How Valuable Are Transferable Skills?

Yesterday we heard from David Dourgarian, CEO of TempWorks Software on an outside-the-box hire he made of an individual named Ryan. Ryan worked at a bowling alley, and his excellent customer service spoke to Dourgarian. Today we’ll hear more about that experience.

Sometimes the perfect person for an open position is even closer than you’d think—right under your nose. It’s important to be able to recognize individual strengths within your existing employees and consider each when a new role becomes available. Are all your employees’ best traits being utilized to their greatest potential?
Try to think of your employees beyond their current positions. Identify the key requirements for the position you’re trying to fill. If no one in your office held a particular position, would any of them fit this new role? Identify their transferable skills, and work with them to decide if they would find it more fulfilling to take on the challenge of this new position.

Transferable Skills that Are Right up Your Alley

Ultimately, we hired Ryan because he demonstrated multiple transferable skills—those abilities that can be applied to a wide range of jobs and industries. While Ryan may not have had staffing software experience, he had transferable skills in spades. His ability to quickly learn new software, solve problems, and communicate effectively ultimately helped him succeed within an industry that was totally foreign to him.
“The opportunity to switch from a bowling alley job to a career within an unfamiliar industry was intimidating at first, especially since staffing software seemed so out-of-the-box at the time,” said Ryan Conover, now an implementation specialist at TempWorks Software. “However, when I stepped back and considered the things I was already doing at the bowling alley, and then compared them to the responsibilities of a job with TempWorks, I realized my skill set was completely transferrable. The software’s concept was easy to grasp, and I found I was still working with customers on a day-to-day basis.”
Depending on the position you’re looking to fill, transferable skills and experience in other industries can bring valuable perspective to an available role. The key is to avoid becoming so devoted to a job description that you fail to keep your eyes and mind open to the people that could bring measurable success to your organization.
Ryan’s story highlights the importance of learning to identify potential wherever it may hide—whether that’s out in the real world or right under your nose. Then, you must empower those individuals with the opportunity to unlock their potential through further development of their existing skill set. When it comes to finding diamond-in-the-rough employees, like Ryan, always keep an open mind and think outside of the box when it comes to your recruitment strategy. You won’t regret it.
David Dourgarian is the CEO of TempWorks Software, based in Eagan, MN. His accomplishments within the company include launching the payroll funding and payroll processing divisions, as well as engineering a substantial software partnership with Sterling National Bank.