How Much Does Industry Experience Matter Part 2

first_imgWhat does industry experience even mean these days anyway? Are we supposed to interpret this term narrowly or broadly? For example, if a cloud computing company is asking for industry experience, do they want someone with cloud computing experience only? Or would experience in any software be okay? How about any general background in IT? How specific are we supposed to be?As mentioned in my last blog post, most hiring managers would prefer industry experience, but they aren’t going to lose their minds if that can’t be found in the best candidate. The priority is to hire someone strong in their discipline, who demonstrates spectacular leadership, problem solving ability, outside-the-box thinking, you know the rest. It doesn’t seem necessary to only hire people who worked for your direct competitors. You can be plenty successful without industry experience. Let me give you an example.Not too long ago, it was almost certain that Ford was destined to go out of business. In 2006, the company had just lost $17 billion. Then Alan Mulally took over and when 2010 wrapped up, a time still considered in recession, reports showed that Ford recorded a profit of $6.6 billion, the company’s highest in over a decade. Ford was almost doomed 5 years ago, so wouldn’t it have made perfect sense to bring someone in from the likes of Toyota, GM, or Volkswagen? Perhaps if industry experience requirements were that stringent.  However, Alan Mulally, the savior of Ford, actually came from Boeing. He shifted from the aerospace world to the automotive. Sure we could argue that both industries fall under modes of transportation, but for the purpose of this discussion, we know that industry experience, at least in this scenario, was either broadly defined or not required at all.Mulally was named the Person of the Year, Man of the Year, and CEO of the Year by the Financial Times, MarketWatch, Morningstar, and many others. He turned Ford around because he understood business. Mulally completely revamped Ford’s product strategy and sales process. It had nothing to do with experience in the automotive world. It had everything to do with being someone who knew how to manage crisis, how to define the problem, how to find the solution, how to inspire people, and how to lead and never flinch under pressure.That is the kind of person you want and need to hire. Try not to be overly disillusioned by industry experience and instead, try to focus on the few things that really do matter.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img

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