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Skills-Based Hiring: Shifting Focus from Credentials to Competencies

Posted By: Debbie Milks on July 18, 2023

a candidate handing a resume to an employer during a job interview

Picture this: You’re at a dinner party, and the topic of a successful recent hire comes up. “The new hire has a master’s degree from Harvard,” the person begins, prompting approving nods around the table.

But what if the conversation shifted, and the same level of admiration was expressed for a new hire’s hard-earned skills instead of an impressive alma mater? “The new employee has a proven track record in project management and a knack for team building,” the speaker says, triggering a chorus of impressed murmurs.

This is the vision of skills-based hiring, a growing trend that’s revolutionizing how companies recruit and select talent. Instead of focusing on academic credentials and years of experience, this approach values the skills and competencies that directly affect job performance.

Let’s explore the concept of skills-based hiring and why more companies are shifting their focus from credentials to competencies.

Breaking Down Barriers with Skills-Based Hiring

Traditional hiring methods, often heavily reliant on formal qualifications and previous job titles, can unintentionally exclude skilled professionals who may not fit the mold, including self-taught individuals, career switchers, or people who’ve acquired relevant skills through nontraditional routes.

Skills-based hiring breaks down these barriers by focusing on what applicants can do rather than where they studied or how their resume looks.

The Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring

Skills-based hiring comes with numerous advantages for employers. First, it widens the talent pool. By focusing on skills, you open the door to qualified candidates who might otherwise be overlooked.

Second, it can lead to better job performance. When you hire based on relevant competencies, new hires will likely be more productive and efficient from day one.

Finally, it promotes diversity and inclusion. This approach reduces bias in hiring and helps companies build more diverse teams, which are proven to be more innovative and successful.

Recommended Read: 5 Factors That Make a Professional the Perfect Fit

How to Implement Skills-Based Hiring

employees working in an office

Here are some steps you can take to shift toward a skills-based hiring approach:

1. Identify Key Competencies for Each Role

Start by determining the specific skills that are essential for the role. Include both hard skills, like specific technical abilities, and soft skills, like problem-solving or communication.

2. Revise Job Descriptions

Focus on skills in your job descriptions. Instead of listing desired degrees or years of experience, highlight the skills necessary for success in the role.

3. Adjust the Interview Process

Adapt your interview process to evaluate these skills. Use behavioral and situational questions to understand how candidates have used their skills in past situations.

4. Train Your Hiring Team

Ensure your hiring team understands and embraces this approach. Train them to assess skills objectively and reduce bias in the hiring process.

5. Use Skills Assessment Tools

Consider using skills assessment tools to objectively measure a candidate’s abilities. These tools can provide valuable insights and help validate a candidate’s self-reported skills.

While this approach can be transformative, it requires expertise, resources, and time to implement. That’s where professional recruiting agencies like Brookwoods Group come in.

Brookwoods Group Believes in Skills-Based Hiring

As an established executive recruiting firm, Brookwoods Group understands the science of skills-based hiring. We experience the power of focusing on competencies over credentials every day and have the expertise to help companies successfully navigate this shift.

Our team works closely with clients to understand the key competencies they need for each role. We then craft job descriptions and interview guidelines that center around these skills. By leveraging our extensive network and proprietary database, we identify and attract candidates who possess these critical skills.

Start working with our executive recruiters today. As Top executive search firms austin, we create customized plans to find the right candidates for your team. Contact our Houston executive recruiters to experience the difference Brookwoods Group can make in helping you find perfect-fit candidates every time.