Attracting candidates with transferable skills is a key strategy to enhance your talent pool and improve your organizational performance. Limiting your search for candidates with a narrowly defined set of skills may lead to you missing out on millions of potential hires because of outdated hiring strategies. Luckily, the strategies we will discuss in this article can help you identify qualified applicants with qualities your business needs to succeed who may be hiding in plain sight.
What are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills are skills or abilities that can be used in different jobs or settings. They are often called "portable skills" because you can bring them from one job to another. Some transferable skills are hard skills, which are technical or practical skills that you can learn through training or education. Examples of hard skills include accountancy, sales, and project management. These skills are usually specific to a certain field or industry, but they can also be useful in other contexts.
Other transferable skills are soft skills, which are interpersonal or behavioral skills that you can develop through experience or personality. For instance, communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. These skills are usually more general and applicable to any situation or role.
Transferable skills are important for both recruiters and employees, as they can help match the right candidates with the right jobs, and ensure that both parties benefit from the employment relationship.
How To Identify Transferable Skills In Candidates
1. Using ATS to recognize transferable skills on a resume
One of the ways to identify transferable skills in candidates is to recognize them on their resumes. However, reading and evaluating resumes manually can be time-consuming and prone to errors. That is why using ATS software with a resume parsing feature can help you save time and improve accuracy. Manatal for example, can automatically extract and analyze the skills, qualifications, and achievements of candidates from their resumes. It can also match the candidates with the most suitable job openings based on their profiles and preferences. Manatal can help you identify transferable skills on a resume by:
- Looking for keywords, phrases, and accomplishments that indicate the presence of transferable skills, such as “collaborated with”, “led a project”, “resolved a conflict”, etc. If a candidate’s resume says “Collaborated with cross-functional teams to deliver successful projects”, it implies that they have teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
- Comparing the skills of candidates with the requirements and expectations of the job role and the organization. For example, if you are looking for a marketing manager who can create and execute marketing campaigns, Manatal’s ATS can filter the candidates who have relevant skills, such as creativity, leadership, and communication.
2. Using Interview techniques
Another way to identify transferable skills in candidates is to uncover them during the interview process. To ensure that you get the right result, avoid asking generic or closed-ended questions as it can limit your ability to assess the candidates’ transferable skills.
Some of the interview techniques that can help you uncover transferable skills are:
- Behavioral and situational questions: These are used to assess how candidates have used or would use their transferable skills in different scenarios. Behavioral interview questions ask candidates to describe how they have handled a specific situation or task in the past while situational questions ask candidates to imagine how they would handle a hypothetical situation or task in the future. Examples of behavioral questions will be such as, “How would you approach a new challenge or task”? Situational interview questions can be something like, “Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult team member. How did you handle the situation”?
This template can serve as a guide for you when crafting behavioral questions.
You can use this template to help you prepare situational questions.
- Rating scales or rubrics: Rating scales can help you measure and compare the candidates’ performance and proficiency in different skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. You can use numerical scales, such as 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, or descriptive scales, such as poor, fair, good, excellent, etc., to rate the candidates’ skills based on predefined criteria and indicators. You can also use feedback forms or checklists to record your observations and comments on the candidates’ skills during the interview.
How To Attract Candidates with Transferable Skills
1. Writing a job description that emphasizes transferrable skills
If you want to attract new talent from different backgrounds and sectors, you need to craft your job descriptions carefully so that they highlight the transferable skills that you are looking for in your candidates and how they can apply them to the job responsibilities and the organization’s goals. Avoid asking for industry experience and make it clear that you welcome diversity and inclusion.
To save time and effort, you can use Manatal to help you create and distribute effective job postings. It comes with job description templates for roles in various industries, making it easier for you to create a job post in seconds.
2. Offering training and development programs for skill enhancement
- Highlight the opportunities and benefits of learning and developing new skills in your organization, such as career advancement, personal growth, and recognition. For example, you can create a career page that showcases your learning culture and the success stories of your employees who have improved their skills through training and development programs.
- Provide various training and development programs, such as online courses, workshops, mentoring, and coaching that cater to the needs and interests of different employees. Also encourage and support employees to pursue their own learning goals and initiatives, such as taking external courses, attending conferences, reading books, etc. For example, a customer service operator can take courses on communication, time management, leadership, etc. You can also offer incentives or rewards for employees who complete certain courses or certifications.
How can you help employees build transferrable skills?
You can help your employees develop these skills by fostering an environment that encourages the building of transferrable skills. You can do this by:
1. Providing opportunities for cross-functional collaboration
- Creating a culture of teamwork and cooperation among employees from different departments, functions, and backgrounds. You can organize team-building activities or events that foster collaboration and communication among employees. Examples include Field Day or Human Knot.
- Encourage and facilitate the exchange of ideas, feedback, and best practices among employees through various channels, such as meetings, forums, newsletters, and so on.
- Assign employees to work on diverse and challenging projects that require them to use and learn new skills.
2. Create a culture of continuous learning
- Foster a learning mindset among employees by promoting curiosity, creativity, innovation, and experimentation. For example, you can encourage employees to share their learning experiences or insights with others through blogs or podcasts.
- Recognize and reward employees for their achievements and contributions in learning and developing new skills.
- Provide regular feedback and guidance to employees on their performance and development plans.
Attracting and including candidates with transferable skills can enhance the growth and success of your company. These candidates bring a diverse range of experiences and knowledge that can contribute to innovative thinking and problem-solving. By highlighting the value of transferable skills in your job postings and interviews, you can attract a wider pool of candidates and increase your chances of finding the right fit for your organization.
Additionally, providing opportunities for professional development and growth can further attract candidates with transferable skills, as they are often seeking new challenges and opportunities to expand their skill set. Overall, recognizing and valuing transferable skills in the hiring process can lead to a more well-rounded and successful team.