A career is an ever-evolving process. In some cases, changes in industry direction can make your work obsolete. A surprising number of current jobs are in danger of fading out of existence in the coming decades. The last recession alone changed the job landscape in ways no one had predicted.
Successful professionals know how to cultivate and use transferable skills to thrive in a shifting economic landscape. Even if your occupation isn’t in danger, you’ll need them for moving up and/or finding a new path if you’re unhappy with your current one.
Transferable skills are qualities that can be carried from one job to another, even into different fields.
For example, the ability to program in Java doesn’t help if you decide to move from software development into sales management. You can use your talents in leadership, negotiation, and communication to take the leap. If you do want to stay in software, but want to lead the team, those same abilities prove you can take on more responsibility.
Taking the time to cultivate these skills pays dividends in any career. Figuring out what they are and how to use them is more straightforward than it may seem.
1. Start with your resume
Brush off or write up your resume. Take a look at the responsibilities you’ve listed and the skills involved. Identify which are specific to your current work and which can be carried over. Rank these by your strength in each. This is your transferable skill list.
2. Break down your future direction
Take a look at where you want to go next. This could be into a new field or a path in your current niche. Find some job descriptions for positions within these paths. Find out which have qualifications that intersect with your transferable skills. Those are your best bets in making a move.
Reach out to people in those fields you know or can connect to (via LinkedIn or other platforms). Let them know what you’d like to do, what skills you plan on leveraging to do it, and ask their advice on making your move. Make sure you include consultants at recruiting firms, as they’re the experts in navigating careers in their specialty areas. This networking can bring in sound advice and even interviews.
4. Market yourself
Using the knowledge you’ve gained, post your resume, and update your LinkedIn profile with an emphasis on your goal. Make sure you highlight the transferable skills that will make you attractive to decision-makers in the field. Use any advice you get in your networking to make sure you’re highlighting what they’ll be most interested in seeing.
Take the Next Step in Your Career
Managing your career, and helping you take your next step, is what Millennium Search is all about. We can help develop your strategy and bring the opportunities that will move you forward. Contact our team to see what we can do for you.
Having trouble finding candidates who make it past the first interview? Most companies point towards the available talent as the cause for this issue, but that is not always the case. Hiring is difficult enough, so creating and troubleshooting your process is key. We’ve broken down some of the most common reasons advancement isn’t repeatedly made past the first interview.
Are You Getting The Right Candidates?
When potential candidates for your opening just don’t seem to make the cut, the first thing most companies identify as the problem is the source of the candidates. It is often the case that a company is simply not speaking with the right people for the position, but the real question is why. Common problems include leveraging the wrong channels to search for candidates and poor messaging of the position and company. It could also be the case that the offering presented by the company is insufficient to attract the caliber of talent needed for the job. Utilizing testing strategies in this area can help reveal issues if they exist at the candidate source.
Is Your Candidate Screening Process the Problem?
The hiring process can impede a company’s hiring efforts, beginning with the screening process. Hiring managers can make the wrong determinations based on applications, resumes and phone screenings. They can get boxed in to targeting a specific skill set or experience that they feel is crucial, and end up placing too much emphasis on a small factor while negating more important things. In the end, you could be getting the right people to apply only to have them turned down by ineffective screening and pipeline management. This will inevitably happen in many cases, but if the issue is systemic, it must be corrected.
Are Your Interviews Effective?
The interview, while a critical part of the hiring process, can be ineffective and inefficient. First, interviews are not necessarily a great way to measure how well suited a candidate is for the job; more often they simply measure how well they can interview. Hiring managers must look past the interview itself and get to the core of the candidate. Getting to the bottom of the candidate is no easy task, especially when the candidate and the interviewer do not see eye to eye. It can also be the case that hiring managers become overly critical in the search for perfection. Expectations during interviews can be too high, and can lead to a no pass rating across the board. And it can also be a problem when only a single person conducts the first interview round. Multiple opinions can uncover a better picture of candidates and solve many of these issues.
Is The Job Opening Clearly Defined?
Sometimes, the problem doesn’t rest with the candidates or the hiring process, but with the job itself. Ambiguity and a lack of clarity around the position and the work itself kills the hiring process. Hiring managers end up trying to match their candidate pool with needs that are undefined and work that is unknown. This would seem like something that should never happen, but many companies have this problem. They know that they need talent to fill the void, but if the position is outside of the current team’s scope of knowledge, it can be difficult to define needs. The solution is to give details of the goals that this hire should be able to work towards rather than solely skill sets, parameters and accomplishments. A helpful way to improve this is by seeking the help of former founders, advisors and industry experts, as well as experienced recruiters.
