Stop Fishing in the Same Pool

Sam Hall


Attracting the best talent doesn’t necessarily mean attracting the best like-for-like talent.

A McKinsey & Company report points out that “traditional sources of [talent attraction] strength are coming under pressure from intensifying competition for talent”, which, while not groundbreaking in its message, highlights a crucial point; the need to look beyond the usual places.

The outside of the box approach to talent attraction is well articulated by a comment in Forbes, which hits a current note, in that “a non-traditional hire with different perspectives can inject sorely needed energy and creativity into the mix”. This isn’t to say that traditional sources of talent don’t bring creativity and energy, but rather that diversity in skill sets, experiences and backgrounds can offer different perspectives and solutions to issues, which may not otherwise come to fruition. Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner for UK & Ireland at McKinsey goes further when she recently highlighted that “when we are surrounded by people who are similar to us, we are more likely to be influenced by groupthink and fall for wrong ideas.”

Two differing industries, Wealth Management and Aviation, that have traditionally hired from their own sectors, share the common perception that their traditional pools of respective talent are ‘incestuous’ in nature and ‘everybody knows everybody’. However, both have seen some refreshing approaches to diverse talent attraction in recent times which, in turn, demonstrate some of the associated benefits of hiring from elsewhere.

A well-known Wealth Management firm has reached the point where, in certain markets, they feel they know who all the best Client Advisory talent is, as does its competition…

Whether new hires are made ultimately boil down to whether they or a competitor can offer more money to bring them on board. This firm has since innovated its approach by also looking at transferring the right, desired skills from non-Wealth Management backgrounds, focusing its efforts on the investment banking and private equity spheres, and building attraction campaigns to entice the desired talent to move across into the Wealth space. This has added a richness of new talent, that is still very well networked among the right target clients, ensuring a dual approach to hiring the best talent; remain focused on traditional sources, while opening up a whole new world of potential. While this approach is still in its relative infancy, it has already created new streams of revenue generation through the networks of those hired from out-of-sector.

The second example, in Aviation, has seen a growing regional European airport hiring numerous senior individuals from non-aviation backgrounds in order to seek innovative and different ideas and approaches. This is contrasted greatly by another regional airport that traditionally makes circa 90% of its hires through internal promotion, which it readily admits ‘smothers creative thinking’, yet it realises it requires an approach to attracting “different” talent going forward in order to “dilute the gene pool”. While the businesses in both examples are at different stages of their talent acquisition strategies, the realisation of the need to ‘fish in different pools’ is in itself a crucial step towards attracting relevant, yet diverse talent. A key benefit the former airport has seen in light of hiring out-of-sector, non-traditional talent is an increase in applications from non-aviation professionals for a wide variety of opportunities. The airport’s perceived openness to out-of-sector talent has significantly improved its awareness as an employer and its attractiveness to the wider talent market.

All the cited examples above have seen 6 Group’s Talent Acquisition Consulting arm, which delivers talent mapping and pipelining, directly involved. We support businesses in identifying the issues at hand, devising the required approach and carry out the programmes of work, complementing in-house capability to identify, assess and ultimately attract the right out-of-sector skill sets. Such approaches support our clients to understand where the desired talent is, the external perception of the opportunity, client’s employer brand and industry and to provide the evidence required to answer the question ‘Can you ultimately hire diverse, non-traditional talent and, if so, how?’.

Fishing in different pools can reap a host of benefits, with the outcomes and evidence of driving non-traditional talent pools being better-informed hiring strategies, in the process supporting organisations to steal a march on competitors that are utilising more traditional sources.

To find out how we can help empower your talent acquisition strategy, get in touch.

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