When you’re looking at candidates to hire for research jobs, you’ll probably be seeking those with direct experience in the exact area of your vacancy. You might try to find candidates whose research record is related directly to the precise scope of the project you need to conduct or the modules they are required to teach.
This makes sense, and if you can find the perfect candidate who has direct experience inside your precise field then you should waste no time in hiring them. But you should also consider that the best candidate might not yet have worked in the research area for your job.
There are plenty of great examples of researchers who have successfully switched their research area, and even their entire discipline, mid-career and benefitted their departments in the process.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry Walter Gilbert began his career as a theoretical physicist. More recently, biology professor and ResearchGate user Dawn R. Bazely moved into the area of sustainability and science policy, becoming director of York University’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability.
In both of these cases it would have been reasonable for the person making the hiring decision to hire someone who had more direct experience. But they saw past the limitations of research area and were rewarded with academics who performed to an incredibly high standard.
Here are 5 reasons why widening your search might help you find the best candidate.