When it comes to business, new ideas are a valuable commodity. Every business is seeking a competitive edge, a new idea that can catapult the company forward.

But, new ideas can be hard to come by. This is especially true when employees all derive from similar backgrounds or have been in the same industry for a number of years. Things can get pretty stale due to lack of fresh stimulation. And you know? That’s pretty normal.

When you operate in a certain “world” – for instance, the world of advertising, real estate, finance, or whatever it may be – you’re surrounded by people with similar experiences. They are in the same industry, so there’s a lot of familiarity with the methodology. There may be little exposure to outsiders, so things can get stale, meaning creativity is not exactly flowing.

New ideas – more often than not – come from the least expected avenues. They happen as a result of situational stimulation; something sparks. This usually happens when we’ve been motivated by something outside of our normal frame of reference. This is equally true when it comes down to hiring staff.

If you’re recruiting, it’s pretty common to be looking for industry experience. Sure, it may seem like the logical solution is to be looking for someone with industry experience. But here’s the thing, when you go down the traditional route, it’s the same gene pool that you, and most of your competitors, are drawing from.

Hiring outside of or adjacent to your industry means widening the net, expanding the talent pool and building a stronger company. It doesn’t mean hiring someone with no experience. Rather it means making a hire based on soft skills.

Soft skills are what separates one candidate from another when they are on equal footing. They are also highly transferrable; they are skills that are honed as a result of life and work experiences. The industry specifics can, more often than not, be acquired – of course, this does depend somewhat on the exact role and industry you’re recruiting for.

A candidate with strong soft skills, honed in a different industry, will bring a totally different perspective. The non-traditional hire is looking with a fresh set of eyes and seeing things inside your industry for the first time. A non-biased view allows a sense of wonder – thought-provoking questions are asked.

With a non-traditional hire, you get a totally new perspective that has an effect on flow. The blinders fall away, and the business gets a fresh injection of new ideas. That’s when the magic starts to happen.