The How and Why of Skills Based Hiring

The How and Why of Skills-Based Hiring

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By Franchesca Martinez

In the fast-paced world of talent acquisition, the traditional approach of relying solely on degrees and experience to evaluate job candidates is undergoing a significant transformation.

Skills-based hiring, an emerging trend in the recruitment landscape, emphasizes an individual’s demonstrated abilities more than their formal qualifications. Here, we’ll explore the shift towards skills-based hiring, examine the benefits it offers to both employers and candidates, and provide practical tips to align with this changing landscape.

The Rise of Skills-Based Hiring

According to recent data, an increasing number of hiring managers are recognizing the value of skills-based hiring. In fact, 82 percent of hiring managers and talent professionals agreed that skills-based hiring is more critical than degree-centric hiring. This shift in perspective highlights the growing recognition that skills are often a more accurate predictor of job performance and potential than traditional markers like degrees and experience alone.

Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced degree requirements for 46 percent of middle-skill and 31 percent of high-skill positions. The pandemic has expedited this trend, particularly in industries that are challenging to recruit for, such as software engineering, UX design, and data analytics, and 76 percent of employers utilized some skills-based hiring.

Related: How to Land a Great Job Without a College Degree

Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring

As the labor market continues to fluctuate, recruiters and candidates alike are leaning into skills-based hiring. Here are a few reasons why.

Inclusive hiring: Skills-based hiring opens up opportunities for candidates from diverse backgrounds who may possess valuable skills but lack more traditional qualifications. A skills-based hiring approach promotes inclusivity, enabling organizations to tap into a broader talent pool and create more diverse teams.

Precision in assessments: By focusing on specific skills required for a role, employers can evaluate candidates with greater precision. Traditional credentials, while valuable, may not always align with the rapidly evolving demands of the job market. Skills-based hiring allows recruiters to target the core competencies needed for success, resulting in more accurate assessments of candidates’ potential.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Industries and roles that undergo transformations as a result of technological advancements and shifting market dynamics are ideally suited for skills-based hiring. By prioritizing skills, employers can identify candidates who possess the ability to adapt and learn quickly, ensuring their workforce stays competitive in a volatile business landscape.

Getting Started with Skills-Based Hiring

If you are curious about implementing skills-based hiring in your recruiting process, here are some easy ways to get started.

Define job-specific skills: Identify the key skills essential for success in a particular role. Engage with hiring managers, subject matter experts, and current top performers within your organization to create a comprehensive skills framework.

Revamp job postings: Update your job postings to reflect the skills-based approach. Clearly outline the required skills and competencies, providing candidates with a better understanding of what is expected.

Related: How to Attract the Attention of Qualified Candidates in Your Job Postings

Assess skills: Develop effective assessment methods to evaluate candidates’ skills accurately. This might include things like:

  • Practical tests
  • Work samples
  • Simulations
  • Behavioral interviews focused on skill-based scenarios

Related blog from Aleron Group partner TalentRise: Competency-Based Interviewing Part I: Understanding the “Why” and “How”

Promote continuous learning: Encourage a culture of continuous learning and upskilling within your organization. Provide resources, training programs, and opportunities for employees to acquire and develop the skills needed to thrive in their roles.

Leverage technology: Utilize applicant tracking systems (ATS) and talent management platforms to streamline the skills-based hiring process. These tools can assist in skills assessment, candidate matching, and talent pipeline management.

Skills-based hiring represents a paradigm shift in the recruitment landscape, allowing employers to focus on what candidates can do rather than solely relying on formal credentials. By embracing this approach, organizations can build diverse, agile, high-performing teams that adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing world. As hiring managers increasingly recognize the benefits of skills-based hiring, organizations must adapt and adopt this new approach to remain competitive in attracting and retaining talent in the ever-evolving job market.

This blog was written by Franchesca Martinez.