Why You Should Evaluate Talent Based on Skill Set and Not Work History

Hailey Jiang
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, many employers today are switching to skills-based hiring. This means that rather than focusing on education or work history, employers are focusing on the skills a candidate possesses. This approach to hiring has become more and more popular over the last couple of years. Let’s explore some of the reasons to switch to skills-based hiring:

1. Skills from one job can easily transfer to another
Many jobs today hire based on education and relevant experience, not skills. However, what many employers fail to realize is that job experience in one area can translate into another. For example, someone who has honed their communication skills in retail can excel in marketing and media. Furthermore, many “soft skills” that are necessary to excel in the business world can’t be learned through education. Someone might have developed strong leadership abilities through volunteer work or extracurricular activities and may be the perfect fit for a specific job, but they don’t have a college degree. Many employers will immediately disregard this person’s application, even if they would be a wonderful addition to the company. 

2. Technology is always changing
In today’s world, technology is always evolving. A computer science degree from ten years ago is not as relevant anymore. Recent advancements in AI, such as ChatGPT, have created jobs and the need for a skill that didn’t exist a couple of years back. Relying only on past education or job experience ignores the ever-changing landscape of today’s workforce. It may overlook candidates who possess the most relevant skills needed to thrive today. Skills-based hiring enables employers to stay agile and adaptable in the face of technological evolution, ensuring that they can effectively meet the demands of an ever-changing marketplace.

3. Expands candidate pool
Many people today are barred access to jobs because of their background. However, these candidates often possess the necessary skills for the position and would be a perfect fit. Factors such as socioeconomic status, educational background, or lack of traditional work experience all hinder one’s ability to land a job. However, these candidates may possess necessary skills for the position they’re applying for, and companies are missing out on valuable skills. By prioritizing skills over arbitrary prerequisites, employers can expand their candidate pool, fostering inclusivity and creating opportunities for people who may have been overlooked in the past. Not only does this promote equity and equality in hiring practices, but it also enriches the workplace with a variety of perspectives, talents, and experiences, which in the end only benefits companies.

4. Improves employee tenure
According to the Boston Consulting Group, skills-based hires are more loyal to their companies, spending an average 9% longer at their companies compared to regular hires. When people are hired based on their abilities and skills, they are more likely to feel empowered and motivated in their positions. Additionally, by accurately assessing candidates' skills, employers can avoid discrepancies between job expectations and actual job duties. In turn, this reduces mishires. By focusing on skills-based hiring, employers can ensure a better fit between employees and their roles, leading to increased job satisfaction and engagement.

According to Deloitte, companies that use skills-based hiring are 107% more likely to place talent effectively. Furthermore, they are 98% more likely to have a reputation as a place to grow and develop, and they are 57% more likely to anticipate and respond to change well. Skills-based hiring provides numerous benefits to both employers and prospective employees. It’s time to consider skills-based hiring.


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