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The Market Slows: Why Employers need to Hire now for Transferable Skills

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The Market Slows: Why Employers need to Hire now for Transferable Skills
David Banaghan
6 minute read
Talent Acquisition

Most recruiters search for candidates that have relevant experience in their field. They believe that recruiting people with industry-specific talents ensures that new employees will be up and running quickly. And here's the thing: Hiring employees with appropriate industry expertise may appear more appealing to employers at first look, but it may result in organisations missing out on talent

Not only that, but as the first signs an economic slowdown appear on the horizon with the stock and bond markets first to feel the effects, and many of the tech companies starting to hit pause on recruitment for the first time in years, for employers, now is the time to “select your workforce” carefully. Companies must not only fill positions, but do so with candidates that are flexible, adaptive, and critical thinkers. And that is where the importance of transferrable skills come into play.

In the following piece, we discuss why hiring for transferable skills will be critical for organisations in the coming year, how to do it, and what to look out for when recruiting.

So, what are transferable skills?

When we think about the skills that are necessary for success in a particular job, we often think about specific technical skills or abilities that are required to perform the tasks associated with that role. However, there is also a number of non-technical or "soft" skills that can be just as important, if not more so. These are often referred to as transferable skills.


Transferable skills are those skills that can be applied to a variety of different situations and can be adapted to new environments and new challenges. They are the skills that help us to interact effectively with others, solve problems, manage our time and resources, and adapt to change.


While technical skills may be specific to a particular job or industry, transferable skills are much more universal. This means that they can be valuable in a wide range of jobs and career paths. For example, if you have strong communication skills, you will be able to communicate effectively regardless of the industry you are in.


Examples of skills Recruiters & Hiring Managers should look out for

As you know by now, transferable skills are skills that can be used in a variety of different situations and contexts. This means that they are highly adaptable, which is a valuable asset in any workplace. Individuals with transferable skills are able to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems.


One of the most important transferable skills that companies should look for is communication. Communication is key in any workplace, as it helps to build relationships and foster collaboration. Those with strong communication skills are able to effectively convey their ideas and thoughts, and they also know how to listen attentively.


Another transferable skill that companies should value is teamwork. Those who are able to work well in a team environment are often more productive and successful than those who prefer to work solely on their own.


Here are some more examples:


The ability to adapt to new situations and environments.


Critical thinking:

The ability to analyse information and make decisions.



The ability to come up with new ideas and solutions.


Interpersonal skills:

The ability to communicate and work well with others.



The ability to motivate and inspire others.


Organisational skills:

The ability to manage time, resources, and people effectively.



The ability to identify and solve problems.


Research skills:

The ability to find and use information effectively.



The ability to work well with others towards a common goal.


Let us reassure you: if you keep an eye out for candidates with transferable skills, you're sure to find some top talent for your team.


How to attract talent with transferable skills

You may be surprised to learn that some of the best candidates for a particular job may not have all of the specific skills required. However, what they do have is a strong foundation of transferable skills that can be applied to any number of industries and job types.


Here are our top 5 tips:

#1  Define the skills you need

The first step is to clearly define the skills that you need for the role. What specific skills would make someone successful in this role? Not all skills are created equal. When assessing candidates, be sure to identify which skills are most important for the role in question and give extra weight to those. Once you have a clear understanding of the skills required, you can start to look for candidates who have these skills.


#2  Look for candidates with a proven track record

When you're looking at potential candidates, it's important to look for those with a proven track record of success in roles that require transferable skills. Look for candidates who have been successful in previous roles that required them to quickly adapt to new environments and situations. However, it's not just about having the right skills, it's also about whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for your company culture. Ask yourself if they would be a good match for your team and if they would mesh well with the existing company culture.

#3  Look beyond the traditional resume

When reviewing resumes, don’t just focus on job titles and duties. Instead, look for candidates who have developed transferable skills through their previous experiences.

#4  Highlight your company's culture and values & sell your organisation

Your company culture and values are a major attraction for transferable talent. Candidates want to know that they'll be a good fit for your organisation, so make sure to communicate your culture and values clearly. Culture is one of the most important factors that candidates consider when choosing a job. Candidates want to work for an organisation with a culture that aligns with their values. When you have a strong culture, it shows in your employees. They're engaged and passionate about their work. They're also more likely to stay with your organisation for the long haul. 

Download our template on how to uncover your EVP story, with all you need to know to successfully tell your company story and enhance your brand and recruitment efforts.

#5 Offer training and development opportunities.

Make sure to outline the potential growth opportunities that exist for them at your company, as transferable talent is always looking to learn and grow.


How to spot transferable skills when recruiting

As a Recruiter or Hiring Manager, you know that finding the right candidate for a job isn't just about matching up someone's skillset to the requirements of the role. It's also about finding someone who will be a good fit for your company's culture and values.


Here are some tips for spotting transferable skills when recruiting


1.     Look for candidates with a diverse range of experiences

Candidates who have worked in a variety of different industries or roles are likely to have transferable skills. They may have developed valuable skills in one industry that can be applied to another. For example, a candidate who has worked in customer service may have developed strong communication and people skills that would be valuable in any number of roles.


2.     Ask candidates about their most challenging experiences

When you're recruiting candidates, it's important to be able to identify transferable skills. Transferable skills are those that can be applied to a variety of different jobs and industries.


3.     Look for patterns in a candidate's work history

If a candidate has held a variety of jobs, look for patterns in the types of skills that were required for each position. For example, if a candidate has worked in customer service, sales, and marketing, they likely have strong people skills that can be transferred to a new position.


4.     Ask behavioural interview questions:

Behavioural interview questions ask candidates to describe how they have handled specific situations in the past. This can give you insight into a candidate's transferable skills. For example, you might ask a candidate how they handled a difficult customer interaction or a challenging sales goal.

Download our Ultimate List of Interview Questions for Hiring Managers, with 100+ interview questions including top behavioural interview questions to ask candidates.


Key benefits of transferable skills to your organisation

Hiring candidates with transferable skills can be a great way to add value to your company. Not only will they bring their own unique set of skills and experience to the table, but they'll also be able to adapt and learn new things quickly. This can be a major asset in today's ever-changing business landscape.


Here are the key benefits of hiring for transferable skills:

  • They make employees more adaptable to change in situations and environments, which is an immense asset in today’s ever-changing workplace.
  • They make employees more productive than those without them.
  • They help employees become better leaders and team players.
  • They are good at solving problems, as they are thinking for the most suitable solution for upcoming challenges.
  • Ultimately, transferable skills can help employers create a more well-rounded and productive workforce.


Hiring for the future

Just as investors want to buy the best stocks at the right price, now is the time to hire the “right people” with the right skills to future proof your organisation in times of economic uncertainty. That is why we believe the importance of hiring people with transferable skills will once again come to the forefront over the coming months. By doing so, companies will be well-placed to take advantage of new opportunities that arise, but also to adapt to change, remain flexible, stay competitive in the market and continue to thrive in the ever-changing world of work.


About Occupop

Occupop is a beautifully simple recruitment software built for small and medium businesses. We empower our customers to become great at hiring through our smart hiring technology and suite of solutions that almost anyone can use. So whether you're a team of five or fifty, it only takes a few minutes to onboard your team members, set permissions, and start recruiting. If you think Occupop could be a good small business recruitment software solution for you, try it out today with a free 14-day trial.


Summary Points

How to hire for transferrable skills

  • Define the skills you need
  • Look for candidates with a proven track record
  • Highlight your company's culture and values & sell your organisation.
  • Look beyond the traditional resume
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