How To Recruit Career Changers – And Why You Should

Posted by Ryan Frazier

Changing careers is becoming increasingly common, especially for millennial and Gen X employees. While exact career change figures vary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workers have an average of 11.7 jobs during their lifetimes. What’s more, career coaches explain that these career shifts happen because employees feel stuck or unfulfilled in their current roles. 

Hiring career changers may not seem like the best idea if you’re looking for a specific type of experience, but their soft skills and adaptability can be major assets in almost any role. Here’s how to adapt your recruiting strategy to include career changers — and a few key reasons why you should.

Look for transferable skills

Technical skills are definitely important, but they don’t tell the whole story when it comes to potential hires. Focusing on soft skills like communication, flexibility and dependability is a great way to find talented candidates who may have a skill set that can easily transfer to a new field. 

Why you should: According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report, 92% of talent acquisition professionals believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills when it comes to hiring. What’s more, 89% of talent professionals say that a lack of soft skills is the key reason why new hires sometimes don’t work out. 


Focus on emotional intelligence

Soft skills and emotional intelligence are two sides of the same coin and finding a candidate who has both is a winning combination. That’s because emotional intelligence is associated with increased self-awareness, empathy for others and the ability to successfully lead a team — attributes that are harder to find than industry knowledge or technical skills. 

Why you should: Candidates with high emotional intelligence can be a huge asset to any team. In addition to being thoughtful about their work, they’re able to interpret all types of situations and navigate them in ways that benefit the team as a whole. This includes finding the best ways to offer constructive feedback and eliminate tensions related to team dynamics or workflows. 


Hire with passion in mind 

Few things are more important than passion when it comes to finding great hires and this is just as true for career changers as it is for other candidates. Combined with enthusiasm for learning, it can be one of the most powerful predictors of employee success. To ensure that you’re being inclusive in your recruiting, make passion a key priority of both the job description and the interview. The best way to do this is by asking behavioral interview questions such as “What motivates you?” and “What are you passionate about?”

Why you should: If you’re looking for an indicator of why someone wants to change careers, passion is the key. It can help you get a better understanding of a candidate’s personality, experience and goals for the future. It can also help you determine whether they’d fit in well with your company and your team. 


Having a diversified recruiting strategy can help you expand your talent pool and find candidates you may otherwise overlook. It can also be a great way to bring a wealth of new experience to your team. By focusing on soft skills, emotional intelligence and passion rather than more technical skills, you can attract a broader range of candidates and boost your company’s success. 

Want to improve your recruiting strategy even further? Learn how to make age diversity a priority for your company and the best ways to recruit during a recession.

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