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over 1 year ago by Peter Fitzroy

Cloning Talent Kills Your Organization


Could it be that you are slowly killing your business by the way you recruit talent? Maybe you are missing out on acquiring top talent by not thinking outside the box? Maybe your recent hire is under-performing or even worse - quit within the first 6 months? It could be time to change the way you recruit talent by assessing what is going wrong and re-evaluating your old tactics.

When it comes to hiring a new or vacant role, many hiring managers fail to think ‘long-term’. They are so busy or pressurized with fixing short term gaps or results that the thought of hiring a person who will fit in culturally, and add value in the long term goes completely out the window! They tend to look at the wisdom getting someone with ‘x’ years of this or ‘x’ years of that. But what does it matter if they have industry experience or relevant qualifications if they don’t fit in culturally or fit the company’s strategic vision? They won’t last 6 months.

In a growing economy, where the talent pool shrinks and skill shortages emerge it is time for hiring managers to show some courage and try something completely different. Why not look for talent outside your own industry? You might say, ‘If we hire someone outside our industry it will take too long for them to understand our business’. But is that really true? And how long does it really take? What makes your business so unique that only people that have worked in it are able to take over? In lots of cases the answer is, ‘Absolutely nothing’!

What is the guarantee that someone from your industry will fit in and perform in your company anyway? In leadership roles there are always challenges and problems and many of them are all the same, no matter what industry. The only differences are the variables like product knowledge, market knowledge and years’ experience. The skills and motivations to do the job in many cases are the same. Yes, there are exceptions, a manager in a service business may find it difficult to adapt to a manufacturing environment or someone in telecoms may not adapt to healthcare but the point is identifying what the ‘transferable’ skills are in great people and filling in the gaps. Would you rather have someone with the product knowledge but no motivation or someone with no product knowledge, similar skills and high motivation? Would you select 10 years of mediocrity over 7 years of achievement?

Instead of hiring clones, search in a wider, deeper, more diverse talent pool and look at what great talent from outside your industry could do for you. If done correctly, you will have someone your competition doesn’t have. You will have a ‘game changer’. They are adaptable, enthusiastic, and eager to learn who will challenge the status quo, look at things from a different angle and provide new creative approaches to problem solving. They will reinvigorate your business and change the direction for the better.

Hiring outside your industry might create more work in the short term but in the medium and long term you will have a great hire, with the right skill set, trained, loyal and full of drive and imagination. Within 6 months you will be wondering what all the panic was about and within 2-3 years you could well have found your successor!

Instead of hiring based on numbers and facts, widen your search to focus on skills and motivations and you will have invested in looking after the future of your organization.​