As a recruiter, CEO and business owner this is a question I have often posed to myself and clients alike. 

Many times in my career, clients have been adamant that ideal candidates must come with industry experience. Some will quote a quicker return on investment or the fact that they will understand our customers better, that they will understand the unique aspects of our industry or that they will have the networks etc.  All sound reasons.

However, I wonder whether it is time to challenge our thought process. At a time when we know every industry is undergoing change, fresh thinking and different experiences can accelerate our learning and our change programme.

If your industry is being “disrupted” then why would you not consider hiring someone who has perhaps faced similar change and survived?  Fresh thinking, requires someone to have been exposed to different experiences often in different environments. Whilst your new team member will go through a learning curve about your industry, this is the easy part as you already have a wealth of industry experience surrounding that person.

So perhaps it is more important when recruiting your next team member to consider the transferrable skills and one of my personal favourites, learning agility. The ability to pick up new concepts and tasks, so you can feel more comfortable that they can learn, adapt and transition into your environment.  Now please don’t get me wrong I am not discounting the value of industry experience but I am suggesting we challenge ourselves to go beyond that, questions ourselves whether industry experience is really necessary or is it just easy?