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transferable skills -HireTrace

How to hire for transferable skills? 

Transferable skills can be gained from education, life experiences, volunteering, working on projects, pursuing personal interests 

As a recruiter, it’s important to see whether candidates bring a set of hard and soft skills to an organization when they’re moving to a new role or industry. This understanding is essential because it helps determine whether the candidate has the potential to become successful in the new position. For example, imagine a scenario of a candidate who has expertise in problem-solving. The person can apply this skill to overcome challenges in any job, whether the person is working in customer service, marketing, or finance. 

The article explores the concept of transferable skills in more detail, discussing why they are important and how to identify them in candidates. 

What are transferable skills? 

These are the abilities and knowledge that you can transfer from one job to another. They’re not specific to one role or industry, so you can use them in various work environments. Some transferable skills are soft skills, and some are hard skills.

The significance of transferable skills

Skills like teamwork, communication, adaptability, data analysis have become increasingly important today.  Employees who possess these skills can perform their tasks well. Recognizing the significance of these skills is essential for increasing productivity in the roles. 

Being able to change 

Adaptability is very important in today’s workplace. It makes employees react to different situations. So, they can perform well regardless of the challenges they face. Employees with strong transferable skills can accept change as an opportunity for growth. This ability to move forward despite change benefits the individuals and employers because it contributes to the organization’s overall success. 

More productive teams 

Having transferable skills significantly contributes to team productivity. Effective communication ensures ideas are shared, avoiding miscommunication and enhancing collaboration. Teamwork skills enable cooperation towards common goals, leading to more efficient task completion.  

Promotes leadership 

Skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, are essential for proper leadership. When individuals possess these skills, they communicate well, solve problems quickly, and collaborate effectively with other team members. By hiring individuals with transferable skills, organizations can build a team of talented individuals who can inspire, motivate, and lead departments. 

Increases retention of employees 

Retention of employees can result in positive outcomes. When employees feel they can apply their skills in various roles and situations, they are more likely to stay with the company because they know that their abilities are recognized by the organization. This in turn can minimize the need to replace employees and lead to a strong employer brand 

Knowlege sharing 

Hiring people with different expertise can help share knowledge in a company. When employees share what they know with each other, everyone learns and works together in a better way. This creates an environment where people are always learning and helping each other. 

Avoids training new hires 

When employees are already capable of performing their job role, it means they can learn their new job faster. They don’t need much training because they can use what they already know. This saves time for training new hires as the new employees can start doing their job well sooner. 

Improved problem solving 

When you hire someone with transferable skills, like good problem-solving abilities, it means they can solve problems well in different situations.  They can quickly figure out how to fix things or make things better, even if it’s something new to them.  Being proficient in problem-solving prevents delays in getting things done. 


How to hire job applicants with transferable skills?

Identifying and assessing these skills requires a certain strategy. Employers need to adopt strategies that enable them to recognize these skills in candidates and make informed hiring decisions. Here are some methods that can be used by employers to hire individuals with such skills. 

Identifying the skills needed for the job role 

Start by figuring out the important skills that can be useful in the role, like being able to communicate well, solve problems, lead other team members, and adapt to new situations. This approach helps recruiters understand the key attributes needed to become successful in a particular role. Once the skills are understood, individuals who can contribute to the organization’s goals can be properly identified through the interview process 

Mention the skills needed in job descriptions 

Once there is a clear plan of the skills needed from the candidates, you can adjust the application process accordingly. Begin by first optimizing the job descriptions. At this point, make sure to mention the transferable skills expected from candidates. This will help you attract individuals who already have these skills or else who are willing to learn them. By highlighting these skills in the job ads, you encourage the right candidates who are qualified to apply. 

Reviewing resumes and cover letters 

Reviewing resumes and cover letters thoroughly for transferable skills provides an insight into candidate’s potential to succeed in the role. By examining these documents, recruiters can assume to what extent the candidates can apply their existing skills to meet the demands of a new position 

Focusing on the interview process 

When interviews are held, it is important to raise questions that are focused on candidates’ past work experiences and how they have applied transferable skills across various scenarios in the past, both in their previous job roles and studies. In addition to that, consider incorporating practical assessments, like project assignments or situational judgment tests, to see candidates’ problem-solving abilities and their capacity to handle various situations effectively. These methods provide a comprehensive evaluation of candidates’ soft skills and hard skills. 

Utilize recruitment management software 

Try using a applicant tracking system software (ATS) to find candidates with transferable skills. Check whether the ATS is configured to accurately filter out resumes based on the specific skills you are looking for. Consider incorporating skill-based screening questions in the initial stage of the selection process to identify suitable candidates early on. This approach can eliminate the unqualified candidates. 

Mentoring new hires 

After new hires join, discuss further about the transferable skills necessary to succeed in their role. Provide necessary resources and guidance for them to perform well, offering feedback to aid their improvement. Discuss with them how their existing skills can be applied and developed within the new role. 


Examining transferable skills

While hard skills are needed to engage in technical roles, soft skills are essential for building relationships and leading teams. Knowing both sets of skills contributes to career growth, as they are essential to perform well in a workplace.  

