I’m starting to get into my year end marketing mode. December tends to be a slower month for hiring simply because it is harder to get hiring managers to focus. But as I’ve said before, the holidays are a good time for relationship building and a good time to queue things up for the New Year. This is true for job hunting and for business development.
If you are actually looking to hire talent for your company, the same is true. December may not be the easiest time to assemble hiring managers and get them to schedule interviews; but in a tight job market, you want to be ahead of the curve. December can be a good month to use creative ways to fill your pipeline with talent or strengthen your bonds with good prospects.
With a tight job market, one area where recruiters can be creative is to look more actively at talent without industry experience. There are clear instances where this is not a good strategy (Think “Heck of a job Brownie” after Hurricane Katrina). There are many jobs where industry experience is clearly important (e.g. I recently worked on 2 searches for lawyers with licensing experience in the life sciences but steered clear of lawyers who only had licensing experience in the software industry–the business terms in each industry are very different). But in many other instances, a smart person has transferable skills which could easily be applied to a different industry.
On top of this, there are some fallacies about hiring from within your industry. Industry experience may translate into a deeper understanding of the particular problems that your industry faces. At the same time, the mere fact that someone has been doing a particular job for a long time does not mean they have been doing the job well.
In addition, someone who has done the same thing for the same industry for 20 years may be bored.
In contrast, hire someone who is coming from outside the industry and you may end up with a superstar who is much more motivated to learn and much more excited to be there.
Hiring managers are always going to display some conservatism when considering talent from outside of their industry. As I said in an post last week, no one wants to be blamed for making a bad hiring decision. But a tight job market will give you some cover. And maybe you’ll be responsible for recruiting the next superstar.