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The value of transferable skills

Transferable skills can be hugely important to the hiring process.

In an ideal world, a new employee will walk into your midst and take to the work, the team, and the company values and ethics immediately. They will have the right skills to carry out their duties efficiently, and the experience to carry them out swiftly to a high standard.

However this isn’t always possible. Often you’ll find that new staff members will need a little more training than usual, particularly if you have a large team, or carry out projects in a unique way. When this happens you’ll likely have a larger candidate pool to choose from than usual, which presents the challenging task of figuring out who is most likely to take to the role.

A new staff member is an investment. To begin with you’ll be paying a wage to an inexperienced worker, as well as absorbing the cost of training, whether through a professional outlet or by taking time away from senior team members to oversee the initial stages. For this reason, it’s a good idea to look at what transferable skills the candidate may have that could give them the edge they need to settle quickly within your team.

The basics

Some transferable skills are usually immediately obvious. For example, a candidate who has achieved some form of qualification in either carpentry or bricklaying would have an advantage within a team undertaking hard landscaping projects. Similarly, a candidate who has spent time as a ground worker for an arboricultural company would have at least a basic understanding of what it takes to become a climber. However, some skills may not stand out quite as much, but could arguably be even more important.


A person’s attitude says a lot about their ability to work efficiently. You may not think of attitude as a skill, but it can be a huge determining factor in a range of crucial areas such as leadership, communication and team morale. For example a candidate who has managed or supervised a team in a previous role should have some degree of influence over their peers, particularly if they were promoted into the role. Anybody who as spent a degree of time working in a fast paced environment such as retail or hospitality should have what it takes to be a clear communicator, which is vital for anybody working within a team. Conversely, hiring a candidate with the wrong attitude can be hugely detrimental to your business, you can read more about this in our recent post ATTITUDE VS EXPERIENCE.

Fit for the role

You know your business better than anybody, so you’ll have the best idea of what you’re looking for in your team members. Different roles will require different skills. If your team work primarily outdoors, then a candidate who has always worked indoors might be in for a shock when the weather takes a turn either way, whereas a candidate who has always worked outdoors may end up feeling suffocated in an office environment. Of course this isn’t always true, as people are adaptable and often end up flourishing when switching careers, but it’s something to consider when sifting through resumes. If you’re looking for somebody to grow with the company and step into a senior role then a natural flair for leading others would be extremely advantageous, as would communication skills and an exceptional level of  punctuality and time management.

If you’re hiring for a new role, you don’t have to do it alone! Horticulture Careers can help you reach the right candidates, with the right skills and experience for your company. To find out more, give Liam Colclough a call on 01903 446076.


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