Career change candidates present a human resources conundrum. After all, there’s no small degree of uncertainty involved in hiring candidates with little to no industry experience. Increasingly however, savvy hiring agents are realizing that the potential benefits of adding career changers to your team far outweigh the risks.

Here are a few things you should know when recruiting and hiring career change candidates.

What Career Changers Bring to the Table

The decision to change careers is not a small one. When you evaluate a career change candidate, you do so with the confidence that a candidate has thoroughly considered the switch and is passionate in his/her decision to do so. You can also be sure that you’re getting a hard worker with an admirable sense of initiative. After all, anyone can coast along in their current career without ever changing trajectory, but it takes extreme perseverance to buck the status quo and follow your passion instead.

Beyond the Career Changers

In addition to offering sought-after character traits, career changers also add new viewpoints to your team. Because of their varied backgrounds, they enrich your company culture by bringing a breadth and depth of experiences and insights to the mix. The combination of a fresh perspective and enthusiasm for the job can vastly strengthen your team. In fact, the Center for Talent Innovation recently published a report pointing to the importance of a diverse workforce entitled, “Innovation, Diversity, and Market Growth,” revealing that teams consisting of members with a mix of inherent and acquired diversity are 45 percent more likely to build on market share and 70 percent more likely to capture new markets.

The takeaway?

Career change candidates offer a simple way to achieve this diversity.

Bringing in career change candidates also presents new mentorship opportunities to your existing team members. Pairing an incoming career change employee with a seasoned team member can help newcomers gain practical experience while giving current employees unprecedented chances for leadership and growth.

A Word of Caution

While career change hires can be advantageous, their successful integration into the workplace relies heavily on one thing: effective training programs. Failure to manage expectations by establishing a focused and comprehensive onboarding program can lead to confusions and misunderstandings — both for new hires and for your pre-existing team. Meanwhile, offering resources which ease the entry of career change hires into the workplace positions all of your employees to reach their full potential.

At the end of the day, your organization needs skilled and passionate employees with a strong work ethic. Does it really matter how they came by these traits as long as they’re able to help your business thrive in the here and now?

Businesses willing to rethink strategies about career change candidates are reaping many rewards in the process.

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