Skills-Based Hiring
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A skills-based hiring strategy has recently become more popular among businesses for some excellent reasons. Emphasizing skills is largely superior to traditional hiring methods. Candidates with college degrees are not necessarily better options than those who are less credentialed, but they usually cost more. Since the market currently places too great of a value on degrees, screening for skills instead offers a significant competitive advantage. Evaluating skills directly, rather than relying on the signaling provided by a college degree, makes simple good sense.

However, deciding to move to a skills-based approach is, in some sense, the simple part. There’s still the matter of actually making the change itself. How do you implement a skills-based hiring strategy? Where do you start? Fortunately, while the process can take some time, it is perfectly doable. Here are the five simple steps to follow.

1. Remove the Degree Requirement

The most obvious, straightforward, and foundational aspect of moving to a skills-based recruitment strategy is eliminating the mandate that all job applicants hold a college degree. Remember, all this requirement often does is screen out competent applicants. The only real reason the condition exists is to arbitrarily reduce the number of applications a hiring manager has to process.

2. Rewrite the Whole Job Description

Getting rid of the degree requirement is only the start. The orientation of the job description itself should be entirely changed to center around the responsibilities of the position. The concrete skills required for success should be front and center. Instead of a requirement section, include a responsibility section that lays out what work the job will entail. Rather than relying on the traditional methods when creating a job description, rethink the whole thing in terms of skills.

3. Encourage the Use of Skills-Based Resumes

A skills-based resume is the resume equivalent of a skills-based job description. Rather than simply constructing a resume around job history, certifications, and degrees, the skills-based approach highlights what an applicant can do. Encouraging or perhaps even requiring this resume style will open the door for competent applicants who might otherwise be needlessly eliminated.

Related: Why Small Business Owners Cannot Afford to Neglect the HR Department

4. If Possible, Use Testing

Tests of proficiency are an excellent way to determine which candidates are capable rather than those who appear to be qualified on paper. Depending on the job, technical assessments might be more or less suitable. For positions such as software engineering that rely on complex technical skills, placing a testing phase first in the hiring process is wise — it makes sense to figure out straight away which candidates have the needed skills. Behavioral assessments (which provide information on soft skills) may still be valuable for positions that rely less on technical skills.

5. Adopt the Proper Mindset

Everyone is predisposed to view groups of people in society in a particular light. You may have certain stereotypes of people without college degrees. Just remember that viewing people as being fundamentally members of a societal group rather than individuals will inevitably lead to prejudice in some form or another. It isn’t fair to assume someone with fewer credentials doesn’t have the skills necessary for a job. Make a firm psychological commitment to change your attitude about the hiring process.

Skills-based hiring has a lot to offer. Many businesses would benefit enormously from switching to a hiring style that emphasizes skills over degrees and other forms of certification. If you are a business leader who has decided on or is considering using the skills-oriented approach, you need to know what steps to take to implement skills-based recruitment. Follow the five steps seen above.


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