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Is Skills-Based Hiring Worth the Buzz?

Jennifer Olvera
October 19 ․ 7 min read

We’re hearing buzz about current talent acquisition trends and hiring strategies off the heels of the HR conference season. One of the trending topics is skills-based hiring. 

While it is noted that some negatives exist when hiring based on potential and not current experience or education, there is a sound argument to the contrary. Overall, a skills-based hiring strategy is a good move for employers and job seekers as it progressively moves towards breaking down longstanding barriers.

Benefits of skills-based hiring: 

It allows candidates to showcase tangible accomplishments, as opposed to — as is too often the case — education skewed toward an unrelated field. (Hello, English Lit major seeking a marketing role or early career talent looking to get in the game.)

By contrast, requiring specific degree demands automatically excludes many qualified people for roles you’re looking to fill. By ignoring degrees, competent, qualified people with diverse backgrounds gain access to opportunities and grow an employer’s talent pool.

Read on to dig into how skills-based hiring grants employers access to a broader range of qualified talent eager to work and learn.

What Skills-Based Hiring Means for Candidates

Candidates must think long and hard about their skills and push them front and center on their resumes. It’s not the easiest thing for most people, but it’s essential since this is how your qualifications will stand out in an employer’s CRM and how they’ll find you in their talent pool.

Having trouble? Try asking yourself, “What was the impact of this task?” Your resume should zero in on accomplishments and results, achievements and contributions that are quantifiable. That may include not just previous positions but also community engagement and volunteer experiences.

Additionally, Google Career Certificates lets job seekers earn certificates in everything from IT support and data analytics to digital marketing and e-commerce, project management, Android development and UX design. That’s something to showcase on a skills-based resume.

What Skills-Based Hiring Means for Recruiters

In an era when all sectors are challenged by recruitment, including an increased emphasis on personal well-being and workplace flexibility, skills-based hiring changes the game.

Many organizations have turned to developing their staff from within, building their career paths with targeted skill development opportunities. They have also been forced to rethink required competencies for roles and to consider new candidates with diverse skill sets that qualify them for the job.

Instead of identifying candidates against traditional measures, hiring managers can now heavily factor in skills, experience, and grit — the kind of drive, impact, and dedication a candidate exhibits.

Don’t Overlook Apprenticeships

The next generation of workers has been forced to question the return on investment when it comes to college.

According to Oxfam America, upwards of 52 million American workers — 32% of the nation’s workforce — make less than $15 an hour. It’s impossible to tackle a four-year degree on what’s beneath a living wage. So, many workers are turning to apprenticeships to manage costs and improve their professional outcomes.

Take Merit America, which offers virtual training and placement opportunities for those in the tech industry. About half of its students attended college, concluding it wasn’t right for them, while the other half opted to skip it from the get-go. After seeing its programs through, the majority of Merit America graduates see a $19,000 increase in salary when they’re done, thanks to its flexible tech training programs and employer partnerships.

Skills Assessments Are Key

Skills assessments are a way to review a candidate’s skills properly.

Skills assessments help you know everyone in your team has the essential skills they need to begin new projects while also helping employees know the skills they need to develop their careers and effectively contribute to high-performing teams.

From a recruitment standpoint, skills assessments help indicate whether candidates are qualified for the job you’re hiring for — not to mention if they’ll jibe with your company culture and team. 

By using pre-employment talent assessment tools, which closely correlate with skills-based hiring, recruiters can zero in on a small, qualified group of candidates while building their talent pools with qualified leads for future needs.

The Bottom Line on Skills-based Hiring 

From a way-the-world-is-today perspective, skills-based hiring just makes sense. Perhaps the byproduct of a unique workforce shift, this approach holds a silver lining, unlocking access to qualified, committed, hard-working job seekers who are ready and more than willing to do the job. 

By getting on board, and building your talent pool with vetted, qualified leads, you open up a world of possibilities with the potential to build a stronger, more dedicated and more eager-to-learn team who can lead your organization down the path to ongoing success.

Want to learn more about talent assessments? 

Check out our talent assessment offering here. 

If you want to learn more about how talent assessments fit into the recruitment marketing tech stack? 

Check out "Your Guide to Accelerating Canddaite Connection." 

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