Skills-Based Recruiting: What You Need to Know

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In the recruiting world, we’ve spent much of the last few years analyzing and adjusting to a changing landscape that never seems to slow down. And, you won’t be surprised to hear, we aren’t done yet.

A space where a significant shift has happened – quite quickly, at that – is skills-based hiring. That is, focusing on what a potential employee brings to the table from previous work/life experience, rather than solely focusing on education and degrees.

Skill-based hiring takes an altogether different approach, focusing instead on an assessment of the candidate’s skills, knowledge, and abilities.”

Instead of assuming a candidate without post-high school education or industry-specific work history is automatically unqualified, skills-based recruiting takes a more holistic approach, looking at the skills a person has acquired through various experiences that may seem, on the surface, unrelated. 

Career advancement regardless of how many pieces of paper you have

Where having a college degree was once a barrier for entry to many jobs – especially entry level positions – an emphasis on skills-based hiring supports the notion that not everything you need for success must be learned in a classroom.

Employers are beginning to recognize that a bachelor’s degree is not the only indicator of future success for candidates. They’re beginning to reconsider how they evaluate candidates, replacing degree requirements with skills-based hiring strategies.”

When executed in the right environment, there are several benefits to a skills-based hiring approach, including:

Diverse Teams – Skills-based hiring will allow you to bring on talent from a wider variety of backgrounds.

Expanded Talent Pool – By using a skills-based approach you can expand your talent pool while also opening the door to more qualified, experienced candidates.

Quicker Onboarding – Candidates hired based off their skills are more likely to enter their position with more experience and prior training. That means saving time and money during the initial onboarding, training, and/or ramp-up period. 

“Hard skills are easier to identify, but it is usually transferable and soft skills that really make the biggest difference, and sometimes are harder to quantify for interviewers,” says Mark Fisher, TZR president, “With soft skills, it is usually more of a gut feel or intuition that the interviewer has to determine a best ‘fit’.  Being emotionally aware of the soft skills a job will require and what the interviewer is looking for, will make all the difference to land that dream job.”

Skills-based hiring can benefit your entire organization

Organizations looking to test the waters of skills-based hiring can do several things to set themselves up for success. To start, …focus on roles that require high proficiency/core competencies in specific sets of skills.” And be sure to go into the hiring process, “…with clear job descriptions that provide detailed information about the skills and competencies you are looking for. Try to be as specific as possible when writing your job descriptions to include the skill-based aspect.”

This way, human resources managers and potential candidates have a clear picture of what skills are necessary and can better understand and articulate where these might carry over from prior experience.

Hiring for skills will require a mindset shift in which candidates are ‘screened in’ instead of ‘screened out’, necessitating new ways to define roles, write job ads, evaluate candidates, manage performance and develop employees.”

Stay competitive with a skills-based search

The process can work – many companies are embracing it as a way to work through other challenges brought to light over the past few years; and with great success.  

More employers are becoming aware that assessing candidates on their abilities and potential, rather than degrees and job histories, can provide instant economic opportunities for millions of job seekers, help relieve talent shortages, increase diversity and strengthen internal mobility in the workplace.”

We talk a lot about skills – hard, soft, and transferrable — and using them to set yourself apart from other candidates in a competitive market, focusing on your skills allows you to show employers how you’ve progressed through your career far beyond just title changes and your initial degree.

Whether you’re just entering the job market or are a seasoned professional looking to make one last change before retiring from a C-suite position – knowing your value is always important and if you need help assessing it don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

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