Hard technical skills, or skills that directly pertain to the performance of a job, remain the primary basis for hiring job candidates. But more companies have begun to realize the value of transferable skills, or skills that will prove useful regardless of their employees’ positions. Some of the most highly sought transferable skills are communication, adaptability, problem solving, critical thinking, the ability to work under pressure, the ability to build relationships, and aptitude for leading other people. In many cases, candidates that possess these skills do more than simply fill vacant job positions—they actually thrive in their new company culture. 

If you’re looking for promising candidates for business, marketing, retail, manufacturing, IT or computer jobs how will you be able to spot the ones with transferable skills? To help you find employees who are a great fit for your company, here are five tips for adapting your hiring process. 

their transferable skills
Busy photo created by gpointstudio – www.freepik.com

Revisit Your Notion of the Ideal Candidate

To be able to hire candidates for both their hard skills and their transferable skills, you must first ensure that your recruitment process puts a premium on both. The onus is on you to determine what kind of people you want in your organization, and then to implement job hiring practices that reflect that. 

It may be a good idea to convene with your upper management and human resource departments to determine a new direction for your recruitment. Emphasize the value of hiring professionals who can showcase both technical skills and transferable skills, and not only the former. You and your recruitment team can then iron out a process flow for winning over the most promising new hires.  

List the Transferable Skills You’re Looking for in Your Job Listings

When posting a job vacancy on a website or social media platform, the SOP is to list down the hard technical skills, educational attainment, and expertise that are necessary for the position. For example, if you posted a call for a layout artist, you would want your candidate to show proof of their ability to use a desktop publishing program. But it would also be good practice to include a list of transferable skills that you’re looking for in a successful candidate. Let applicants know that you want to hire someone with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, or someone who’s willing to work as part of a big team. This will give applicants a good idea of which skills they need to demonstrate on the job—and, just as importantly, what you value in your company culture. 

Assess Your Candidates for Particular Transferable Skills as Part of Their Job Application

Once you know which transferable skills to prioritize from eligible candidates, you can begin screening them for potential. Your hiring process may already involve some form of assessment for job-specific skills, like a writing test for someone who’s applying for a content writer position or a coding test for a computer programmer. But you also have the option of including aptitude assessments that bring out the candidate’s soft skills and highlight their strengths outside of the immediate job description.  

For example, you can ask candidates to fill in personality questionnaires that showcase their leadership, communication, or problem-solving styles. They can attach the results of these assessments to their regular requirements, like their resume and transcript of records.

Give Candidates the Chance to Demonstrate Transferable Skills in Their Job Interviews

If a candidate makes it to the interview stage of their application, you can also use their job interview as an opportunity to test them on the fly. Give them scenarios that will allow them to demonstrate creative thinking, emotional intelligence, or grace under pressure. Ask them how they’d respond to an interpersonal challenge that you often deal with in your line of work. Or, let them propose a quick three-step plan for addressing a common issue or problem that they’ll encounter on the job. 

The candidates who truly understand what the job requires of them will reveal themselves to you during this phase of the hiring process. Take note of the candidates who can think on their feet and who are prepared to answer the difficult questions, and consider them among your top choices for the position. 

Reward Candidates’ Potential by Giving Them Opportunities to Train and Upskill 

Lastly, when you’ve secured the employment of your most promising job candidates, make plans to reward them by further cultivating their potential. Offer them a place in your company’s management trainee program if they demonstrate excellent leadership potential in their first year. You can also give financial incentives for those who can apply their transferable skills in specific situations, like helping your company meet its revenue targets through successful relationship building. 

It would be wonderful to see your new hires do really well at their jobs and qualify for even higher positions in the future. Knowing that, make it a point to hone your employees’ most valuable skills and take their talents as far as they can possibly go. 


Transferable skills are so valuable because they demonstrate someone’s good character as well as their expertise. When you make it a point to hire candidates for both their technical and transferable skills, you have the best chances for mutual success in your endeavors. Here’s to finding people who can contribute their talents to your company’s growth—and who can see eye to eye with you when it comes to fulfilling your company’s mission and vision.