Skill based Hiring and How It Can Help Fill Critical Roles

How often are we caught up in the idea that certain roles need a certain level of degree? Aren’t we in a society where everything changes in the blink of an eye, and degree no longer is a bullet proof of one’s full ability? It’s even more critical now that the global pandemic has made hiring in certain industries more difficult. Hence, shifting the focus from degree-hiring to skills based-hiring is a viable approach.

Skill based hiring is an approach when you assess a candidate based on their skills and area of expertise, rather than industry knowledge and qualifications. This way, you get to see a more diverse talent pool, and fill out your vacancies with the most appropriate talents.

Benefits of skill based-hiring include:

1. Diversity in the workplace

Individuals from different backgrounds can add different values to your company. When you look for candidates with strict requirements about a certain set of experience or a defined qualification, you risk being missed out on those who are actually a good fit, they just don’t have that exact requirement. Those talents make up for their less-proven capability with different thoughts and ideas, adding great diversity to the workplace.

2. Accelerate growth with transferable skills

With skill based hiring, employers can find talents whose skills and expertise can be widely applied in different working environments. A candidate with years of experience and a notable degree is not always the perfect fit for the organization. Core expertise including critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal skills are what can easily be transferred to other industries, and hiring those who possess these core expertise can be beneficial for companies whose main focus is on employees’ growth.

For businesses thinking of making a shift to skill based hiring, here are some steps you may consider:

1. Restructure your job description

Think of what kind of results you would like the candidate to bring to the table, instead of the skills you think would deliver them. Highlighting your desired expertise in the job description, and avoid adding barriers like a university degree.

2. Stay focused on skills during your interview

For hard skills, use the test as an evaluation tool of the candidate's ability to perform the work, like coding test for coder, writing test for copywriters, and the list goes on. For soft skills, asking unexpected behavioral questions in the interview can help you to assess their way of processing information and problem solving. See, when you focus solely on the candidate's skills, there's a variety of ways to assess their ability without referring to their education or previous experience.

3. Identify the organization's need to reskill and upskill

After making the decision to shift to a skill based approach, organizations should reassess their current internal skills pool that are needed to drive the business forward, and those that are declining in their value added to the business. Once you have identified it, you have full reasons to decide who to reskill to new roles, and who to upskill in their existing roles, thus filling some critical roles that are in demand from your business. This way, the skill based hiring approach can reach its full potential - when the skills pool is transferable, and in line with business goals.


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