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How To Recruit People With Transferable Skills

How To Recruit People With Transferable Skills

In today’s dynamic job market, transferable skills have become increasingly crucial for business success. These versatile abilities, such as communication, problem-solving, and adaptability, are not confined to specific industries but are valuable across various roles and sectors. Focusing on transferable skills can significantly enhance recruitment efforts for business owners, SMEs, and hiring professionals, leading to a more resilient and capable workforce. By prioritising these skills, you can attract candidates with a breadth of experience and a proven ability to adapt and thrive in different environments. To help you navigate this process, we offer our comprehensive free guide, A Guide On How To Hire, which provides actionable insights and strategies for identifying and recruiting top talent with transferable skills.

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Highlights And Key Takeaways:

  1. Transferable skills are abilities that are not specific to one particular job or industry but can be applied to a wide range of career paths.
  2. We include 5 examples of effective job description language requesting transferable skills.
  3. Expanding your recruitment channels and diversifying your approach, can improve your chances of finding the right candidates with the necessary transferable skills.
  4. We include 5 targeted interview questions Hiring Managers can ask to reveal a candidate’s transferable skills.

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Understanding Transferable Skills

Understanding Transferable Skills

Definition and Examples of Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are abilities that are not specific to one particular job or industry but can be applied to a wide range of career paths. These skills are crucial for candidates with transferable skills to succeed in various roles. Below are some key types of transferable skills and examples for each:

1. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are the abilities required to guide, motivate, and manage teams or organisations. They involve setting direction, creating an inspiring vision, and enabling others to achieve their potential.

  • Decision-making
  • Delegation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Strategic thinking
  • Team management

For more detailed information, refer to our blog, What Leadership Skills To Include In A Job Description, which provides further guidance and examples.

2. Hard Skills

Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities or knowledge sets that are often job-specific. These skills are typically acquired through education, training, or hands-on experience.

  • Data analysis
  • Project management
  • Technical skills (e.g., coding, engineering)
  • Financial modelling
  • Foreign language proficiency

Explore our blog, What Hard Skills To Include In A Job Description, for a comprehensive list and examples of essential hard skills.

3. Soft Skills

Soft skills are personal attributes that enable people to interact effectively and harmoniously with others. They are more about how you work than what you do.

  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity

Our blog, What Soft Skills To Include In A Job Description, delves deeper into these valuable soft skills and how to highlight them.

4. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are the skills a person uses to interact with others properly. In the business domain, the term generally refers to an employee’s ability to work well with others.

  • Empathy
  • Active listening
  • Negotiation
  • Teamwork
  • Networking

For insights on incorporating these skills into job descriptions, see our blog, What Interpersonal Skills To Include In A Job Description.

5. Communication Skills

Communication skills involve the ability to convey information to others effectively and efficiently. These skills are essential in almost every job and include verbal and non-verbal communication.

  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Public speaking
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Persuasion

Check out our blog, What Communication Skills To Include In A Job Description, for more examples and tips on showcasing these skills.

The Benefits of Hiring Candidates with Transferable Skills

Hiring candidates with transferable skills brings numerous advantages to your organisation. These individuals often possess the right skills to adapt quickly to new roles and challenges, making them valuable assets in a rapidly changing business environment. Their diverse technical skills can bridge gaps between different departments and enhance team collaboration with their strong interpersonal and communication abilities. By focusing on these versatile skills, you can build a more flexible and resilient workforce capable of navigating various career paths and contributing to the long-term success of your business.

Crafting Inclusive Job Descriptions

Crafting Inclusive Job Descriptions

Tips for Highlighting Transferable Skills in Job Adverts

Creating a well-written job description that attracts highly capable candidates requires focusing on the most important transferable skills. Emphasising relevant skills over specific industry experience can broaden your talent pool and ensure you reach a diverse range of candidates. Start by defining the job responsibilities and the skills necessary to excel in the role. Use inclusive language that welcomes candidates from various backgrounds and encourages applications from individuals with diverse career paths.

Five Examples of Effective Job Description Language Requesting Transferable Skills

  1. “We seek an ideal candidate with strong problem-solving abilities and a proven track record of adapting to new challenges.”
  2. “The role requires excellent communication skills and the ability to work effectively within a team environment.”
  3. “Candidates should demonstrate strategic thinking and leadership skills to drive projects to successful completion.”
  4. “Proficiency in data analysis and project management is essential for this position.”
  5. “We value creativity and critical thinking and seek individuals who can bring innovative solutions to our team.”

