for the recruiter---Are skills truly transferable?

In this economy. Does it make sense for a recruiter to consider --Transferable skills????

It is part of my role to influence hiring managers to think out of the box. Many times, that means educating those hiring managers how to read a resume, what questions help uncover hidden talents, and Identifying potential vs. experience in an applicant. This prompted me to inquire to all of you----Are hard skills really transferable? I know that we all need leaders, and that is a skill that is transferable, as is future-thinking, and communications. However, what about the professional industry skills. Would you hire a PhD certified researcher as a Surgeon? No, we wouldn't not without commercial actual experience. So is it true -----that there are simply skills in each industry or profession that are not transferable from one industry to another?

Are skills truly transferable?
Technical recruiting we are often faced with tons of applicants that don't meet the basic qualifications. These range from IT folks that want to go into Software Development, and those Project leaders that feel like they have the skills to code. I still look through all those resumes, and in times like these it takes an awful lot of time. So I began wondering....Should we ever consider transferable skills?

Is it a wise choice of our time? If it wasn't for someone believing that I had some transferable skills, I would never have entered technical recruiting. After all, I was a marketing and advertising recruiter--what did I know about C++???? So I have firmly made an effort to look at all Talent, and assess the skills that are crucial to making positive change, learning, and leading. However, as of late I'm beginning to question if I should be doing this.

Most of the roles I recruit for have qualifications that aren't soft skills, they are often hard skills that need recent commercial and educational exposure in a particular industry. i.e., Financial Services have great technical talent, but often--most concentrate on desktop apps, and outsource or purchase software. Therefore, there is a slight chance an application developer for a financial service background has experienced a full cycle of development and can produce from scratch top software. However, I still look for those development skills, and if they meet the programming essentials I call them and ask the questions. You never know is my attitude! My challenge becomes identifying what is a known technical competency vs what is a transferable skill.

However, when you have critical qualifications, it is often hard to sell a candidate that may have those qualifications, but does not exemplify them in day to day commercial experience. Few managers will buy the transferable skills, but occassionally there is one that will be willing to speak to that candidate. In this economy. Does it make sense for a recruiter to consider --Transferable skills????

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Comment by Maureen Sharib on December 10, 2008 at 9:20am
I received this today in my email...
What did AC Nielsen do during the great depression?

AC Nielsen is the world's leading marketing information company,
offering market research and services in more than 100 countries.

Few people would remember how it all began. Surprisingly for many, its
foundations are as old as late 1920s. Before the great depression of
early 1930s, Mr. A. C. Nielsen was a successful Electrical Contractor.
The construction activity came to a near halt due to depression and he
found the pie constantly shrinking. New work was not coming his way. In
stead of basking in old glory, he devised a survey to find the reasons
and avenues. Observers say that this step was a result of his systematic
approach to business. That was an era when many businessmen and
industrialists were getting carried away by emotions of fear and

The reports of his survey reached Electrical Manufacturers and they
asked him, what he had found. The dialogue led to a survey being
commissioned by some manufacturers to find `How best they could
tackle the on going deep economic depression?'

Rest as they is history.

Every one knows where AC Nielsen as a company and brand stand today.
Comment by Susan Hand on December 10, 2008 at 10:05am
Are you saying then that if your skills aren't transferable start your own company? Or think of ways to create new opportunities. Thanks
Comment by Maureen Sharib on December 10, 2008 at 10:11am
I think what the author was saying was take your skills and use them in ways you don't "usually". If a new business evolves from that usage -all the better!
Comment by pam claughton on December 10, 2008 at 11:01am
I think you find that transferable skills are considered moreso in a tight economy, when it's hard to find people with the right skills, then they'll flex and look more at transferable. Unfortunately, in this economy with more candidates, employers can be that much more specific and less inclined to consider the transferable skills, simply because they don't have to. If they have the option for instance of someone who was just laid off from a direct competitor doing the exact same job and who is great, vs. someone who doesn't have exact experience, then who would they likely go with?

This kind of an economy is an opportunity in a way for people to shift gears, and transfer their skills into working for themselves possibly.


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