Hiring for Skills-specific Roles

As time goes on, competition for talent grows fiercer, posing challenges for organizations in attracting top candidates. This challenge is especially notable today, as the current talent pool expands with the newer generation, many of whom already possess solid skill sets acquired not only through formal education but also through extracurricular commitments.

Moreover, an increasing number of young professionals are actively building their portfolios by gaining work experience as early as 18 years old, aiming to advance their careers or start their own businesses. This has led businesses to prioritize skill-based recruiting, allowing them to tap into a broader talent pool and identify highly capable candidates, especially for entry-level and mid-career positions.

LinkedIn’s insights reveal this trend’s urgency, particularly in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, where industries like finance and IT are leading the charge. Notably, there’s been a significant acceleration in the demand for digital skills, driven by the pandemic’s impact. 

But what is Skills-based Hiring?

Skills-based hiring refers to a recruitment approach that prioritizes the evaluation of candidates based on their skills rather than their education or past work experience. While conventional practice used to emphasize these traditional factors, employers are now increasingly adopting this method with the aim of cultivating a more well-curated workforce.

Here are the four advantages of skills-based hiring:

  1. Enhances Quality of Hire: Skills-based hiring improves the quality of hires by focusing on reliable indicators like skills and competencies rather than pedigree requirements. 
  2. Talent Pool Expansion: It broadens the talent pool by identifying candidates based on skills rather than traditional education or career paths. 
  3. Bias Reduction and Diversity: Skills-based hiring reduces unconscious bias, leading to a more diverse talent pipeline. 
  4. Improve Employee Retention: Matching skills with roles and offering development opportunities improves employee retention rates, particularly for those without traditional degrees, and enhances internal mobility within the organization.

To conduct successful skills-based recruitment, employers also need to do their part of the bargain and that is to effectively implement this throughout each step of the hiring process.

Here’s how you can successfully implement a skills-based recruitment process in your organization:

  1. Update Job Descriptions: Craft descriptions focused on necessary skills rather than specific educational backgrounds. Challenge unnecessary qualifications to attract a broader pool of qualified candidates. 
  2. Expand Candidate Sourcing: Look beyond traditional channels and consider candidates from diverse backgrounds and alternative skill-acquisition paths such as boot camps or certifications. 
  3. Focus Screening Process: Develop screening criteria based on skills and achievements rather than relying solely on resume details. Mitigate unconscious bias by anonymizing irrelevant information. 
  4. Structured Interviewing: Implement a standardized interview process with consistent questions aimed at assessing candidates’ relevant skills and competencies. 
  5. Skill-Based Assessments: Utilize pre-employment skill assessments to objectively evaluate candidates’ abilities in line with job requirements. 
  6. Revisit Background Checks: Tailor background checks to focus on information directly relevant to the job. Use references to gain insight into candidates’ skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments. 
  7. Fair Job Offers: Base compensation on demonstrated skills and expected impact rather than solely on education or experience level. Provide opportunities for continuous learning and advancement to support skill development among employees. 

Final Thoughts

In a landscape where talent is abundant but competition is fierce, embracing skills-based hiring isn’t just a strategy—it’s a necessity, and adapting accordingly should be a proactive initiative because when we prioritize skills over conventional markers of success, organizations not only access a broader pool of talent but also foster diversity and ultimately elevate the quality of their workforce.

For 22 successful years, Viventis Search Asia has been at the forefront of linking talented individuals with top-tier organizations. Their expertise lies in Talent Attraction, Talent Development, and Career Technology, seamlessly integrated to achieve one overarching aim: to redefine and transform the business landscape. 

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