Why You Should Consider Candidates with Transferrable Skills in a Tight Labor Market

Consider Candidates with Transferrable Skills in a Tight Labor MarketNational unemployment remains at record lows, especially in the executive, managerial, and professional labor market. In fact, unemployment in this sector has been hovering around 3.3% most recently, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. As a result, many businesses are struggling to find the best talent, with the necessary skills for their open roles.

If your organization is struggling to find top talent in this tight labor market, here are some strategies you can follow:

Consider expanding your criteria for the ideal employee. Cast a wider net of candidates. Instead of only looking for people with a very specific background or special training, it’s important to widen your search when hiring during a difficult labor market with low unemployment.

“In a tight job market like this one, it’s important to be flexible with the required background and expertise you’d like candidates to have,” says Simone Mazzeo, program manager of talent attraction for MRINetwork. “Instead, also consider people who may have the skills from another sector that can apply well to the job at hand. You’d be surprised at just how effective these employees can be.”

For instance, someone can have an exceptional educational and work background in your precise industry sector, but still fail at your organization if they aren’t a good cultural fit, or if they don’t share your core values. Therefore, you need to factor in the type of person who will fit in among your employees with the mentality they need to thrive, and the interpersonal skills, perhaps not listed on their resume, that will help them become part of the team.

Notably, many employers feel that hiring a candidate with transferrable skills is a strong way to hire. According to the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, nearly 80 percent of the employers surveyed, somewhat agree or strongly agree that finding quality, industry-experienced talent is more difficult than ever, and that their companies are more likely to hire people who have transferrable skills, but lack industry experience.

By considering those with transferrable skills, you can significantly expand the number of applicants and focus on harder to define skills, such as cultural fit, ability to work with teams and communication ability, which might be just as important for the role, but are much harder to learn than specific, technical skills. As a result, you’ll find yourself interviewing candidates who may not fit a traditional hiring profile, but who instead can thrive at your firm with some industry-specific training.


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