3 unconventional sources for top talent

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Sometimes great talent can be found in unconventional places. Looking for employees with an open mind, and considering things that might not normally occur to you first, can actually be a strategic way to hire.

Here are three different sources where your next great employee might be hiding:

1) Career-switchers
For a lot of professional industries, that first step, or “breaking in” is the trickiest. For somebody more senior in their career, taking a side step can be even more frustrating. As hiring managers we are understandably attached to having industry experience. But looking beyond that requirement can have its benefits.

A friend of mine was relentlessly trying to break into the Healthcare industry, which is notoriously unforgiving of candidates without industry experience. Eventually it turned out that her expertise in managing international supply contracts for a publishing company was the perfect background for a medical supply company who needed someone with a firm grasp of international contract management. A great candidate will show you how their own unique experiences can help, not hinder, that desired role in your industry.

Plus, anybody willing to take a pay or title cut even temporarily (as is usually the case with a career-swithcer) is going to have an unparalleled drive and determination to succeed.


2) Boomerangs

A recent article in the Globe talked about the merits of boomeranging back to an old job. That is, leaving a company only to return as an employee later on. But what about from the perspective of an employer? Beyond the obvious shortened learning curve, Boomerangs can actually be strategic hires.

“Often employees will leave to pursue an education, try out another industry or even head to the competition,” explains HR expert Sarah Paul.  “In any of these situations, the employee would come back with an even greater skill set or knowledge base than when they left. 

“Many managers may take it personally that an employee leaves, but the more progressive leaders realize that sometimes employees need to leave in order to achieve their own career goals or to see what else is going on out there in the market.”

 The only caveat to this? Don’t choose a boomerang employee simply because they would be a quick and easy hire. “They should be put through the interview process just like any other candidate with a clear understanding of their motivation for returning,” says Paul.

“The fact that you offered them a second chance will likely heighten their level of commitment.”

3) Athletes

Sports, or any kind of serious athletic involvement, are a hidden breeding ground for good employees. Self-discipline, motivation, the ability to work on a team, focus, energy—all of these sound like qualities of the ideal employee. Especially in new grads, it can be a hidden indicator of somebody well-prepped for the business world.

Plus, studies consistently show that physically fit employees have decreased absenteeism, higher productivity, and lower insurance costs. There is a reason that implementing corporate wellness programs is such a hot topic at the moment; there is actually an ROI attached to them. Give your business a running start and consider hiring someone who is already committed to a healthy lifestyle.