How to screen candidates for transferable skills
The events of COVID-19 have meant that many hirers, particularly those in the healthcare industry, have needed to surge hire to meet demand.Whether your industry is experiencing high demand or not, it’s useful to know how to screen a high volume of applicants from traditional and non-traditional talent pools for transferable skills.

Two organisations attracting candidates with transferable skills

As part of an industry initiative to provide a surge workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, health and aged care provider Bolton Clarke created a new, non-clinical role – the aged care assistant. The organisation looked to employ displaced workers from industries such as retail, travel and hospitality.

“Our history of seeking non-traditional candidates dates back to the 1919 Spanish Flu pandemic when our district nurses enlisted the help of nuns and sisters to help with cleaning and distributing support,” says Kate Milliken, Bolton Clarke’s Talent Acquisition Manager.

Another organisation recognising the need to attract and screen candidates with transferable skills is aged care provider BlueCross. Joel Broughton, Head of Talent Acquisition says the use of technology has been vital in effectively managing high volumes of applicants. “But having a tech-rich process means the human side of talent acquisition becomes more critical, not less,” he says. “Because we still want to understand why people want to come and work with us and how their transferrable skills can fit within our goal of creating a new age of living.”

Innovative uses of technology

BlueCross initiated a pilot where they trialled a virtual assessment centre using skill testing software Vervoe. Broughton says while the organisation might traditionally screen candidates for aged care experience, the team deliberately took this out of their Vervoe assessment. “This enables candidates with transferable skills to apply,” he says. “The way the machine learning works means that candidates without aged care experience, but who are a great fit from a cultural and skills perspective, can still be successful.”

Many candidates who were working in hospitality when COVID-19 hit have gone through BlueCross’s Vervoe process and are now joining food service teams in aged care settings.

Move time-consuming elements to the start

Bolton Clarke received 3000 applications for the aged care assistant roles. Re-ordering their recruitment process allowed the team to efficiently screen the high volume of candidates. “We moved the more time-consuming elements to the beginning to allow candidates to know up front what would be required in order to be successful,” Milliken says.

Milliken and her team screened candidates quickly by:

  • Determining the organisation’s “hard stops”
    “We wouldn’t progress candidates who didn’t meet the minimum requirements, such as their willingness to undertake a police check or the government mandated requirement to have a flu vaccination.”
  • Prioritising assessments
    “Once a candidate had applied and met the minimum standards, we invited them to do a 20-minute, values-based assessment online. This allowed us to identify if someone didn’t have the right values for the role.”
  • Checking references
    “Usually you check references at the end, but we did it at the start. That meant we only progressed with candidates with good references.”
  • Replacing face-to-face interviews with phone interviews
    “Our interviews normally take an hour, but we cut it down to 30 minutes over the phone. We reconfirmed everything on their application form and then focused on recruiting for customer service attitude. We asked questions about a time when they had to go above and beyond with a customer and how they dealt with a difficult customer.”

Initially it can seem daunting to have an influx of job applications, but using technology and easy-to-implement techniques to identify transferable skills can help you find the right candidates, faster.