Welcoming this idea could very well cause overnight improvement in the response you get from posted job ads — the concept of changing lanes. Changing lanes can be defined as communicating in your job ad that you welcome people to apply even though they may have no experience in your industry. Let’s have a history lesson:

For the better part of the last 40 years jobs, ads have included education and experience requirements for the job. I remember in the 1980’s, even entry level manufacturing jobs would require “manufacturing experience” …whatever that meant. Because there were way more people looking for jobs than there were jobs available, companies could fill the job ad with very high hurdles the job seeker had to jump through to be considered for even entry level jobs. The message was clear; if you apply for this job without the required education or experience, you can fully expect we will not even respond.

It got even worse right after the Great Recession of 2008. In the years following that event, there were tens of thousands of talented people who were out of work… in many cases, due to no fault of their own. At that time, because of the tidal wave of applications that companies received for every open position, many HR departments raised their requirements even higher to make sure we got 50 applicants, not 250.

So, how is that working for you today…?

Let me point out — it is very likely you have many talented people in your organization who came from other industries. If they had the skills and drive to do the job, you didn’t care where they got those skills if they were able to successfully transition those skills to your industry. But how would anyone know you would welcome them in from another industry …unless we invite them in?

Here’s an idea for your next job ad. If you want to increase the size and background diversity of the pool, ask some of your best people what non-related industries they left to come to your company. Then, in your next job ad, tell people, “Our last three great employees came from banking, military service and manufacturing” (or whatever your employees tell you) “…if that sounds like you, then you sound like us!”

See, after telling people for 40 years not to try and change lanes from a different industry to ours, we would now welcome it. …How about we tell them?

If you are looking for insight or specific action steps to grow a process within your organization to Win the War for Talent, please reach out. It’s my passion to help companies solve their talent issues, whether that is finding the right talent or retaining and developing that talent. With the right processes in place, your organization can grow and thrive even more!

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