“Jobs don’t always come to us. Sometimes, we have to create them.” —Arnie Kahn, president of PrintLink
Recently, I spoke to Arnie Kahn, president of PrintLink, a job placement service for the printing industry, about opportunities in a post-COVID-19 environment. In a previous article, I reported on Kahn’s perspective on hiring as business begins to carefully and safely gear back up again. But, as we also discussed, not every candidate wants to return to normal. Time away can create a hankering to do something new. In these cases, Kahn described opportunities for the right candidates to make lateral moves into new areas, such as changing market verticals or applying skill sets to new printing sectors.
A little creative thinking can result in some surprising new solutions to job change, too. For example, Kahn described a candidate who had spent her entire career in print production, and her current employer, an agency, did a lot of work in the automotive vertical. As a result, the candidate knew a lot about the automotive industry and, just as importantly, knew a lot of people in it. Kahn had a client specializing in the automotive market that was looking for a new salesperson. Kahn saw a perfect—if unconventional—fit.
“Doing production had become very hum-drum for her,” notes Kahn. “Our client was looking for someone who knew the industry cold—someone who was really good with people and could take more of a consultative sales role, but also someone who knew the automotive vernacular and felt comfortable interacting with people in that industry right out of the gate.”
Kahn put two and two together and contacted the candidate about launching into a new opportunity. “She never thought about being in sales,” he said, “but because she had worked in that vertical and knew a lot of people, it wasn’t really like sales to her. Plus, in this and previous roles, she had dealt with all forms of print, whether catalogs or wide-format. She never thought that she would be effective in sales, but because she had the right personality and credibility with the company’s target audience, they hired her.”
Today, this newly minted saleswoman is thriving in her new role. “She loves her job, and the printing company loves her,” Kahn says. “They didn’t want a typical salesperson, someone looking for a same type of job in the same arena they had been in for years, but someone fresh who knew the business and the players. It worked out great.”
Another example of job opportunity creation came when PrintLink had a candidate with sales experience in a geographic region in which one of its printing company clients did not have representation. “We get to know our clients well, and that includes where they are vulnerable,” says Kahn. “The company didn’t have a sales position in that territory, and I had a very experienced candidate who knew their market vertical and already had relationships in the region. So I reached out to them to take a look at the individual and discuss the possibility of creating a territory where there wasn’t one. They did exactly that, and the person was hired.”
The moral of the story? Just because we’re in challenging times doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. Sometimes those opportunities are there—you just have to create them.