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The Case For Hiring Outside The Lines


For a while now I have been on the hunt for my next great position. Someplace I could make a difference, bring value to the company I work for and mentor and contribute to the development of younger professionals.

It's been a rough, albeit interesting journey. My friend C.C. Chapman summed up how I feel in a recent blog post regarding his quest for the right position: "My path seems to refuse to go straight even for a little while. I’d like to change that."

You see, I'm what some would call an "outside the lines" professional. I have a variety of skills - marketing, media relations, PR, social media marketing, content development and LinkedIn expertise.

While taken as a whole my portfolio of work is considered by most impressive (not bragging, I've been told so), it's sometimes difficult for a hiring manager or recruiter to recognize the value of bringing in someone with a myriad of work experiences.

My frustration is sometimes palatable to others, but most of the time I am upbeat and optimistic. I know that the right company (or agency) with the right position is out there. I just haven't found it - or better put - they haven't found me!

Hiring to a job description is one thing - ticking off the boxes to make sure there is a fit. But hiring to potential, background and range of experiences is something all together different.

It takes a bold company to say: "He's got most of what we're looking for, so let's take a chance."

As I'm a senior practitioner there is always the issue of "too much experience," sometimes code for you're too old or cost too much for us.

Several times I have been told I had too much experience, or I was questioned as to why I would take a Director position when I've been a VP.

All this leads me back to my point: hiring the right person for the job sometimes requires a leap of faith and working outside the lines of a job description.

If what I described is something you've experienced, let me know. I'd love to compare notes.

And to those potential employers: take a chance and step outside the lines. You'd be surprised how many amazing people are available to contribute to your organizations, given the opportunity to do so!

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Chuck Hester is the Chief Communications Officer for Big Think Innovation, a business architect consultancy that helps companies plan, grow and build their futures. He is also a LinkedIn trainer and speaker, helping businesses get the most out of LinkedIn, while teaching them how to communicate effectively. Contact him directly at chuck@bigthinkresults.com.

Need help with LinkedIn? Feel free to message Chuck and ask about one-on-one and group LinkedIn Executive Training.