As a recruiting firm for startups and technology companies, an integral part of our process is adjusting course based upon ongoing results. We strive to deliver the right candidates the first time, but there are scenarios where success is dependent upon our ability to adjust, examine the process and identify appropriate changes to our approach in order to deliver candidates that will not only advance beyond the first interview, but accept the offer. If your technology company is having trouble delivering on talent, speak with our team of experienced executive recruiters today.
Testing during the hiring process has become a prominent practice, both in and outside of the technology industry. Hiring tests range from evaluating aptitude, personality and character traits to determining strengths, weaknesses and skill sets. Years and years of research, testing and analysis have gone into seasoned evaluations like StrengthsFinder, Myers Briggs and DiSC assessments, giving employers a great set of tools to help in what is the most challenging part of growing a company. With that said, hiring tests do come with faults and limitations. Not all tests are well crafted, and not all situations call for them. We have taken our experience with companies using hiring tests, and whittled it down to the following pros and cons of hiring testing.
Many of these tests are actually more valuable once a hire has been made. Some of the more useful ones can give managers and co-workers a better picture of how a new hire works and operates, what motivates them, and where their passions lie. And in this regard, these tests can be extremely valuable. After all, one of the more, if not the most, important criteria for hiring is cultural fit. Information from personality and character testing give managers and employees better information around assimilating new hires into an organization. Aside from this, there is some value that can be gleaned by using these before you make a hire.
When administered and utilized correctly, well crafted testing can also provide useful metrics to help evaluate candidates on various aspects and traits. Using uniform evaluations across your pool of talent potential gives employers a certain level of objectivity, which most interviewers (and recruiters) know can be very difficult to do. Well designed hiring tests are especially good at extracting information about candidates that can be difficult, if not impossible, to gather through interviews, references and resumes.
Using the information from hiring tests allows hiring managers to perform an analysis using defined metrics, rather than using comparisons of one candidate to another or personal opinions alone. This can help hiring managers avoid evaluating future candidates based on an initial or very likeable candidate, which can often allow for personal bias.
Using these evaluations during the hiring process is especially helpful when fielding a large volume of candidates. As long as managers have a clear understanding of the data, what it conveys and what it does not, hiring tests can be another tool in the arsenal to help them sift through a large volume of resume-qualified professionals.
In our experience, one of hiring tests’ biggest weaknesses is the way in which employers use them. Hiring is a difficult process that requires a lot of time, money and energy, and the results of making the right or wrong hire can have a dramatic impact on your company. Hiring tests can be a very useful tool for hiring managers, but when relied upon too heavily, great candidates can get passed over and unqualified ones can get too much focus. Undoubtedly, some candidates are not the right person for the job, and tests can reflect that, but too many times great candidates have been passed over simply because of testing results.
Another downside of testing comes from the fact that, like everything else in the hiring process, they are controlled by individuals. A test is only as good as its administrator. Issues like administrator bias, unfollowed procedures, and other mistakes can skew the data, decreasing the reliability of the results and the test itself.
Tests can also create an uneven playing field among candidates. There is a clear disadvantage to candidates who have little or no experience taking these tests, and conversely an advantage to those that do.
The content and the analysis process of an evaluation can present issues. Questions themselves can create issues because of bias, as well as poor question and answer structure. The method of analysis can also be problematic. It comes down to whether or not your company uses an effective test with a valid and reliable track record. Along the same lines, some tests can undervalue certain aspects of candidates that you may find important and valuable, and can even mistakenly rate certain positive traits as negatives. The opposite can be true as well.
Using Evaluations In Your Process
When used properly, hiring tests can be an important step to identifying the right hires for your company. Here are some tips to getting the most out of them:
- – Use them as another tool in your belt, but not as a gateway into your candidate pool.
- – Before choosing any assessment to use, do your research. There is a great deal of literature online around the various tests on the market. Forums are another place to find information.
- – Try searching for cheat sheets and test rubrics online to see what resources are available to candidates for these tests.
- – If you want to take the research further, try administering your prospective hiring test to a few of your current employees. Get an idea of how the results compare to the reality of the successful hires you have in place.
- – Once you have chosen the right test, ensure you have set procedures in place when deploying and administering them so as to get accurate data across all of your candidates.
- – When administering them, make sure that directions are clear, simple and straightforward.
- – Make sure that you have a clear understanding of what the results mean, as well as how the data is analyzed.
- – Most important, make sure that you don’t rely too heavily on these tests when making hiring decisions.
- – If you’re having difficulties incorporating a hiring evaluation into your process, seek the help of other founders, executive recruiting firms and company advisors to guide you.