Are You Looking for Transferable Skills? (Hint: You Should Be!)

Transferable job skills – those abilities that transcend roles, businesses, and industries when it comes to a candidate’s value and potential – are also known as soft skills. Recently, another new term has been coined which perhaps describes them the best of all: power skills.

Regardless of what you call them, these skills aren’t just “nice to have.” They’re essential for any new hire and are increasingly critical in today’s tech-driven world.

Case in point: artificial intelligence in the workplace. AI is reducing the number of roles that involve routine or repetitive tasks. But it can never replace those that require such traits as empathy, communication, problem-solving or mental agility.

“Making Those Around You Better”

Transferable skills are what bring an employee’s performance to life and contribute to a positive, sustainable, winning company culture. Hiring people who demonstrate strong power skills means adding more adaptable, versatile team players to your roster.
According to a recent LinkedIn survey of more than 1,200 hiring managers, the most important transferable skills to look for include:

• Adaptability
• Cultural fit
• Collaboration
• Leadership
• Growth potential
• Prioritization

As noted by LinkedIn Vice President of Talent Solutions, Careers and Learning Dan Shapero, these skills “speak to a single theme … making those around you better. The best employees not only deliver against their own goals but also live the performance of their colleagues.”

• In a related study, Google found that its best teams weren’t populated by scientists, but rather were interdisciplinary groups including employees who brought strong soft skills to the table. Key indicators of success were qualities including good communications, insight about others, and empathetic leadership.

• Other experts predict that within the next decade, liberal arts degrees in philosophy may be worth more than traditional programming degrees. “What?!” you may ask. Their reasoning is based on the forecast that AI and automation will revolutionize the job market so much that degrees that teach people how to think collaboratively and in a big-picture way will become increasingly valuable.

How to Hire for Power Skills

Once you decide which transferable skills are needed for the position you’re filling, two helpful ways to ascertain whether an applicant has them are:

• Conducting thorough reference checks: This can provide a candid window into the kind of person a candidate is at work. Request references from a wide array of sources, including former coworkers. They tend to offer more insight into such qualities as listening, compassion, and helpfulness.

• Asking the right questions: You want your questions to elicit responses that paint a picture of skills that aren’t naturally on display in an interview setting. For instance, ask “What kind of stressful situations have you had to deal with at work?” or “Can you tell us about a time you made a mistake at work and how you resolved the situation?”

There’s nothing more important than hiring right – finding the right balance of hard and soft skills in each candidate you consider. Whether your staffing needs are for consultants, contract-to-hire employees or permanent FTEs, contact the executive search consultants at TRC Professional Solutions to ensure they are met. Let us put our powerhouse team to work for you.