Too many hiring managers and sales executives believe the most cost-effective and efficient way to find top talent is to hire from within their industry. The idea of less ramp up time, industry knowledge, and predictability are all valid reasons to consider industry reps, but it may also cost you more time, effort and money in the future. Before you hire your next sales rep, consider the advantages of hiring outside your industry first.
1. Positive Company Perception
Companies that restrict hiring to industry-only candidates give off the perception that they’re resistant to change. Top talent is attracted to companies that are using best practices and offer the opportunity for growth, not companies that always want to stick with what’s safe and comfortable. The best way to communicate to top sales reps and sales leaders that your company is progressive and current is to hire top performers outside of your industry.
2. Sales Skills Over Technical Knowledge
One of the reasons companies want to hire salespeople within their industry is to find someone with industry knowledge. While this may help decrease training and ramp up time in the beginning, it does not mean the sales rep is a top performer. Hiring sales reps with high revenue achievement and track records of success are better predictors of future sales success than simply technical knowledge.
3. No Non-competes or Customer Block Out Times
Many companies hire within their industry in order to expand their company’s sales funnel by capturing previous customers and contacts from new hires. There are two reasons why this logic is flawed. First, when hiring within the same industry, the chance of running into legal issues with non-competes is very high. You can spend hours of your time and energy recruiting and soliciting people, but then find out they can’t join your team because of a non-compete.
Next, even if someone doesn’t have a non-compete that they can’t be in your industry, they may have customer block out times where they can’t continue relationships with past customers for up to one, two, or even five years down the road.
Hiring outside your industry ensures that you won’t waste your time searching for the perfect candidate only to be stifled by legal issues.
4. Unlimited Talent Pool
A small talent pool can only produce so many candidates. You’ve cold called, solicited industry players, sought out the competition and you’re still not finding people within that audience? Your only option left it to hire B and C players. These people are able to sell and achieve, but won’t get you the results that an A player would. In a small talent pool, you’re forced to hire, but not based on skill set. When you open up the playing field to outside of your industry, suddenly the talent pool is enormous and the likelihood of hiring an A player becomes much higher.
5. Fresh Perspective
Hiring from the same, like-minded group of people is ideal if you want to keep ending up with the same results. If you want to promote change and innovation, consider hiring outside of your industry. Someone who is not familiar with your industry can provide a fresh perspective and outlook on the way things are done at your company.
Hiring from outside your industry can potentially save you time, effort and even money throughout your recruiting process and well into the future. That’s not to say you should completely rule out hiring anyone from within your industry, but you shouldn’t limit your recruiting efforts to industry only. The advantages of recruiting outside your industry are great and should be considered when deciding what skills are most important when hiring a new sales rep.