Image by Matthew Henry

HR Lessons Learned: Hiring Takeaways from 5 Different Industries

Talent acquisition is one of the most critical yet challenging undertakings for any business. Companies in many sectors face a shortage of workers today; they face stiff competition to hire applicants—any applicant. At the same time, hiring managers in other sectors must sift through a surplus of applications to find the best candidate.

In 2020, 74 percent of CEOs globally were concerned about the availability of key skills, with 32 percent being “extremely concerned.” There’s sufficient reason behind these concerns, too. A successful hire can extend a business’s value, while a poor selection can represent a considerable waste of resources.

As you can imagine, HR teams and recruiters are looking for ways to solve this problem. And many look for help in this area by turning to other industries. For example, what are companies in tech doing to improve efficiencies in hiring practices? How are organizations in the manufacturing sector, many of which are struggling through a long-term labor shortage, meeting this challenge?

To answer those questions, let’s look at standard hiring practices in five sectors at both ends of the labor spectrum. Perhaps by reviewing the HR lessons learned in each, your company can learn how to optimize your talent acquisition strategy.

1. Technology: Pre-employment Testing

The technology industry is one of the most rapidly growing sectors today. It also involves a high level of specialization and expertise, and as such, has had to develop similarly specialized hiring methods. Most notably, tech companies frequently rely on pre-employment tests.

In the tech sector, an applicant’s education and occupational background isn’t always the most reliable evidence of their skills or aptitude. The tech industry has recognized this, and so businesses frequently require applicants to take a skills assessment. These tests offer more conclusive proof of a candidate’s aptitude in a company’s specific needed skills.

The downside to pre-employment testing is that it’s time-consuming. The more in-depth the assessment, the longer it will delay the hiring process. If companies can afford that time, though, borrowing this practice from the tech sector can produce impressive results.

2. Healthcare: Artificial Intelligence

The medical sector has an 18.7 percent turnover rate, so healthcare companies need to recruit new workers quickly. Consequently, many organizations have turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the hiring process.

The healthcare industry has a history of using AI to increase medication adherence and more, so applying it to hiring was a natural step. Hospitals use it to automate tedious, repetitive tasks like interview scheduling and application screening. One of the HR lessons learned here is that automation gets promising applicants to the interview stage of hiring quicker, helping speed the journey from application to onboarding.

AI hiring tools are relatively new, but their impact is snowballing in many hiring sectors. With AI, larger businesses in various industries have found solutions that streamline their hiring processes by automating several recruiter and candidate tasks. As technology advances, these tools will be able to do even more to help the hiring process–and they’ll also be more available (and affordable) to smaller businesses.

3. Manufacturing: Passive Candidate Search

Manufacturing companies have had to work with an ongoing labor shortage for years. With fewer people entering the industry, manufacturers have had to find new avenues for recruiting workers. One of the most effective of these strategies has been searching for passive candidates.

Businesses have found that many manufacturing professionals are hard to find because they’re not actively looking for a new job. These workers don’t often apply independently. Given the right opportunity, however, they could be willing to switch careers or positions. Scouring databases of nearby workers, industry-related forums, and other data sources to find these employees helps manufacturers find ideal candidates.

Other industries facing labor shortages can employ the same tactic. After all, sometimes the best employees aren’t actively looking for new work. Until a better offer comes along, that is.

4. Real Estate: Mentorship

Success in the real estate sector often requires experience and intimate industry knowledge. While many companies’ reaction to this hiring environment would be to look for outside, experienced hires, many brokerages take a different approach. Instead of finding already-knowledgeable employees, real estate companies create them through inside hiring and mentorship programs.

The theory behind this approach: It’s easier to find an eager but inexperienced new hire than to poach an experienced outside worker. Real estate brokerages understand that by pairing recruits with their veteran employees, they can cultivate expertise.

By the time these once-inexperienced recruits become eligible for higher-level positions, they’ll be more qualified for it than anyone else. In fact, research shows that outside hires take three years to perform as well as internal hires doing the same job. So, rather than having to find employees in a competitive marketplace, one of the HR lessons learned here is that investing in better training through mentors helps companies more organically build the best workforce.

5. Education: Internships

The hiring process in the education industry is unique. Teaching at a K-12 level requires years of experience through hands-on education programs and passing certification tests. Not all industries have such high requirements, but they can still learn from these pipelines.

College students pursuing education degrees finish their programs by student-teaching at a school. More often than not, the school systems where they student-teach will later hire them as full-time teachers when they graduate. Businesses and other industries can mimic this process by instituting intern programs that act as pipelines to employment.

Universities frequently involve faculty in interviewing and hiring their colleagues. Other industries can benefit from this same practice. In this longer-term hiring approach, employees already have intimate, hands-on knowledge about a position’s actual demands. So they can help spot ideal or unideal candidates and advise hiring decision-makers accordingly.

Businesses Can Learn a Lot from Other Industries

In a labor shortage, hiring companies must look further than their competitors for ideas about how to improve their hiring process. There are many HR lessons learned when taking inspiration from other industries like those mentioned above. These industries can provide practical, novel insights that businesses may not have gained otherwise.

These five industries are not perfect examples of ideal hiring processes, of course, but they all feature useful takeaways. Learning from each, then combining methods as necessary, can help create the optimal talent acquisition system for your company.


