on 15 Feb 2018 5:48 PM

I have been a headhunter for 25 years, interviewed around 30.000 people. I love my job, but there is one thing that I regret. There is one thing that could and should be dramatically changed and improved. To do so, it needs disruptive thinking also in recruitment. No, this is not about technology, it is not about a new recruitment platform and app. It is about alternative thinking. It is about looking at recruitment from a new perspective. It is about You.

Headhunters and recruiters in general are briefed according to a very tight script. And this script is heavily industry biased. A telecom company looks for a new Sales Director with deep telecom experience, of course. A food company needs people with profound food experience, a car company needs car experience and so on. Industry experience dominates it all. But why? Why can a computer sales manager not sell cars? Why can a pharma marketing manager not promote food? Why can an automotive controller not work in a hotel chain? Because you need to understand the industry, its way of thinking and dealing.

Maybe you are wrong?

 What if, the opposite was true? What if a clear industry outsider would bring so many new ideas and approaches, question all the “necessary” industry routines, because it does work different and better elsewhere? What if this would give you just the decisive advantage over competition?

This is disruptive recruitment: Hire on purpose an industry outsider!

 Why are you afraid? Too radical? Too much too loose? I do not agree! I am not saying that you should change your whole organization. I am just saying, put an outsider into a key position. Don´t just have “more of the same routines”. Be courageous and see what happens, if a real newcomer challenges all your well beaten paths. Look for experience, hire a brilliant person with emotional intelligence, but forget industry experience! At least once! There are so many seasoned and well experienced leaders around, who would love to change industries. Take advantage of it!

Jump over your shadow!

 I have been preaching this to my clients. They find it interesting, but nobody is ready to take the first step, yet. Some key decision maker has to jump over his/her shadow and then soon it might became a trend and we will ask ourselves “Why didn´t we do this earlier?” Are you the trend setter? Are you ready for disruptive recruitment? Go for it!


Dr. Klemens Wersonig
Founder & CEO
TARGET Executive Search