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Unlocking the Elusive Talent Pool: Valuing Transferable Skills

rw-admin | 03/01/2016

Transferable skills

We know that there is a talent shortage in the market place and many industries that have never felt the crunch before can now relate. As recruiters, we have a front seat to all of the trouble and challenges that internal hiring team’s face, particularly in the current war for talent. So how do we solve that problem? One way is by focusing on transferable skill sets that may not have been considered before.

Many hiring teams have identified very specific position requirements, generally created inadvertently by the person who vacated the position or by the hiring manager who needs to fill gaps in his current teams skill set.

This can create a scenario where the hiring team is working off of a check list…

  • Does Candidate X have industry specific experience?
  • Have they worked with specific target customers?
  • Are they selling the exact same product as they would be selling in this role?

If not, then Candidate X is out of the process and they may have been the person who could take your business to the next level.

We should get real for a moment. “Unicorn” and “purple squirrel” candidates do exist (I have found one or two as a recruiter) but they are few and far between and so much more has to come together to attract a candidate like that. If you are looking to make your hiring process easier, save money and solve your problems, utilizing transferable skill sets is a solution. Due to the limited amount of time associated with screening resumes, candidates with applicable and valuable skill sets are being over looked, because so much focus is put on specific requirements. Many candidates are truly interested in the opportunity, have the right attitude and have the willingness and capacity to learn. Those qualities are part of who a person is at their core and not something that can be changed and should hold a high value to any organization.

The hiring team could come together before starting the recruiting process to determine what type of transferable skills would lead to success in this position. Then the team will be able to define and set benchmarks for the first 30 days, 90 days and 6 months to track success and better on-board the new employee. Once those areas are clearly defined it is easier to identify the type of person that can achieve those goals either through behavioral interviewing or topgrading interviewing. Then you can look for people in roles like:

  • Product Managers
  • Sales and Applications Engineers
  • Business Development Professionals

Each of these roles cover a broad skill set as well as cross functional team interaction and management experience which are valuable skills to any organization.

Each situation is different and each company is different but that is why customized recruiting solutions can be beneficial in sourcing the RIGHT candidate to fit your needs. If you are interested in learning more about how The Q Works Group can support your hiring efforts please visit our website at

Written By: Katie Trippe, Q Works Account Executive