Despite our recent economic slowdown, new companies have sprung up throughout America. Established organizations are reexamining the way they do business. Medium-sized companies are expanding. New industries exist that are employing tens of thousands.
The more you appear to know about an industry, the easier it is to generate interviews. Virtually all employers look for “common ground” when hiring a new person. For example, do you have experience in or knowledge of similar product lines, distribution channels, manufacturing methods or problems in their industry? There can be other similarities. Consider the scope of operations, the role of advertising and promotion, the importance of the sales organization, the influence of labor, and other items.
Naturally, the harder it is to demonstrate knowledge of an industry, the less likely an executive is to make a move into it. That rule applies to all major disciplines: sales, marketing, finance, manufacturing and operations. It is less important in staff disciplines. Here are some examples of commonplace changes:
■ A marketing executive with a tobacco company joined a cosmetics firm. Why? Their methods of marketing are similar.
■ The EVP of a circuit board company was recruited to become president of a firm that makes power packs. Why? These industries have similarities in manufacturing and sales, even though the products are so different.
■ An executive of an aerospace company was recruited to become chairman of a small company that sells high tech services to defense contractors. Why? The key was the new chairman’s contacts and knowledge of the marketplace.
■ The controller of a component manufacturer was brought in as president of a company that produces plastic packaging. Why? The similarities have to do with cost control as the #1 challenge.
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