Most people rely on a traditional, linear career path that moves from certification to an entry-level position to a gradual climb up the ladder. But in today’s market, this narrative is quickly becoming outdated.

Global economic instability, rapid technology advancements, and shifting expectations mean workers have to be adaptable. They switch companies, or even industries entirely. They’re interested in upskilling and retraining, short-term assignments, and embrace new responsibilities.

With ongoing talent scarcity, this new landscape can work to your advantage when hiring for permanent roles. A skills-based strategy can help.

skills based hiring
skills based hiring

what is skills-based hiring?

Skills-based hiring moves the focus from past experience to the abilities and skills needed for your open jobs. It can boost the number of quality applicants and lead to a better match between a role and the right candidate. This is especially relevant for blue-collar operational managers, where specific skills often outweigh formal degrees.

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


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 – but they do have valuable skills that get overlooked due to the “paper ceiling.” A focus on skills over certifications opens the door to more people.

reduce time-to-hire

Giving candidates basic skills tests can help reduce the need for multiple rounds of interviews, helping you save 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. With today’s high turnover rates, upskilling programs promote internal mobility to help you keep your best workers.

promote agility

With today’s economic uncertainty, a skills-based approach provides a roadmap for workers to progress within their current companies. Plus, you can create deliberate pathways for 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

Clearly list the specific skills required – both technical and soft – in your job descriptions. And don’t forget transferable skills – those a candidate has from different contexts that may align with the requirements for the job.

diversify recruitment sources

Look beyond traditional recruitment channels to skills-specific organizations, platforms, and communities. Also, educational institutions can help you identify and nurture talent through internship programs or apprenticeships. Lastly, employee referrals often result in candidates who fit well culturally and possess the right skills.

use skills assessments

Skills assessments or tests are valuable tools you can use to evaluate 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

In your interviews, use behavioral questions and situational scenarios to weigh a candidate’s practical skills and problem-solving abilities. 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, offer training programs and upskilling opportunities to bridge the gap between their existing skills and job requirements.

evaluate your process

Regularly review your skills-based hiring strategy to stay competitive. Analyze the performance of employees hired based on skills and adjust your approach as needed to ensure continuous improvement.

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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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