Opinion

7 signs you’re recruiting someone with good transferrable skills

Are you recruiting for a new role at the moment? Are you having problems finding the right candidate? Maybe there’s a candidate shortage in that area. Perhaps you could consider employing someone from a different professional background.

Whether it’s insurance, retail or technology, understandably, you want candidates to bring the best possible expertise for your particular industry. You need them to help your organisation develop and become stronger in the marketplace.

But in some industries such as IT, we’re seeing significant skills shortages around the UK. There are times when employers and recruiters need to look beyond sector-specific experience and consider applicants who can transfer their skills to the vacancy.

The benefits include an employee bringing fresh ideas and perspectives, enabling the organisation to grow and develop in new ways.

But how can you identify a candidate with good transferrable skills and qualities that’ll fit the bill? Well, we’ve listed a few ‘signs’ to look out for to help you find the right person.

1. They’re good leaders

If you’re recruiting at management level, you’ll be looking for a candidate who has worked in leadership and management roles before. Such experience can be gained from a variety of jobs in different industries. For example, a store manager is likely to have managed customer-facing staff in a fast-paced environment, handled sensitive customer and staff issues, and possibly driven their team to hit targets. This sort of talent can be transferred to other roles where tenacity, focus and a goal-orientated personality is required.

2. They know how to manage projects

Unpack many project management roles and you’ll see that many of the skills can be applied to lots of jobs. Excellent budget management, strategy development, and monitoring and evaluation skills are invaluable to a whole range of roles. If you receive a CV that doesn’t exactly match your expectations, but there’s good project management experience on it, it may be worth exploring further.

3. They communicate clearly

An employee with excellent communication skills can build positive relationships quickly. And as businesses become ever more connected through digital channels, firms now need staff who can hold productive conversations on the phone, by email and by video. They also need to know how to listen. So, crystal-clear communication has become an essential ability for job applicants.

4. They are tech savvy

Following on from the above, knowledge of digital resources and other technology is very important. Regardless of level of seniority, your new employee should be able to transfer knowledge of various tools and software, which businesses now rely on.

5. They’re a keen (and quick) learner

Look at a candidate’s history to find out if they’ve ever experienced a steep learning curve or two. If so, even without the specific skills you’re looking for, they are more likely to be able to cope with taking on lots of new knowledge in a short space of time. And are eager to get their teeth into a job and hit the ground sprinting!

6. They have relevant personal qualities

Although a candidate may not have skills that exactly match your job description, they may still possess traits that are key to the role. Do they seem determined yet level-headed? Do they do a sport that demands a lot of concentration and motivation? Perhaps they enjoy independent travel in their free time, indicating a confident and curious personality.

7. They’re open to training

If you think an applicant needs a skills-boost, from the very first conversation with them, make sure you know whether they’re prepared to undertake training. With lots of passion and drive, a new recruit could really upgrade their knowledge for the job through carefully chosen learning and development. 

Opening the door to job seekers with non-specific skills can bring fresh energy to your organisation, which in itself can help innovation and creativity. So, who may seem unsuitable on first glance, might actually grow into the perfect person for the job!