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How to spot transferable skills when recruiting

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer - Employment Hero

When you’re recruiting, it’s likely many candidates won’t fit the bill on paper, but they might be a great candidate for the job, showcasing a range of transferable skills that suit what you are looking for.

Even though the candidate may have no demonstrable experience in what you’re hiring for, they may have abilities and attributes that are perfect for the role. That’s why employers need to take a closer look at every individual’s skill set and pinpoint how these skills are transferable in the workplace. If employers are wondering what a few of those highly desirable cross-industry skills are, we recommend looking out for communication, analytical reasoning, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills to name a few.

Which transferable skills should hiring managers look out for during the recruitment process?

Creative thinking

While you might initially think that being creative only involves arts like painting or drawing, that couldn’t be further from the truth. When you think about it, creative thinking refers to the way someone handles a problem and solves it. It’s the notion of thinking outside the box and embracing innovation to solve business problems, which can be applied to almost any industry and role.

Strong attention to detail

No one likes making mistakes, but in today’s fast-paced working world, they’re bound to happen from time to time. However, having strong attention to detail can help reduce those errors, no matter what job you’re doing. Having someone who has a strong eye for detail can instil trust in employers as any mistakes can be picked up before it’s too late.

The ability to adapt

If there’s one thing the pandemic has highlighted it is that businesses who were able to adapt are doing better than those who threw in the towel at the beginning. One positive over the past two years has been that many people have had a chance to showcase just how adaptable they are. It’s all about making the most of the situation at hand and running with it 100%, this is what employers are looking for in star candidates.

Strong writing and verbal communication

Effective communication is one of the most sought-after transferable skills today. The ability to clearly and succinctly articulate something ensures there’s little room for confusion, a skill that many employers are looking for. The last thing you want is a team full of confused employees due to poor communication and this applies to written communication methods too.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence, otherwise known as EQ (emotional quotient), can be defined as the ability to perceive, understand, and manage one’s feelings and emotions. Emotionally intelligent employees are more likely to keep their cool under pressure and act as a rock for their team. This could lead to them making better business decisions and displaying an overall higher level of job performance, making it a highly transferable skill.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a highly transferable skill to have in your toolkit. The process of thinking critically allows for logical thinking and thought processing. If you’ve got a team of critical thinkers, you’re already lightyears ahead of your competition.

In recent times, this could be the way your team strategically processed, brainstormed, and planned ideas to pivot your business operations to survive the pandemic. It also could have been the way your team creatively adapted your strategy to comply with government advice and restrictions. It’s evidence-based thoughts that understand the different outcomes of the situation at hand, as it involves evaluating information and making strategic decisions to solve a challenge.

Growth mindset

Employees who have a growth mindset are forward thinkers and extremely motivated to push themselves and try new things. They think outside the box and take each failure as a learning opportunity that will help them later down the line. Having a growth mindset is something that people either have or they don’t – and it becomes obvious early on.

Growth mindset is a transferable skill because it means challenging the status quo. We recommend you embrace people who have this and see them for what it is – opportunity.

Analytical skills

Much like problem-solving and critical thinking, strong analytical skills are highly transferable. The ability to break down a complex problem into more manageable parts is something that can benefit all teams in all industries. When someone possesses strong analytical skills, you can be confident that problems are going to be solved in the best way possible – and let’s face it, everyone comes head-on with challenges regularly.

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