From Credential-Based to Skill-Based Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent

Across industries, companies are facing difficulties finding the right talent with the skills to help them stay on the forefront now and into the future. The World Economic Forum estimates that there could be ninety-seven million jobs of the future that are yet to be defined. These roles will require employees to engage with machines, algorithms, and emerging technologies daily. Do your employees have the skills to engage and innovate with cutting-edge technology or will your organization, like so many others, need to find the right people to fill this future need? If your company does not have the workers with the right skills today, you are not alone. Per McKinsey, 9 out of 10 leaders think that their organization is currently facing skill gaps. As roles continue to change drastically and quickly, this skill gap will become increasingly dire.

Currently, there is a misalignment between the way companies are hiring and the types of issues they are looking to solve. Historically, organizations have hired based on credentials. Interviewers have looked at education and experience to assess a candidate’s qualifications and whether they are the right fit for the organization. However, as roles continue to change, companies will need to adapt their hiring models and look at more than just credentials.

Skill-Based Hiring Closes Skill Gaps

Skill gaps occur when there is a discrepancy between the skills employees have and the skills required to successfully perform the job. As technological innovation increases, skill gaps are emerging in more industries. STEM fields are particularly vulnerable to major skill gaps that can negatively impact growth potential. When employers hire based on credentials alone, they can further this problem. Many employees hired based on education or a past job do not have the specific tactical skills needed to perform the job.

Instead, employers can look at a prospective worker’s skill set to predict how successful they would be in the role. Reviewing an employee’s specific knowledge of certain technologies and their level of expertise using required hardware, systems, or tools can help an interviewer tap into whether the employee could effectively fill the role. To help hire the right talent and to upskill your workers to prepare for the future, employers must first start by identifying the critical skills employees need now and in the future. This process creates a list of tangible skills interviewers need to measure candidates against, but it also helps motivate your internal workforce to seek out training opportunities to gain the stated skills.

When hiring based on skills, employers should select the candidate who can begin executing from day one. You can be confident they have the necessary technical expertise to perform the job effectively and successfully.

Skill-Based Hiring Closes Opportunity Gaps

Opportunity gaps occur when businesses promote women and minorities at lower rates than others. Due to unequal access to professional networks, skilled workers without the proper credentials are less likely to be recommended by current employees or apply for job openings. Credential-based hiring can often contribute to these opportunity gaps.

When a company pivots towards skill-based hiring, employers look at competencies over credentials. Skill-based hiring does not overly prioritize higher education but instead looks at practical experience, boot camps, and certificate programs. This opens your hiring pool to more prospective candidates, which is a win for DE&I initiatives and for closing the opportunity gap in your organization.

How to Put Skill-Based Hiring into Practice

You are now convinced that skill-based hiring will help you close the emerging skill and opportunity gaps at your organization, but how do you put it into practice?

First, identify the skills needed for each of your specific job openings. These can be technical skills as well as soft skills, like conflict resolution or leadership traits. These should all be specific competencies that a candidate would need to have to be successful from day one. With that list of skills in hand, write a job description. The job description should prioritize these critical skills over years of experience or past specific job roles.

Second, develop assessment methods to determine skill levels. These can be tests, practical demonstrations, or detailed interviews. This toolkit is how you determine whether a candidate truly has the necessary skills to perform the role. You can provide these assessments during the initial application process or use them during the final interview stages.

Lastly, train your interviewers in prioritizing skills over credentials and assessing skills properly. Your interviewers will have old habits that they will need to break. They will have favorite questions and ways they quickly assess a resume, which often prioritize credentials. To help them change their behavior, work with them individually and help them understand the importance behind this initiative and how it will benefit the organization.

Now, your team is ready to begin hiring based on skills, and not credentials. You are equipped to find the top talent that will keep your company growing now and into the future.

Start Hiring Top Talent Today

Employers across industries are facing emerging skill and opportunity gaps. These gaps present major impediments to an organization’s ability to grow and lead into the future. Skill-based hiring can help solve some of these challenges by hiring talent that is ready to get started on day one.

When you work with TeamSoft, employers can find the right talent for the right role. TeamSoft and our parent company, Peoplelink Group, have over 35 years of staffing experience in the insurance, life sciences, financial services, public sector, and manufacturing industries. Contact TeamSoft today! We utilize the latest tools and technology to continue to grow our national talent pool, so you will always have your pick of specialized talent in your area.