Further effective phrases for job advertising that attract candidates with transferable skills and experiences include “You may be suitable for this role if you have worked as an X” and “If you have completed tasks such as X, this position will be ideal for you.” For more detailed guidance on crafting effective job descriptions, refer to our blog How To Choose The Best Words When Writing A Job Description.

The Importance of Focusing on Skills Rather Than Specific Industry Experience

Focusing on transferable skills rather than specific industry experience in your job descriptions can attract a more diverse and highly capable talent pool. By prioritising relevant skills, such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving, you open the door to candidates from various backgrounds who bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to your organisation. This approach ensures you recognise ideal candidates with the most important transferable skills needed to excel in the role, even if they come from different career paths. 

For more tips and insights on creating inclusive job descriptions, check out our blog How Do You Write An Inclusive Job Description?

Expanding Your Recruitment Channels

Expanding Your Recruitment Channels

Expanding your recruitment channels is essential to enhance your hiring process and attract job applicants from different industries. By diversifying your approach, you can improve your chances of finding the right candidates with the necessary transferable skills, even if they need more specific industry experience:

  • Utilising Diverse Recruitment Platforms and Social Media: Use diverse recruitment platforms and social media to reach a broader audience. We offer flat-fee recruitment packages and job board advertising packages to target these channels cost-effectively. Posting your job adverts on multiple platforms increases visibility and attracts candidates from various backgrounds seeking new opportunities to shift careers.
  • Partnering with Educational Institutions and Training Programs: Forming partnerships with educational institutions and training programs can be a valuable strategy in your current hiring strategy. These partnerships allow you to connect with emerging talent and individuals who have recently acquired relevant skills through education and training. This approach ensures a pipeline of qualified job applicants eager to enter the workforce.
  • Leveraging Professional Networks and Industry Events: Engaging with professional networks and industry events is another effective way to attract candidates. These platforms provide opportunities to meet professionals with industry-specific knowledge and experience. Attending conferences, seminars, and networking events helps you identify and connect with potential hires who can bring valuable insights and skills to your organisation.
  • Recruiting Candidates from Competitors and Cross-Industry: Recruiting candidates from competitors can give you access to individuals with valuable industry experience and a deep understanding of your field. Additionally, considering candidates from different industries can introduce your team to fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. For more strategies on this approach, refer to our blogs How To Recruit Someone From A Competitor, How To Hire Your First Employee, How To Recruit For Niche Roles, How To Candidates For Technical Jobs, and How Do You Recruit Someone From A Different Industry?

Expanding your recruitment channels ensures that you are seeking candidates from diverse backgrounds, enhancing the overall quality of your hiring process. By incorporating these methods, you can build a robust talent pool capable of driving your organisation forward.

Assessing Transferable Skills During Interviews

Assessing Transferable Skills During Interviews

Types of Interview Questions to Identify Transferable Skills

To identify qualified applicants, it’s crucial for the Hiring Manager to ask targeted interview questions that reveal a candidate’s transferable skills. Examples include: 

  1. “Can you provide an example of a time when you had to adapt to a significant change at work?”
  2. “Describe a situation where you had to use your problem-solving skills to overcome an obstacle.”
  3. “How have you demonstrated leadership in a past role, even if it wasn’t a formal leadership position?”
  4. “Tell me about a project where your communication skills made a difference to the outcome.”
  5. Can you give an example of how you’ve managed a conflict within a team?”

These questions help identify candidates with the portable skills needed to succeed in various roles.

Techniques for Evaluating Candidate Responses

When evaluating candidate responses, look for specific examples that demonstrate the application of their transferable skills. Please pay attention to how candidates describe their actions, the context of the situation, and the outcomes they achieved. Effective techniques include using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure and assess responses. This helps determine whether the candidate’s transferable skills are relevant and impactful.

Importance of Practical Assessments and Skill Demonstrations

Traditional interview questions are important, but practical assessments and skill demonstrations play a vital role in identifying a candidate’s transferable skills. These methods offer a hands-on approach to evaluating how well candidates can apply their other transferable skills in real-world scenarios. Consider incorporating role-playing exercises, problem-solving tasks, and case studies into your interview process to gain a deeper understanding of the candidate’s capabilities.

As part of our commitment to supporting your recruitment process, we offer a range of free recruitment resources. These include guides such as Key Interview Questions To Ask Candidates In Interviews and interview resources, including an interview template for SMEs and hiring professionals. These resources are designed to streamline your hiring process and help you effectively identify qualified applicants.

