I had an interesting conversation with a recruiter we work with. He told me about a marketing executive he placed in a nationally ranked hospital system. What make the placement noteworthy is that the executive was coming from the airline industry. It’s not all that common for the Healthcare industry to reach outside itself for high-level executives.
So why’d it happen this time? The executive, we’ll call him Paul, had no experience with the challenges unique to the Healthcare industry and had no contacts in the industry to draw upon. He was the kind of candidate who wouldn’t get past the first screening, right?
Except… the hospital was looking to change its business strategy. They wanted patients to be seen as guests. The whole notion of “patients” is antiquated. That term is from the olden days when people would travel far and wide to appear on the doorstep of the town’s one doctor. They would then have to patiently wait as long as it took for the doctor to see them, hence the term patient. The hospital understood times have changed and people now have choices. People no longer have to patiently wait for a doctor to get around to them. The hospital wanted everyone who works in their system, and the greater community, to understand that those seeking care from them would be treated like honored guests – not number holders in a deli line. They expected this new way of looking at “patients” would attract guests from farther away, doctors looking for a fantastic place to work, and research opportunities.
The airline industry is very good at cultivating brand loyalty, so the recruiter was able to show his client that Paul, because he was coming from outside the industry, perfectly fit the profile they were seeking. He had tremendous experience doing exactly what they needed. He solved their business problem and added unique value to their business exactly because he was coming from an industry known for being skilled at developing band loyalty – exactly what they were looking to be known for.
This is not something that could be done via an online application, and not every recruiter or HR executive will make this type of connection. The first item on a recruiter’s checklist from a client is usually “industry experience.” So if you’re looking transition from one industry to another, especially if you’re coming from a struggling industry, remember:
- Research. You’ve got to fully understand the challenges the hiring company faces.
- Put it together for them. You’ve got to connect the dots because they won’t. Show how you are ideally positioned to help them exactly because of your experience in the other industry. People already in the industry won’t think any differently than the last person to hold the position. Use that!
- Get help. The screeners will filter you out unless you have a connection to get you past the gatekeepers.
It requires an engineer’s mindset to handle all the moving parts and an artist’s touch to paint the picture of how your expertise and thought leadership solve the business problems and achieve the goals in the new industry. So channel your inner da Vinci, add a daub of Picasso, and see yourself soaring to success in a whole new industry!
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