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How to Get Started with Hiring for Skills

by Lee Ann Prescott

You’ve probably heard about hiring for skills, the latest trend in talent acquisition. Companies face a tight job market, high turnover, and widening skills gaps as technology and business needs evolve. In a recent survey, Deloitte found skills to be the number one recruiting strategy concern for CEOs, and second only to inflation on the full list of business concerns. 

Every person that a company misses out on hiring is a missed opportunity to drive bottom line results. Korn Ferry predicts that companies could miss out on $8.5 trillion in global revenue by 2030 due to labor shortages. In this competitive market for talent, it’s clear that organizations need a different approach to hiring.

What is Hiring for Skills and Why Do You Need to Do It?

Hiring for skills is a recruiting strategy that focuses on the candidate’s transferable, real-world skills and competencies rather than an educational pedigree or list of previous roles. For example, consider the vast array of skills a military veteran might acquire during their service that might not directly correlate with a traditional job description. When you build hiring for skills into your candidate selection process, that veteran’s skills won’t be overlooked.

Hiring for skills widens your talent pools and helps you hire more diverse talent faster. In today’s world of work, waiting to move forward with skills-based hiring will keep you from seeing the full potential in candidates. When you hire for skills, flexible talent will grow and shift with your business instead of being stuck in the rigid box of overly-defined job descriptions.

Skills-based hiring includes conducting a skills inventory for key roles, writing skills-based job descriptions, and ensuring that skills-based assessments are incorporated into your candidate selection process.

Adopt the Right Mindset for Skills-Based Hiring

What’s the best way to get started? According to Allyn Bailey, Executive Director, Hiring Success at SmartRecruiters, the place to start is with expectations – your mindset. Any hiring for skills initiative is an exercise in change management. In our new ebook, A Practical Guide to Hiring for Skills, Allyn offers these tips to keep in mind as you take on the challenge: 

Hiring for skills isn’t a one-and-done process. Looking at jobs through the lens of skills and developing effective skills-based assessments is a living, breathing process. Don’t be frustrated if it doesn’t operate perfectly out of the gate. Start where you can and then iterate, test, and learn as you go and your organization’s approach to skills evolves.
Align, communicate, realign, and then align again. Continual communication among all of your hiring team stakeholders throughout this process will reduce barriers to change, get you searching for the skills you really need, and keep the process going. 
Let technology help lift the load. Examine your current tech stack and consider whether you may have any tools that can help you assess candidate skills or structure an unbiased, effective interview. See where your software and tools can automate some of this standardization so you can focus on identifying skills and leading change management. 

Even if you aren’t ready to start skills-based hiring now, you can start by reading our ebook. It offers a map for incorporating skills assessment into every stage of your hiring process, from the job description to the final candidate selection. 

Can an Applicant Tracking System Help You Hire for Skills?

A study by the Harvard Business School noted that 80 percent of business leaders say their applicant tracking systems filter out half of high-skilled candidates due to system parameters like résumé gaps or missing credentials. That doesn’t need to happen when you use a top-notch ATS. 

Using the SmartRecruiters approach to Hiring Success will help your company hire for skills. Features of our talent acquisition suite include:

Easy-to-configure screening tools expand talent pools by allowing for a skills-based approach rather than filtering people out by irrelevant qualifiers. 
Candidate scorecards level the playing field by guiding hiring managers on skills-based interviewing. Scorecards make it easy for teams to collaborate, ensuring an efficient and objective hiring process that can help you hire more diverse talent.
Integrations with leading assessment providers allow interviewers to view assessment results alongside candidate profiles, ensuring that skills are accounted for at every step.

Skills-Based Hiring is Here to Stay

This topic is unlikely to go away – it’s more likely to expand over time as organizations rethink job architecture, career pathways, and hiring practices. As job seekers look for roles that align with their skills and competencies, moving away from hiring by role and resume and into a hiring strategy that focuses on skills, competencies, and whole person assessments helps you stay ahead. 

Start futureproofing your organization today by downloading the ebook, A Practical Guide to Hiring for Skills.

The post How to Get Started with Hiring for Skills first appeared on SmartRecruiters Blog.

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