A true recruitment story.
Some time ago, I learned that a very prestigious Oncology Hospital was searching for a VP of Clinical Services. The candidate had to have experience working in the field of Oncology.
I contacted the Chief Nursing Officer and introduced myself. I politely asked if I could assist in recruiting to fill this critical position – being paid on contingency (commission only.) The hospital was under no financial risk.
She then asked me if I had any experience “recruiting in the field of Oncology.” I had not. I have filled many senior nursing positions, but not specifically in the field of Oncology.
She politely told me that without any experience recruiting in the field of Oncology that she would be reluctant to move forward with my services.
I thanked her for her time and was ready to hang up the phone.
I then said in closing that while I respectfully understood her perspective, I asked her if at any time in her career, did someone “give her a shot” meaning, did someone give her the opportunity to prove herself. She said yes, of course.
I respectfully asked for the same courtesy. To please give me a chance to simply prove myself and if she gave me that chance to conduct a recruitment search that I would not let her down. I made my case on a personal level. I put her in my shoes.
So what happened next? She gave me a chance. And I am proud to say that I ended up filling this critical job opening with a superstar and I gained a new client. A win by a recruiter who persisted.
More importantly I learned a valuable lesson. Never discount the concept of transferable skills (and a little persistence.)
Haven’t done it before? Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, no one else had.
So the next time someone challenges you due to your lack of direct experience, you might want to respond that though you may not have the direct experience, you may certainly have the “transferable skills.”
Ask for what you want, you just might get it.