Transferable Skills: A Guide To Hiring

transferable skills
Picture of Lauren Salmon

Lauren Salmon

Human Resources Leader

The recruitment process can be challenging for HR professionals and employers alike. Narrowing down a job to its bare bones and finding the best fit takes time and commitment. However, have you ever had the experience of hiring someone who seems perfect on paper, only to find they’re not the right fit? Or have you hired a person who seemed to have none of the right experience and turned out to be incredible?

So, in this brief blog article, we’ll take a look at transferable skills, job applications and how your perfect candidate might not be the person you expect. It might just give you a whole new way to recruit for those open positions…

Types Of Job Applications

For anyone new to the recruitment game, when you receive job applications, they tend to come in two formats. You either have an online form that applicants must fill out, or they send in their CV and a covering letter. There is something to be said for both these methods – a CV has often been carefully honed and crafted by the applicant, and the covering letter adds a personal touch and more insight into their personality.

However, the downside of a CV based application is that you might not get all the details you need – whereas if you have your own forms, you can ask specific questions that are important to you, to which they then show how their skills apply to your open role.

Navigating Applications

As you peruse the applications you have received, whichever form they take, you will primarily be seeing how their previous roles match up to the role they are applying to. For example, if you are seeking a governance manager, you may want to see that they have the necessary skills by working as a governance officer previously. Or if an applicant is seeking to become a team leader in administration, they should have previously worked as a senior administrator in a similar role – right? Of course, you want to find applicants who are already prepared to hit the ground running…but are you missing out?

Are Skills Everything?

Not every applicant will have the specific skills or experience for the job they want. In many cases, you might dismiss them out of hand before even considering interviewing them. After all, how will they be able to understand the job if they haven’t got the exact skills?

However, this is not always necessary. Look a little deeper. CVs, covering letters, and application forms can reveal more than just the roles an applicant has done before. They can show you what transferable skills they have, which could be a better way to find potential employees who are a culture fit.

The Power Of Transferable Skills

Having specific skills does not mean that someone will be an excellent cultural fit for your organisation. In fact, many believe that skills are the easiest thing to teach an employee – a positive attitude and a belief and trust in their company are a little rarer. If you find a candidate who seems to shine but does not have the exact skills you’re looking for, look more closely and you could find that they have great transferable skills.

Transferable skills are abilities, talents, or training that can be used in a variety of different environments and roles and can make an employee more flexible and innovative. This can end up  bringing a completely fresh perspective to your department. Having a workforce with a well rounded skill set, rather than specific, can give you a creative and inspired team.

Transferable Skills In Practice

So how do transferable skills work in practice? When looking at a job application, you might see that an applicant has previously worked as a teaching assistant but is looking to move into a sales position with your company. Are these two jobs really so diametrically opposed? Not really!

In a classroom setting, someone would need to have excellent communication skills to connect with a wide variety of people – children, parents, other teachers, and support staff. They will also need to be creative and goal orientated, able to come up with new ways to do the same old things (such as appealing to the different learning styles of students).

Not only that, but they will be skilled at thinking on their feet and adapting their approach to suit unexpected events, working under extreme pressure with large groups of students.

In a sales role, an employee will need to be able to connect with a wide variety of customers, suppliers, and colleagues – and adapt their approach to suit each of these demographics. They will need to be creative and goal-orientated so that they can achieve their sales targets no matter who they are speaking to. And they will need to be able to work under extreme pressure, such as during busy periods or when covering for other members of staff.

While these two roles seem so completely different…the transferable skills are clear to see!

The Interview Process

If you are ready to start looking at transferable or adaptable skills rather than specific skills, you might find hidden gems in applicants who could bring a lot of unexpected benefits to your company. When interviewing candidates who might not have the exact skills you are seeking, but who seem to have strong transferable skills, adapt your questions to suit this. You should ask about times when they have displayed a certain characteristic or skill, such as a time they dealt with a disgruntled customer in a professional setting, or how they would prioritise their workflow.

While hard skills are important, by addressing transferable skills, you will reveal more than you thought, and hire more diverse employees going forward – leading to business growth and innovation you can be proud of.

How Yo Telecom Can Help

If you are creating a dynamic and diverse workforce full of employees with valuable transferable skills, you need to ensure they stay connected. Here at Yo, we provide market-leading telephone systems, packed with useful features, and highly reliable WiFi to help you achieve success. Enter your contact details in the form below to find out how we can increase the success of your business TODAY!

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