How the Healthcare Industry Must Evolve for Millennials and their Children

While the attitudes, preferences, and needs of the Millennial generation have definitely been high on the minds of the business sector in recent years, they probably haven’t registered too high up the list of priorities for the healthcare industry. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, that’s something that needs to change. The oldest Millennials are now having their first children, and, as a consequence, are becoming more aware of health issues and more frequent users of health services. This means big changes are on the horizon for healthcare professionals, administrators and, in particular for healthcare industry CIOs who will need to adapt to meet the changing habits of the people they serve.

Why Millennials are Driving Change

If you’ve raised your own kids, you’ll remember that when they’re little, they are non-stop sick. As such, the cohort of young millennial parents are much more likely to come into contact with health services, and to be seeking health related information. That’s a trend that will only be on the increase as their parents move into their later years and find themselves with greater healthcare needs. Why is that important? Study after study has revealed how the millennial generation, generally defined as those born between 1977 and 1993, have grown up in a digital world that has shaped the way they think and act in all aspects of their lives. Millennials are reshaping retail consumerism, so why would the consumption of health services be any different?

Surrounded by rapidly evolving technology from the word go, millennials are tech savvy and focused on using the Internet—and particularly their mobile devices—to simplify their lives, find information, and engage with one another on social networks. They largely rely on—or hope to rely on— their mobile devices in order to communicate with doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers, with their preferences leaning towards texting over face-to-face interactions. This group is also a big consumer of video, not just for entertainment, but also as a means of finding information. This all means they are looking for solutions that health care providers may not yet be in a position to provide. Therein lays the challenge that healthcare CIOs face in the digital age.

The Scale of the Challenge 

Global consultancy Communispace reports that, “As political, financial, and technological forces combine to remake the healthcare landscape, Millennials are highly dissatisfied with the current state of healthcare in America. As a result, today’s young adults have developed alternative approaches to managing their health and wellness.” Here’s a closer look.

Healthcare and health insurance. More than a third of the millennials surveyed said that they rate U.S. healthcare as “poor” or “terrible,” with almost half laying the blame straight at the door of government. More than a quarter (26 percent) blame health insurance companies for the state of healthcare today.

Alternative treatments. Just over half (55 percent) of millennials said they would go to a doctor right away if they discovered a lump on their neck, compared to almost three-quarters (73 percent) of non-millennials. Even those who would end up going to the doctor would be more likely than those in the non-millennial group to self-diagnose and try treatment at home before doing so.

Work/life balance and breaks from technology. Less than half of millennials said they consider traditional check-ups, screenings, vaccinations, self-examinations, and health insurance as being a part of maintaining their health and wellness. A higher proportion of respondents considered a healthy work/life balance as being of more value. In fact work/life balance ranked higher than all the other above considerations. And, interestingly enough, a higher proportion of millennials than non-millennials said that unplugging from the technology was important to their overall health and wellbeing. Perhaps they’re finally wising up to the toll being constantly connected can take on one’s wellbeing.

This infographic from Communispace illustrates some of the main findings from the report.


Clearly, many of today’s young adults are seeking alternatives to more traditional approaches to their health.

Creating Healthcare for the Millennial Generation

So from a CIO standpoint what does all of this mean, and how should CIOs go about creating healthcare services millennial users will want to engage with? Many hospitals and healthcare providers are already creating digital records and using text messaging and email to confirm appointments, check in on patients, provide care instructions, and/or other step-by-step directions a parent might need when caring for a child. But to fully engage they need to go further.

Cross platform access. Digital records need to be integrated across health services and information has to be provided in a format available across multiple platforms and devices.

Information all the time, anywhere. Millennials have grown used to finding information when and where they want it. Healthcare is no longer confined to the hospital and physicians’ offices and IT services need to reflect that.

Wearable tech and healthcare apps. Millennials are more likely to use healthcare apps and health tracking devices. No surprisingly, as millennials have grown up “sharing” their lives online, more than a quarter of those surveyed said they were willing and eager to share health data with employers, insurers, providers, and brands, providing they see clear value in return. They also expressed fewer concerns about privacy and security concerns about doing so. Health IT systems need to be able to tap into this data source.

CIOs and their healthcare IT teams clearly need to react by having systems in place to meet the needs of this new breed of healthcare user. Allowing quick and easy access to services and information, as well as the ability to interact with the their own data, will be key to gaining the trust and patronage of the millennial generation.

Corey Schwartz, managing director of Communispace Health sums this up neatly, “Millennials are not only the healthcare consumers of the future, but—as many continue to or begin caring for their aging parents—the present as well. For brands seeking their business in traditional health sectors and beyond, it is critical to work with, not against, their unique set of healthcare values by embracing institutional aversion and self-reliance, providing tools for empowerment and connection, and expanding your own notions of health and wellness.”

You can find out more about “Health Without Borders: How Millennials are Reshaping Health and Wellness,” and some analysis of the results, by viewing this video presentation from report author Katrina Lerman.

The Communispace study would seem to suggest there is much work to be done by the healthcare industry in order to integrate systems and services with the needs of the millennial generation. That presents healthcare providers with a great opportunity, but one that will only work if the carrot is used—and not the stick. What do you think the priorities for CIOs and IT teams should be to meet that challenge? As always, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

Additional Resources on this Topic:

What Do Millennials Want from the Healthcare System?
Millennial Parents have it Much Tougher Than Their Parents Did
The Brave New World of Modern Medicine: Healthcare Meets the Digital Age

A version of this was first posted on Converge.