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Is the traditional approach to recruitment hindering commercial innovation?

ideasIf companies truly want to innovate within their industry, develop new products or services and get the very best out of their teams, it has to start at the beginning. That has to be at the point of recruiting the right people, and sometimes it really is worth considering those with an alternative, but still relevant, skill set. So why are we still seeing so many organisations continue to hire more of the same skills/experience but demand different outcomes?

Conservative budgets, continuing economic pressures and sometimes, a lack of visionary leadership are all very valid reasons why hiring strategies can hinder commercial innovation in today’s rapidly changing commercial world.

For some organisations it’s just hesitancy to hire the unfamiliar, preferring to rely on the ‘tried and tested’ model for attracting, recruiting, training and retaining talent. We are seeing a reluctance to invest in ‘different’ candidates, who are the very ones who often come with new ideas, experiences and business relationships.

If companies truly want to innovate within their industry, develop new products or services and get the very best out of their teams, it has to start at the beginning. That has to be at the point of recruiting the right people, and sometimes it really is worth considering those with an alternative, but still relevant, skill set. To continue focusing on the traditional talent sourcing approach is hindering innovation in business and potentially could also have a negative impact on any investment made in employer branding too.

So why are we still seeing so many organisations continue to hire more of the same skills/experience but demand different outcomes?

We often hear that businesses can’t afford the transition time it would take to hire talent that doesn’t have the exact experience their roles require. Their key concern is that skills won’t be transferable and individuals won’t understand the industry terminology and nuances. Candidates with proven experience in the same sector or discipline present a reliable, low risk option, however this ‘safe’ approach to recruitment leaves small chance for nurturing future stars that could potentially shape the growth and success of a business.

So when the future potential of a candidate isn’t completely clear, it can be quite a mental leap for organisations to take a chance on what someone ‘different’ may deliver. Investing in a candidate’s future potential is still viewed by many organisations as a potential risk. A focus on ROI means that organisations create no opportunity for ‘trial and error’ – which surely is the very basis of innovation?

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ recruitment approach, applying the same set of criteria to every individual, is a risky process that can ultimately harm a company’s potential. We’re not saying the having a set range of criteria in which to shortlist candidates isn’t effective but it also cuts out any possibility for identifying talent who can fill knowledge gaps within the business, deliver a fresh perspective, have contacts from a complementary industry and who can bring in new business and skills developed under different management styles.

Everybody knows that top-tier talent comes at a premium and, in certain sectors where there is a skills shortage, it’s the candidates who are dictating the salary levels right now. While some businesses will pay that premium to recruit candidates who tick every single box, time and financial limitations mean this is not always a viable option. If an individual has proven skills, demonstrable experience, can assess a business objectively and rapidly understand the requirements of their role then, even with a ‘different’ background, they will add value almost immediately and also have the clear potential to drive innovation within a business.

Candidates from different industries but with complementary experience can bring new skills and insights to the table. Raw talent, keen to make their mark and build their reputation, will go above and beyond what you can ever pay for, and be more likely to drive innovation and keen to be part of the growth and development of a business.

Recruitment is so much more than hiring nowadays. It’s about going out and targeting the right market, finding the right skill set, sourcing individuals who have the right motivators and are the best cultural fit too. The focus now should be on discovering whether a candidate has what it takes to fit into your organisation and really deliver, even if they don’t tick every single box. In summary, if you are considering recruiting at all in today’s ever changing market, ensure your chosen recruits have not only the skills and experience but also the potential to compliment the changing needs of your business .