Hire Better: Focus on Transferable Skills Over Experience When Hiring

January 15th, 2019

By Bruce Powell, Founder & Executive Recruiter

It’s increasingly difficult to hire a candidate who checks all the boxes. It’s hard to find someone with the right combination of skills, experience, and educational background. With talent in high demand, companies today need to change their approach and think differently about who they are hiring.

Career paths are not as clear-cut as they once were. People switch industries, change careers, and bring different experiences to the table.

“Even after spending more than a decade in the workforce, nearly half (47%) of professionals between the ages of 35 and 44 aren’t sure what their career path should look like,” says Brendan Browne in a recent article on Fast Company.

What are you looking for in job candidates? Do you want someone with experience? Are you looking for someone with the right skill set?

Why Focus on Transferrable Skills?

transferable skills

Browne, who is head of talent acquisition at LinkedIn, believes that companies should focus more on transferrable skills than experience when hiring today.

Companies need to look beyond what a candidate has done in the past or where they went to school and focus on the now – the candidate’s skill set, willingness to learn, and how well they would fit into company culture.

“Given that many of today’s fastest-growing job categories didn’t even exist five years ago, it helps to remember that the skills needed for success in a particular role aren’t one-size-fits-all. When hiring managers take a closer look at the underlying skills needed for a role and then look for people with those skills, unique solutions often reveal themselves,” says Browne.

Make Up the Experience Gap

skill gap

Eliminating a candidate simply because they lack experience or a specific requirement is short-sighted. Given that great talent is difficult to come by today, rather than focusing on trying to find a needle in a haystack, invest in onboarding, training, and helping new hires apply transferable skills to their new role.

Focus on Soft Skills

Soft skills have received a lot of attention recently. They are proving to be just as important, if not more important, than hard skills and experience when recruiting talent.

Here are some of the soft skills that can help a candidate quickly make up for a gap in experience:

  • Adaptability
  • Motivation
  • Drive

Companies that are moving away from hiring based on experience and are more open to less traditional candidates are seeing success.

Read More from Our Blog

Do You Have Data Skills? Why You Need to Develop Them Now

4 Tech Skills All Candidates Need on Their Resumes

Skills Shortage – Skills Organizations Need the Most from Employees

 

IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Technology (IT), Accounting and Finance, Consumer Goods, eCommerce and Retail, Financial Services and Insurance, Startup, Cannabis, Big Data, B2B and Industrial, Operations and HR, Professional Services and Legal, Media, Digital and Marketing, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, Emerging Technology and Telecom, and  Sales. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.

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