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Skills-Based Hiring - The Winds of Change

Author: Heather Gates | ceo@connectingpm.com

Many businesses have hundreds or even thousands of applicants for a single job vacancy. At other times, there may be only a few applicants for a time-critical vacancy. Regardless of the volume, there is always room for improvement in processes which generate quality candidates for open vacancies.

If job postings do not match with the best applicants on the market, it’s time to consider transforming existing recruitment processes to skills-based hiring – or at least consider introducing a few skills-based hiring techniques into the mix.

Since the early 2000s, countless online recruitment platforms have emerged offering companies the ability to promote vacancies and recruit job seekers. These platforms have also allowed companies to promote their vacancies to targeted markets – offering a much wider applicant pool to grow their businesses.

From an applicant perspective, these platforms have enabled job seekers to cast a wide net and apply for as many vacancies as they can find – every day. In one week, a motivated job seeker can apply for hundreds of jobs. And it does not matter if they are qualified or not – in their mind, it’s just a matter of time before they are likely to receive a positive response and interview. We are in a job seekers market and in 2023, there will be even more exceptional people seeking new opportunities.

Most on-line recruiting platforms facilitate the traditional way of recruiting where a job description is created (or recycled) and posted on a company’s website, 3rd party job sites and possibly across a few social media channels. This leads to countless hours spent sifting through resumes, applications, accreditations, certifications – and then conducting interviews, while checking references and selecting the right candidates for a job vacancy.

Skills-based hiring changes the game dramatically by reducing effort across the whole process — and applying focus only where it is needed. Instead of needing a resume/CV to evaluate an applicant’s work history, experiences and education – or scanning for keywords and search terms that match a job description, skills-based hiring focuses on an applicant’s skills and abilities required for the job, the team they will be working with and the company’s culture. By re-focusing selection and hiring criteria on skills, businesses benefit from the following:

  • A more diverse and qualified candidate pool   

Traditional hiring processes favour candidates who follow certain career paths while also presenting conscious and unconscious biases in those qualifying applicants. Skills-based hiring allows people from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences to be seen, because of their skills – and not to be prejudged by the lack of name recognition in an employer, an educational institute or some other arbitrary requirement.

  • Objectivity when evaluating applications  

Traditional hiring is built on the (pre)judgements or subjective opinions of others. while skills-based hiring uses scenarios, assessments, simulations and other objective measures to assess applicants – which effectively removes personal biases.

  • Faster and greater efficiency in qualifying applicants   

Traditional hiring processing for qualifying applicants can be time-consuming and remains frequently incomplete. Skills-based hiring allows applicants to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their skills directly, saving time and resources.

  • Improved employee retention and business performance  

Traditional hiring can limit insights when focusing primarily on the experience defined in a resume/CV. With hiring based on skills that are most relevant to the job, there is more likelihood of getting a great fit. That can lead to higher employee retention rates, as well as increased productivity and profitability through new hire satisfaction rates.

  • Adaptable and integrates with ongoing professional development / performance management 

Traditional hiring has utilized the same criteria of requiring a resume/CV and cover letter to apply for vacancies – and based on the seniority, applicants may complete additional requirements to determine their qualifications. Skills-based hiring is flexible, allowing companies to identify the specific skills and abilities that are most important for a particular job and the company’s “ways of working”.

Skills-based hiring may not be right for every company – but it’s worth considering to attract and retain the top talent on the market today. And – once skills-based hiring processes and methods are in place – there will be time savings for the effort and resources required, with costs reductions in assessment and selection processing – and where the quality of new hires will increase, exponentially.

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