Hard skills  

Hard skills are also known as technical skills. These skills are job specific and can be learned through education and developed over time. Hard skills that fall under the umbrella of transferable skills are 


Data analysis is collecting, organizing, and interpreting data to make decisions. This is one of the skills that can be applied in fields such as business, healthcare, Information technology. In businesses, data analysis is used to understand customer preferences and financial performance, helping companies make better decisions to improve operations. In healthcare, data analysis is used to plan treatments. 


Coding is one of the technical skills which means writing computer programs using programming languages. This skill is valuable in various fields, including software development, and web development. Coding skills can be transferred to different projects, making them transferable. 

Website Design

In the context of IT and technology, website design means the ability to create and maintain websites including the layout and the user interface to make it easy to navigate. It requires proficiency in coding languages like HTML, CSS and tools like Photoshop, Dreamweaver. 

Technical Support

Technical support means aiding in solving technical issues associated with software, mobile phones or any other electronic products. This requires a strong understanding of computer systems, and software applications  


Soft skills

Transferable skills are often considered to encompass a wide range of soft skills that can be used in different industries. 


People who can manage multiple tasks at the same time can prioritize, organize and complete tasks on time. This skill demonstrates the ability to handle different types of responsibilities. In any sector, such as healthcare, education, or IT, the ability to manage different workloads is often expected by employers. 


Communication is an essential soft skill that impacts various aspects of the workplace. Employees who can properly convey information, whether through speaking or writing, are valuable assets. Clear communication ensures that tasks are understood correctly, deadlines are met, and goals are achieved. It can create a positive work environment where employees can interact with other members of the team and share ideas. Additionally, strong communication skills contribute to the reputation of the company as it can enhance relationships with clients.  


Cooperation is one of the soft skills sought after in employees due to its impact on organizational success. When employees work together as a team, supporting each other and sharing responsibilities, it can lead to a stronger work environment. This, in turn, can enhance job satisfaction, as employees feel more engaged in their work. 


Flexibility means being able to change when the situation requires it. It’s about being open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Employees who are adaptable can adjust to different circumstances. Adaptability is important because things are always changing, and being able to adapt helps and helps the organization succeed. 

Problem solving 

Problem-solving means being good at finding solutions to problems. It’s about being able to look at a problem, figure out what’s wrong, and come up with a way to fix it. People who are good at problem-solving can try different ways of doing things until they find a solution that works out in a proper way. 

Time management 

Employees who manage their time effectively can prioritize tasks based on importance and deadlines, ensuring the important tasks are completed on time. This skill is particularly important in work environments where there are multiple tasks to be completed. Employers consider employees who can manage their time well as they contribute to the efficient functioning of the business, meet deadlines, and ultimately, help the company achieve its goals. 


Leadership is a necessary skill that can drive success of an organization. Strong leaders guide their team members, motivating them to work to get better results. They provide a clear direction, make better decisions when needed to reach goals. Employees who have strong leadership skills are often sought after by organizations. 


Accuracy means carefully and thoroughly completing tasks without any errors.  Individuals with strong attention to detail can maintain focus on the tasks at hand, ensuring that all aspects are completed correctly, and nothing is overlooked. This skill is valuable in various professions, as it helps prevent mistakes, improves quality, and enhances overall efficiency. 

Networking skills 

Networking skills refer to the ability to interact and connect with others to build beneficial relationships. Strong networking skills can help individuals expand their professional contacts, gain knowledge from others, and open doors to new opportunities. 


Creativity refers to the ability to think creatively and generate new ideas. In a professional context, creativity can be applied to various situations such as designing new products, creating marketing campaigns. 

Public speaking 

Public speaking refers to the ability to confidently communicate ideas to an audience clearly and engagingly. This skill is valuable in various contexts such as meetings, presentations and conferences. 

Strong work ethic 

Work ethics is about how you behave at work. It’s about doing your job well and being honest and respectful to others. The employees with good work ethics are usually hardworking, take their responsibilities seriously, and try to do their best in everything they do. They’re the kind of employees you can trust to get the job done right. 

Active listening 

Active listening is a skill that involves paying attention to what is being said by a person, understanding the message, and responding thoughtfully. It also requires paying attention to the speaker’s tone and body language to get the complete message. In the workplace, active listening is important for building strong relationships and improving teamwork. It helps in gaining an understanding about opinions of others which can lead to better communication 


The role of HR in building employee skills

One of the ways to develop transferable skills among the staff is by organizing training programs and workshops. These programs can focus on a variety of skills, including communication, leadership, and problem-solving. For example, workshops on improving communication abilities can help employees improve their ability to convey ideas clearly, while leadership training can help them learn how to lead a group or a task 

In addition to training programs, employers should also encourage employees to learn things continuously. This could include pursuing further education, attending conferences, or taking up courses. By continuously learning and getting involved in upskilling programs, employees can stay up to date with the latest industry updates, making them more valuable assets to the organization. 

Recognizing employees who actively seek to develop their skills is also important. This can be done through promotions or any other forms of recognition. By recognizing their efforts, employers can motivate employees to continue developing their skills and contribute to the overall success of the organization. 


Final thoughts 

Hiring based on transferable skills impacts individual career development and the success of the organizations. From an individual perspective, it offers the opportunity for professional growth by enabling them to use their existing skills in new roles. On the organizational side, it can aid in building up a capable workforce.