Don’t Wait To Hire — Train Your Own Specialists Now

 In Company Culture/People At Work, Michael's Corner

Michael Carrillo Co-Founder/President

Companies are facing critical shortages in key marketing and research specialties such as consumer insights. But employers don’t have to sit passively waiting for the perfect candidate to become available, says CPGjobs President Michael Carrillo.

“Cross training people with the right skill sets or hiring outside your channel can enable you to fill these critical positions without delay while providing you with wider options,” Carrillo says. “It’s a way to turn an imbalance in candidate experience into an opportunity.”

“Looking for the candidate with perfect experience can hamstring you,” Carrillo says. “When there is a candidate shortage, recruiters should consider people who can be trained to fit the bill,” according to Carrillo. “The candidates may come from specialties where there’s an over abundance, enabling you to save money and have a wider selection.”

“A good example is the hot consumer insights specialty,” he says. “There is a shortage in this relatively new field. There are plenty of candidates in related fields or other industries who can be trained to be productive CI managers for your company now. If you wait for a consumer insights manager with experience in your channel, you could wait a long time – or pay more than you planned.”

More motivated Traditional HR thinking maintains that the only sure way to motivate employees is through compensation or benefits. But research shows that monetary rewards and perks soon lose their incentive value as executives take them for granted.

Moving new or veteran employees into new specialties – vertically or even laterally – has benefits beyond filling a job opening.

“Instead of a narrowly focused specialist you get a two-fer, or even a three-fer,” Carrillo says of retrained executives. “You get executives who are energized as they master their new specialty, and who bring a complementary knowledge base from their previous industry or specialty.

Executive retraining is not new,” he says, “but it is increasingly important in today’s fast-changing business environment.

“New marketing and research disciplines and sales channels are being created every year,” Carrillo points out. “You can’t afford to wait for the academic and job pipeline to catch up, but you can move now by training the specialists you need yourself. After all, who knows better than you the skills you need?”

How to do it

Pairing a new executive with an experienced mentor is one of the fastest ways to ensure smooth training and knowledge transfer, according to Carrillo. “Many
employers are surprised at the speed and agility that experienced managers bring to this process.

“There is a myth that the more experience an executive has, the harder it is for them to learn new skills. In point of fact, these executives have already undergone many changes throughout their careers, and the fact that they are still successful is proof of their ability to adapt.”

Job splitting is another option to consider when hiring for a hard-to-fill position, Carrillo says. Some jobs can be broken down into two positions, each with a specific focus. “The benefit of this strategy is that you can often hire a less senior candidate and train up.”

The key, Carrillo says, is flexibility. “Search for executives who are highly qualified and highly trainable instead of a narrow range of specialists. You will benefit by getting a wider pool of candidates who can bring fresh insights and fresh energy to your company now.”

Michael Carrillo is president of CPGjobs, the CPG industry’s leading candidate recruiting service for HR professionals and employers. You may contact him at or call (626) 535-0143.

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