sometimes, hiring individuals with a lot of industry knowledge is a risk as they might be so used to their way of working that they become blind to fundamental changes within the industry. On the other hand, someone with less experience may be more open and adaptable to change.

Employing staff with different professional backgrounds can enrich your company by adding diversity. These workers can fulfil the requirements of the job whilst offering a fresh perspective and new ideas to the business. This will give your company a competitive edge.

How Airswift can help you find the best candidates for your company


Here at Airswift, we’re dedicated to helping companies in the energy, process and infrastructure industries find the talent they need.

With more than 40 years of experience in recruiting engineering talent in countries all over the world, we have a range of services that can help. Our talent acquisition specialists will support you throughout the recruitment process and identify candidates according to your specific needs. We’ll help you hire the perfect workers for your company, while offering a great candidate experience too.

Looking to hire?  We can find you the talent to grow


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This post was written by: Tennille Hall, Talent Acquisition Director at Airswift