While working for a retailer, I came across a person who was overqualified for a marketing manager position. But I hired her anyway. She was cross-functional, meaning she could easily step in and handle the marketing stuff. But she had more skills than that. I could throw her into any department and she could figure it out. Sure, we used her for marketing, but we used her for so many other things as well.
Too often, we set criteria as to whom we want to hire, and narrow the focus so much that we can’t possibly get everything we’re looking for.
Believe it or not, sometimes hiring a person with less experience in a specific industry is better for one very big reason:
While I was working for Viacom’s Paramount Parks theme park division, the company hired the first VP of marketing ever from outside the company. And then I came on board to handle advertising and promotions. We hired a PR guy from an agency background, and eventually, most of the marketing team came from outside the business. The results? Record attendance, record revenues, and record profits — records that still stand 14 years later.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Get outside the hiring box.
You’re the only one who says you have to hire a retail manager. No one else. So you’re the only one stopping yourself from hiring a different kind of person.
Do an assessment of the position. What are the key attributes you’re looking for? Chances are you’ll want someone who has managed people before, someone who is detail oriented, someone who has interacted with clients or customers, etc. That person can be anyone, from any number of backgrounds.
Don’t limit yourself to someone who has worked retail only. Because you’ll get what you pay for. That’s not to say there aren’t great retail managers out there that can teach you some things. But I’ve found that it’s the combination of the right attributes, experience and personality that make the greatest employees. Give me a fresh mind that I can mold vs. a mind that’s stuck in one mentality. That’s the true opportunity of hiring outside the retail box.
What success are you having by hiring people outside your industry?
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