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Breaking Free from Checklists: The Importance of Transferable Skills in Hiring

Anna Bramlette | 03/30/2023

The current job market is facing a talent shortage, which is causing many industries to feel the effects for the first time. As recruiters, we witness firsthand the challenges that internal hiring teams face in the ongoing war for talent. So how can we solve this problem? One solution is to focus on transferable skill sets that may have been overlooked in the past.

Often, hiring teams create very specific position requirements, which can be unintentionally limiting. This creates a scenario where the hiring team is working off a checklist that includes criteria like industry-specific experience, experience with specific target customers, and familiarity with the exact product being sold in the role. As a result, candidates with valuable skill sets are being overlooked because too much focus is being placed on specific requirements.

While “unicorn” or “purple squirrel” candidates may exist, they are rare, and it takes much more than specific requirements to attract them. Utilizing transferable skill sets is a solution that can make the hiring process easier, save money, and solve problems. Many candidates are interested in the opportunity, have the right attitude, and possess the willingness and capacity to learn. These qualities should hold a high value to any organization, as they are part of who a person is at their core and cannot be changed.

To utilize transferable skills effectively, the hiring team should come together before starting the recruitment process to determine what type of skills would lead to success in the position. Once those skills are defined, it becomes easier to identify the type of person who can achieve those goals. Candidates in roles like product managers, sales and applications engineers, and business development professionals possess broad skill sets and cross-functional team interaction and management experience, making them valuable to any organization.

Each situation and company is unique, which is why customized recruiting solutions can be beneficial in sourcing the right candidate for the job. By defining and setting benchmarks for the first 30 days, 90 days, and 6 months, the team can track success and onboard the new employee better.

If you are interested in learning more about how The Q Works Group can support your hiring efforts, please visit our website at