Historically, career progression has been a linear path from a degree or certification to an entry-level position. From there, an employee with the right motivation could expect to move “up the ladder” to higher positions as desired. However, things have changed.

Global instability, rapid tech advancement, and shifting expectations around work have led to an evolving workforce. Today’s employees make lateral career moves, upskill in midlife, and take on nonlinear responsibilities. With ongoing talent scarcity, it might be time for you to adopt a new hiring narrative. A skills-based approach can help.

skills-based hiring
skills-based hiring

what is skills-based hiring?

Instead of choosing candidates based on past experience, degrees, or certifications, skills-based hiring moves the focus to the abilities and skills needed for your open positions. It can ensure best fit, enhance productivity, and reduce turnover. What’s more, it often results in a better match between your open roles and the right candidates. Let’s look closer:

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with a skills-based hiring strategy you can:

widen the talent pool

Over 70 percent of Black, Hispanic, and rural workers don’t have four-year degrees and are often overlooked in the hiring process in spite of having valuable skills. Less emphasis on traditional qualifications and diplomas opens the door to more people.

reduce time-to-hire

Basic skills tests can help reduce the need for multiple rounds of interviews when searching for the right candidate, which can cost you both time and money.

retain top talent

Skilled employees without college degrees have been found to stay in their role for up to 34 percent longer than those with one.  Combined with upskilling programs designed to promote internal mobility, you can lower attrition rates.

promote agility

A skills-based approach provides a roadmap for workers to progress within their current companies and allows you to create deliberate pathways based on existing skills while bridging any skills gaps for future roles.

how to hire for skills

To make the shift from traditional hiring practices to a focus on specific abilities, consider these steps:

identify key skills

Tailor your job descriptions to reflect the soft and technical skills needed for your open positions. And don’t forget transferable skills - those a candidate has from different contexts that may be applicable to the role.

diversify recruitment sources

Tap into non-traditional channels such as skills-specific organizations, platforms, and communities. Also, partner with educational institutions to identify and nurture talent through internship programs or apprenticeships. Lastly, keep in mind that current employees tend to refer skilled candidates who are also a good cultural fit.

use skills assessments

Skills assessments are valuable tools you can use to explore a potential candidate’s actual skills and abilities in relevant areas. They can help you make more informed hiring decisions targeted to the roles you’re trying to fill.

interview for skills

Use behavioral questions and situational scenarios to weigh a candidate’s practical skills and problem-solving abilities in the interview process. Be sure to ask for relevant examples from their previous experience.

promote upskilling

Don’t write off a promising candidate without an exact skills match. If they’re willing and able to learn, training programs and upskilling opportunities can bring them up to speed.

evaluate your process

Regularly review your skills-based hiring strategy. Look for efficiency gaps or room for improvement and adjust as needed to stay competitive.

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download our guide:

Download our guide and learn how skills-based hiring can help you hire future-ready talent

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