By thoroughly assessing transferable skills during interviews, you ensure that you identify candidates who possess the portable skills needed to excel in your organisation, contributing to a more versatile and capable workforce.

Training And Development For New Hires

Training And Development For New Hires

Providing Onboarding Programs to Enhance Transferable Skills

Effective onboarding programs are essential for helping new hires transition successfully into their roles and company culture. These programs should focus on enhancing the transferable skills crucial for their success. This can include tailored training sessions that cover communication, problem-solving, and teamwork. Incorporating these elements into your onboarding process ensures new employees are well-equipped to apply their existing skills in their new roles. For detailed strategies, refer to our guide, A Guide On How To Hire, which covers how to onboard candidates and the onboarding process.

Continuous Professional Development Opportunities

As business leaders, investing in continuous learning and professional development opportunities for your employees is a strategic move. Offering workshops, online courses, and mentorship programs can help employees continuously develop their transferable skills. Encouraging your staff to pursue certifications and attend industry conferences not only improves their skill set but also enhances their ability to contribute effectively to your organisation. This investment in their growth is an investment in the future success of your business.

Creating a Supportive Environment for Skill Application and Growth

Creating a supportive environment where employees feel encouraged to apply and grow their skills is essential for long-term success. Foster a company culture that values innovation, feedback, and collaboration. Implement regular performance reviews and provide constructive feedback to help employees identify areas for improvement and celebrate their achievements. Establishing a culture supporting continuous learning and development ensures your team remains motivated and engaged.

Focusing on these strategies can help new hires transition successfully into your company and continuously develop their transferable skills. This approach not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to the overall growth and success of your organisation.

Pre-Written Job Descriptions With Skills By Business Sector

Pre-Written Job Descriptions With Skills By Business Sector

Introduction to Our Pre-Written Job Descriptions

Our pre-written job descriptions are designed to streamline your hiring process by providing comprehensive templates highlighting the essential transferable skills needed for various roles. These templates ensure that you can quickly and effectively communicate job responsibilities and the relevant skills required, helping you attract highly capable candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Job Descriptions Grouped by Business Sector

We offer a wide array of pre-written job descriptions tailored to different business sectors, including:

These examples are meticulously crafted to include industry-specific knowledge and transferable skills pertinent to each sector, ensuring you find the ideal candidate for your needs.

We invite you to explore and utilise these resources to enhance your hiring strategy. By leveraging our pre-written job descriptions, you can ensure that your job adverts are effective and inclusive, targeting candidates with the right skills and experience. If you intend to use a blank job advert template or job description template, our blogs What Skills Are Needed For Different Jobs? and What Are The Duties, Tasks, And Skills To Include In Job Descriptions? will help you craft a job description from scratch.

Take advantage of these expertly designed templates to streamline your hiring process and attract top talent to your organisation.

Recruiting Transferable Skills FAQs

Now, we tackle the questions of business owners and hiring professionals on recruiting transferable skills in the hiring process:


When presenting transferable skills in a job description, it is crucial to articulate their value to the specific role and your organisation. Highlight the essential skills required for the position, such as communication, problem-solving, and leadership, and explain how they contribute to the job’s success. Provide clear examples of how these valuable skills can be applied in various scenarios within your business, ensuring potential candidates understand their importance. Use concise, engaging language to attract candidates with these versatile abilities, making your job description appealing and informative.


Recruiting transferable skills in the UK requires a strategic approach, focusing on broadening your talent pool and leveraging various recruitment channels. Start by crafting inclusive job adverts that emphasise the importance of versatile skills rather than specific industry experience. Utilise professional networks, job boards, and social media to reach a diverse audience. Partner with educational institutions and training providers to tap into new talent pools. Additionally, consider offering internships, apprenticeships, and retraining programs to attract individuals looking to transition into new careers, ensuring your recruitment strategy is comprehensive and adaptive.


Identifying transferable skills in a job interview involves asking targeted questions that reveal a candidate’s ability to apply their skills in different contexts. Focus on behavioural and situational questions, such as “Can you provide an example of a time when you used your problem-solving skills to overcome a challenge?” or “How have your communication skills benefited a previous team or project?” Look for candidates who not only have the skills, but also demonstrate adaptability, critical thinking, and a proactive approach to learning. These qualities are crucial for an organisation’s growth and success. Assess their responses for evidence of successful skill application in various roles or industries, ensuring they have the potential to thrive in your organisation.

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