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Don’t Disregard the Wildcard

During the recruitment process the obvious choice may not always be the most rewarding.

In an ideal world when a business or recruiter places a job advert, a plethora of CVs from industry experienced executives with a wealth of relevant qualifications, future vision and outstanding achievements would arrive on their desk.

Unfortunately that rarely is the case and perhaps it could be the reason why your recent applicants or placements aren’t matching up to your needs or expectations. In the past few years of austerity sticking with what you know might have been the safer option, however now that business is looking up, organisations are feeling increasingly comfortable taking a risk when recruiting.

In todays ‘War for Talent’ driven jobs market you need to attract the best talent to come to and stay with your organisation. The best talent may not always be the candidates that match on paper exactly what the role specifications or client brief are stipulating. According to Wikipedia talent in management equates to a combination of a sharp strategic mind, leadership ability, emotional maturity, communications skills, the ability to attract and inspire other talented people, entrepreneurial instincts, functional skills, and the ability to deliver results. Why wouldn’t you want this kind of person in your business?

A diamond in the rough
What exactly is a Wildcard? A Wildcard is someone who is left of centre and doesn’t necessarily fit the bill specifically as far as the job spec is concerned. They could be from the same industry, but hold a very different role or perhaps have a similar role but from an entirely different industry altogether.

What if a candidate who has all the above ‘talent in management’ skills, but who doesn’t quite have the correct fit or industry knowledge was handed to you? Would you discount them immediately and not even meet them? Here is a list of reasons why the Wildcard should at least be considered and sometimes favoured over other candidates within the interview process.

An outside chance
Perhaps an industry outsider could be the way forward in order to get the right candidate. There could be a wealth of opportunities in employing somebody from a different industry. Firstly they could potentially bring with them an entirely new customer base which you could try to tap into, or perhaps even diversify your product or service to include their industry expertise too. Secondly an ‘outsider’ can give you a fresh pair of eyes and a strong suite of ideas in areas where you may have become a little blinded by routine and processes.

As an executive search consultant I recently placed a candidate with a strong sales background in Logistics into Certification which is a completely different industry The result and fit for both parties however was great. The client gained a very strong candidate who had shown the desire to be successful and achieve promotion in a similar role in a different industry, bringing with them not only new ideas but also the drive and ambition to repeat their success and replicate their achievements in a new sector. The candidate has gained an excellent position within a successful organisation who were actually looking for ‘new blood’, someone different who can make a major impact before moving on to new challenges. The effect was so great that even at second interview stage the client was discussing the next challenge and how the candidate could develop their career once they had achieved their objectives within the initial role.

Come up trumps
One of the main reasons for not employing a Wildcard may be that you’d envisaged they would cost you a lot of time in extra training to bring them up to speed. That may be true in some cases, however in general when recruiting somebody who does not have the required experience or qualifications you might not have to pay the going rate for that position as they are usually prepared to take a hit in salary in order to move industry which pays for any time or training costs. A fresh outlook and enthusiasm in their new chosen field or career may just give a new recruit the extra commitment to get through the learning process a lot more quickly than expected with a lot more positivity.

A risky manoeuvre?
The financial implications to both parties could be a little daunting particularly for the employee who might worry that they are going to be underpaid or overqualified and have to take a pay cut in order to change role or industry. However, it could just be the right decision for someone whose career progression may have plateaued or their particular industry is in decline for example. Sometimes it’s wise to take a step back in order to bring some renewed vigor, excitement and the possibility of future progression or just for plain job satisfaction.

An ace in the pack
A Wildcard could be just what your company is looking for, whether you are fishing in a sea of candidates or are struggling to find one that fully matches your job spec, perhaps you should turn the tables and start afresh, you never really know what you may be missing out on until you actually meet someone face to face. Rather than stick to your incredibly strict brief, think what can that candidate offer you to add value to your business? What transferable skills do they possess? If you play your cards right what initial may seem like the joker in the pack may turn out to be the ace up your sleeve.

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