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Style over Substance?


How often does “where” you work prevent you from becoming who you want to be?

How often has an application for your next (dream) role been rejected because you are not from the same industry?

An increasing number of my network group have noticed problems recruiting talent, yet pretty much all of them gave a knee jerk “no way” to the suggestion of looking at people who have the talent but not the industry experience. And it seems, on my straw poll, that financial services are the worst!

I wonder, as a HR profession, when does experience in the industry be the primary criteria for deselection over and above any other HR experience?
For those clients, what has happened in the past to make the criteria so important. And how close to discrimination is it??

Liam Dolan

4 Responses

  1. Recruitment, Selection and the use of Emails!
    I would be interested to know anyone’s opinion regarding the use of emails to respond to job applicants. Whilst I should imagine that it is satisfactory to acknowledge receipt by email, is this an equally acceptable method of rejecting applicants, as obviously it is one of the most cost effective and efficient methods of communicating, almost guaranteeing that your response reaches the correct destination.

    I look forward to your comments.

    Thank you.

  2. Transferable Skills
    HR are always banging on to everyone else about transferable skills but when it comes to our own professional and garbage talked we could be growing the world’s supply of fungi.

    I have worked in Defence, Professional Services (Accountancy, Legal & Consultancy) Retail, Software, Electronics, Facilities, HVAC and numerous others including a number of years as the HR representaive on the Board.

    However every time you apply for a job there is always some excuse over you don’t have the right experience or come from the right background.

    I have even been told by one agency that I wouldn’t get an interview as I was a man and as the client was a cosmetics company I wouldn’t understand the product. (Sex discrimination is alife and well and not all the victims are women.)

    We don’t have the blinkers on for other professions I have regularly seen accountants etc move from one industry to another so why do we always put our own down.

    We are not a specialists in racing car design or fashion or Sales etc etc we are specialist in HR. At the end of the day a new Industry or sector is nothing more than learning a new product. The same as a salesman moving from Company A selling Dog Food to Company B selling a different dog food. They have to learn the product. HR Is no different.

    It is time many of these dinosaurs moved over and let those who practice professional HR have a go. May be, we would have less arguments about HR being on the top table if the dinosaurs weren’t setting the agenda.

  3. The blinkered view of recruitment selection?
    I find this situation so depressing. I have been responsible for selection in the past and the range of candidates that made it to interview were invited because of who they were and their transferrable skills. I believe that bringing experience from one sector to the next can be challenging but beneficial.
    What is it about the sector view that makes working in that industry so precious? If there is a technical deficiency I could understand it. And don’t get me started on when people in the earlier stages of their careers – ie recent graduates, school leavers – get the “no specific experience” knockback.
    That didn’t answer the question though – but it helped me get it off my chest!

  4. It happens, and its wrong
    I’ve now worked in HR in chemicals, fmcg, tansportation, health products and aviation. Each move has been against the norm. Whilst sector experience has some sort of value for HR folk, in my view it is greatly over-emphasised. The worst perp.s are the Search/Headhunter/Agency Companies who organise themselves by sector, and therefore make the situation worse. In my limited experience the most blinkered sector, by far, was Aviation.

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