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How Nontraditional Hires Can Transform Your Organization

June 11, 2020

Erin Iafelice

Nontraditional hires – those candidates who have relevant core competencies for the job but perhaps not the traditional industry experience – are an exciting solution for the situations TA teams must cope with in this “new normal.”

Cross-sector hiring isn’t new, per se. For years businesses have been looking at nontraditional hires for leadership positions and private sector roles in which government/public sector experience is an advantage. There’s also a tradition of cross-sector hiring for talent-scarce technical positions such as engineering. What’s different now is one, the expansion of this idea to high-volume roles, and two, the ability to do it successfully using pre-employment assessments. With the right technologies and processes in place, nontraditional hires can transform your organization.

Why consider nontraditional hires?

The idea of nontraditional hires is out of the comfort zone for many recruiters and hiring managers. When you understand what nontraditional hiring can add to your organization, it becomes worth another look:

  • Diversity. Nontraditional hires can bring a different perspective on processes, and different solutions to similar problems they’ve seen working in another industry. This approach can increase the diversity of thought in your organization and possibly other aspects of diversity. It’s a two-for-one solution.
  • Agility. The abrupt transition to virtual work and the need to keep businesses going without personal contact have taught us a lesson: Every organization needs employees with a change-ready attitude. Qualified nontraditional hires are demonstrating their agility and change readiness by merely accepting your job offer. 
  • Contagious energy. Nontraditional hires who accept the challenge of a new industry breathe fresh energy into teams and the people around them – that’s the right kind of contagious!

The other big reason to consider nontraditional hiring is this: With more than 40 million job losses since mid-March due to the pandemic, there’s an enormous pool of talent available. Pre-employment assessments that focus on job-relevant competencies make it possible to consider nontraditional hiring as a sustainable TA strategy.

What to look for in assessment technology

Not every type of assessment will help you identify nontraditional hires qualified for your roles. The key is finding assessments concentrating on an individual’s core competencies – those core aspects of ourselves that remain relatively stable over time. While job duties and responsibilities can be learned, the core competencies must be there for on-the-job success. Modern Hire’s pre-hire assessments have this focus and bring machine learning (AI) and predictive analytics to the hiring process to reliably predict job performance.

Transparency in assessment technology is critical in nontraditional hiring for both candidates and the TA team and hiring managers. As mentioned above, nontraditional hiring may be out of the comfort zone because it is a change to experience requirements. Look for a hiring partner than can demonstrate scientific proof, protected class fairness, and job relevance in their assessment technology. It’s also a good idea to ask for the vendor’s ethical position on AI.

Finally, look for assessments that are integrated into a larger hiring platform like Modern Hire. Nontraditional hires may need more engagement and conversation to understand the potential your role and organization hold for them. The Modern Hire enterprise hiring platform provides candidates with this insight through realistic job previews and immersive job simulation experiences in the pre-employment assessments. TA teams also have opportunities and the tools to build in job- and company-specific content throughout the hiring process. That’s information that all candidates are looking for regardless of prior work history. The Modern Hire platform leverages intelligent interactions at each step of the process to build on candidates’ hiring journeys, creating more in-depth insights and a more personal hiring experience for them.

If you’re considering a nontraditional hiring approach, explore Modern Hire’s Hiring Blueprints. Hiring Blueprints provides a repeatable, proven method to evaluate traditional and nontraditional candidates for nearly 60 specific job families. It’s a jumpstart that can accelerate hiring for high-volume roles and bring valuable nontraditional hires into your organization.