“Get me out of here!” A Guide to Hiring Outside of Sector

As the UK continues to try and navigate a period of uncertainty, the associated Talent impacts are very real and proving problematic. One recent industry survey revealed that 90% of employers are either facing or expect to face challenges when recruiting at leadership and executive level. This lack of leadership Talent is becoming a growing issue. This Talent shortage will not only impact productivity over the coming years, but also restrict longer term growth plans. In summary, here are a few pointers to hiring outside of sector:

  • If your current route to market is turning up the same tired faces, maybe it’s time to look in a different place! Rather than pursuing the same Talent in the same pools, focus on recruiting the best, wherever that Talent may come from.
  • Many of the challenges our Clients face are shared with other Industry sectors with similar processes and complexities. There are of course unique issues specifically applicable to the Infrastructure and Built Environment sector; however business is business and people are people. That’s what makes diversity both a key driver and an associated benefit of hiring out of sector.
  • A cross-sector approach to hiring works well when the brief is for a technical role with strong leadership skills. For example, an engineer who has made the transition from individual contributor to, say, a senior engineering leadership role, could be an ideal candidate. At this level, the focus is less on technical skills, and more about leading and directing other technical colleagues.
  • Cross-sector hiring requires a different approach to sourcing candidates, interviewing and on-boarding. Part of our role is to help Clients define the type of Talent required. What you think you want, and what you actually need, can be two very different things.
  • Previous reputation and the lack of Client awareness from outside of sector can also be an issue. Whilst some employers may have a leading reputation in their own space, the employer brand and EVP may not be as well known in another sector. Solid, early communication around your employer brand and EVP is important when engaging with Talent outside of sector.
  • Those involved in the interviewing/hiring process need to be well-prepared for a different type of interview. As the Search Consultant, we and HR will have a role to play in preparing everyone involved in the interview process. Managers need to focus on behavioural as well as technical competencies.
  • Talking to Talent across a number of sectors can yield important feedback on a Client’s employer brand. In cross-sector career conversations, we look to gather intelligence about perceptions of the hiring organisation (and competitors). We feed this intelligence to help inform and improve your EVP. .
  • Leadership success is about having the right behaviours and mindset, not just specific sector experience. Forward-thinking companies, the kind of companies that are making very deliberate efforts to look outside of their sectors to source exceptional leadership Talent, know this and are benefiting from building a more diverse and inclusive business.
  • It is essential that out-of-sector hires get the support to adapt to an unfamiliar environment. The process does take a little longer but, as Clients tell us, the investment is worth it. Get it right, and a skilfully sourced, carefully integrated individual, is a positive, productive contributor.

A broader approach will doubtlessly demand a little more investment in the short term. But this commitment will, over time, look insignificant when measured against the benefits brought by an injection of fresh energy, new perspectives, and broader transferable skills.

If you would like to discuss how Norman Broadbent Solutions could support you with such business initiatives and recruiting out of sector, please contact Tony Robinson on tony.robinson@normanbroadbent.com