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6 Tips About How To Source Passive Candidates

If you are a recruiter or works in the staffing industry, I’m sure you know that passive candidates are usually the best candidates. But passive recruiting is often easier said than done. You’ll have[...]

November 13, 2018

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Transferable Skills: The Tools of the Talented

Transferable skills can be a candidate's biggest selling point. And while these skills may not belong to a particular job or industry, they’re handy, and thus are easy to transfer to future employment. Otherwise known as soft skills, they usually fall into one of four categories: interpersonal, communication, leadership, and organization.

As a recruiter, you need to get candidates talking about their soft skills and their hard skills. Why? Keep reading to find out.

Finding the Diamond in the Rough

Transferable skills make a candidate stand out in the crowd of never-ending resumes. Their skills make them unique, which makes them more appealing to the client. These skills provide added value, since they aren’t the exact same as everyone else. Candidates may have similar work experience, but their soft skills bring more to the table than other prospective hires.

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Candidates who have a variety of different skills indicate a willingness and ability to learn new things -- they aren’t already set in their ways. They aren’t afraid to expand their talents, even when it doesn’t necessarily apply to their current job. This also shows that all-important self-starter attitude that employers love.

Seeing the World in a Grain of Sand

Transferable skills can also give candidates a different perspective on a problem. They are used to looking at situations from one or many different angles, depending on their surroundings and circumstances. It also means that having experience in another company or field gives them a different mindset. Two heads may be better than one, but only when they aren’t thinking along the same pathways. Most clients aren’t looking for “Yes men.”

Furthermore, these soft skills help when candidates are looking to change career paths, or when they need to explain winding career histories. If they have experience in different fields, but want to change, then it is certainly true that the candidates embody all three ideas. It makes it easier to sell the candidates to the clients, since it can look a little dicey if their hard skills aren’t quite up to par with the rest of the submissions.

The Recruiter’s Role in Explaining Soft Skills

Recruiters need to encourage candidates to not only describe their skills, but to explain some concrete examples of how they’ve put them into action. It’s all well and good for candidates to say they have the skills, but if they can’t demonstrate how they’ve used them effectively, what’s the point?

As an independent recruiter, you need to help candidates market themselves by showing them how these skills are great tools for any job. Try to think of how these skills fit into the candidate’s personal brand. Candidates are more likely to be selected when they can understand and articulate how their skills can transfer.

Where Transferable Skills Come From

Where are these skills acquired? It’s not necessarily from the job, although previous employment is a big contributor. Candidates can also get them from internships, volunteering, academic achievements, sports, and hobbies. Just a few examples:

  • If a candidate is a leader in a scout troop or local meet up, it shows that they have take charge capabilities, and can step up when needed.
  • If they play team sports, it shows that the candidate is a team player and can work well with others, even if when they don’t like their teammates.
  • If they volunteer at a shelter, food kitchen, or even with their local humane society, it indicates that they have patience and calm in the face of many challenges.
  • If they help out with a reading or conversation group, it shows that they have not only communication skills, but the ability to teach.
  • If they help put together events in their community, it indicates that they have organizational and management skills.

As a recruiter, you should be able to assess a candidate’s experiences and hobbies for soft skills. In other words, you need to read between the lines to uncover skills that may be hiding on their resume.

 Soft Skills for a Hard Sell

As you can see, transferable skills are highly desirable and versatile. It's important that independent recruiters know what they are, how they apply, and how best to present them to the client. These skills can serve candidates well -- but only if they can convey them properly. That’s where you come in. You need to coax candidates to come out of their shells and get them talking about their other skill sets and interests. After all, you never know where the best skills will be found.

Scott Giroux
Scott Giroux
A long-time innovator with extensive leadership experience, Scott served on the executive team of a leading North American staffing firm prior to joining our team. At Crowdstaffing, Scott leads the company’s global operations and account management team and also drives growth of the talent supplier side of Crowdstaffing’s hiring marketplace. "There is so much untapped potential in our industry I’m thrilled to be part of a movement that is pioneering a connected marketplace for everyone in the hiring ecosystem."
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