Transferable skills and how to find them when hiring

He may be best known for painting the Mona Lisa, but that’s far from the only major contribution Leonardo Da Vinci has had in the world. It’s believed that he drafted the first resume, where he kept detailed notes of his education, skills and projects, and sent this document in the form of a letter to the Duke of Milan to obtain his patronage. That was in the 15th century. So, why are we still using this antiquated recruitment model as the foundation of our hiring practices today?

Resumes get funneled through automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) and job boards that filter out candidates based on keywords, especially in O’Net job zones 1-3.

Even though candidates carefully craft resumes, on average, hiring managers spend a brief time — approximately 7.4 seconds on average — reviewing them, largely because of the large volume of resumes they receive, making it difficult to thoroughly evaluate each one.

As a result, hiring managers focus on what is familiar and recognizable, such as the candidate’s job title, company name and specific tasks. This approach to screening can create bias in the selection process, as candidates with less traditional or non-linear career paths may be overlooked.

There’s a better way: Transferable skills

Employers must look beyond the surface level of a resume and consider the candidate as a whole — their potential, transferable skills, and willingness to learn and grow in the role. By doing so, employers can engage an untapped talent pool that may have gone unnoticed, and hire more inclusively and equitably in the process.

But what are transferable skills, exactly? Transferable skills are the abilities, knowledge and skills gained in one setting that can be applied in other settings. Today’s hiring systems only scratch the surface of all that an individual has to offer. It is time to assess individuals more holistically, including transferable skills and interests.

I believe that empowering people with knowledge is critical to building a good society. That’s really at the heart of my mission with UnifyWork. We want to demonstrate that with transferable skills, the talent pool can be widened and be mutually beneficial to both the job seeker and the organization. By leveraging technology, we can gain a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s skills and experience, enabling companies to find the right talent, inclusively and at scale.

But how do you identify transferable skills?

Look beyond a candidate’s education and experience, and instead focus on their actual capabilities to perform tasks and responsibilities. At the same time, look at their interests, values and aspirations. Candidates interested in their work are more likely to be engaged, motivated and committed to their role. It can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased retention rates and improved organizational performance.

Behavior-based interviews and research-based assessments effectively assess candidate skills and interests. They focus on probing a candidate’s past experiences and actions to gauge their skills and behaviors in relevant situations. And research-based assessments use data and analytics to measure a candidate’s skills and interests against the job requirements.

Shifting to a skills and interests-based approach makes the recruitment process more effective and equitable, as candidates are evaluated on their capabilities and motivations, rather than just their credentials. ●

Stephen McHale is CEO of UnifyWork

Stephen McHale

Connect On Social Media