Talent shortage: transferability of skills in recruitment practices

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In today’s rapidly changing job market, it’s becoming increasingly common for workers to switch careers, industries, or even countries in pursuit of new opportunities.

Employers are facing a new challenge: how to identify and recruit candidates whose skills and experiences can be transferred to their organization, even if they don’t exactly fit a specific job description.

Unfortunately, many recruiters and hiring managers still operate under the outdated assumption that a candidate must have a perfect fit with the job requirements in order to be considered for a role.

This not only makes it difficult for companies to find the talent they need, it also signifies that many highly qualified and capable candidates are being overlooked simply because they don’t fit a narrowly defined mold.

The reality is that many of the skills and experiences setting up for success in a given role are actually transferable from one job to another.

For instance, someone who has excelled in project management in one industry may be able to apply those same skills to a similar role in another industry. Similarly, someone who has developed strong communication skills in one role may be able to transfer those skills to a completely different role where communication is also critical. And lastly, a backend developer who worked with Scala might be able to use Kotlin.

In light of this, it’s crucial for recruiters and hiring managers to adopt a more flexible and inclusive approach to recruiting that takes transferable skills into account. Here are a few key steps that organizations can take to make this happen:

1. Look beyond the job description

When reviewing resumes and profiles, don’t simply focus on the specific qualifications listed in the job description. Instead, look for skills and experiences that could be valuable in a related or overlapping role.

If a candidate has a strong track record of success in a similar field, for example, there’s a good chance that they will be able to bring those skills to your organization.

2. Keep an open mind

Don’t be afraid to consider candidates who don’t fit the mold of the ideal candidate. Sometimes the most creative and innovative solutions come from candidates who approach things differently.

By being open to unconventional candidates, you may discover hidden gems who could bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to your team.

3. Consider a talent database

If you don’t have an open position that’s a good match for a particular candidate, consider adding them to a talent database. This will allow you to keep their information on file for future opportunities, and to reach out to them if something comes up that’s a better fit.

4. Share profiles across teams and pipelines

If you have multiple teams or hiring managers looking for similar talent, consider sharing candidate profiles between them. This can help you identify candidates who may be a great fit for a different role within your organization, even if they weren’t the right match for the initial position.

5. Foster relationships with applicants

It’s important to be respectful and transparent with candidates throughout the hiring process. If someone is a strong candidate but doesn’t fit with a particular team, for example, let them know about other opportunities within your organization.

By fostering a positive relationship with candidates, you may be able to channel their skills and experiences into a role that’s a better fit, even if it takes a little longer to find the right match.

Transferable skills are an increasingly important consideration in the recruitment process. By being more flexible and inclusive in their approach, recruiters and hiring managers can tap into a wider pool of talent, and help their organizations succeed in an ever-changing job market.

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Franziska Hauck is a people strategist and leadership coach with a focus on tech. tech (people) {code} is her hub for all things human in tech.

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Franziska Hauck - tech (people) {code}

Franziska Hauck is a people strategist and leadership coach with a focus on tech. tech (people) {code} is her hub for all things human in tech.