As the year continues forward, many organizations are looking at hiring. Whether you’re thinking about “opening up” after lockdowns end or you’re looking at shifting your business to adapt to the new normal, you need the right people on board.

As HR leaders like you know, it can be tough to find the talent you need. Hiring the right candidates is likely going to get even tougher. One thing you can do to simplify the process is to change your approach to hiring.

That’s where skill-based hiring comes into play. What is skill-based hiring and how can you adopt it for your organization? This guide will help you get started.

Defining Skill-Based Hiring

Skill-based hiring is exactly what it sounds like. You hire people based on the skill sets they have.

Many organizations think they already do this. The traditional hiring approach, though, often puts more emphasis on educational qualifications or experience. Think about your typical job postings. Do you ask for a college degree, certification, or even years of experience?

Skill-based hiring de-emphasizes these areas in favour of skills. This is particularly important for fields where there’s a growing talent gap, such as IT. Someone may have the skills you need, such as ethical hacking or knowledge of a particular programming language. Yet, since they learned their skills through informal online training, such as volunteering or coding a game with friends, your traditional hiring process might overlook them.

Why Skill-Based Hiring Is Future-Proof

Placing the focus on skills rather than whether someone has obtained a four-year degree means you’re looking for people who have demonstrated they can do the job you’re hiring them for.

Someone who has spent a lot of time coding with their friends or in volunteer positions might be self-taught or only have a few online courses. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re “worse” at coding than someone with a bachelor’s degree.

HR managers and many employers know this too. When you focus on degrees or formal experience, you sometimes hire people who “look good on paper.” When they actually get into the workplace, however, you’ll find that they don’t have the required skills.

In a world where pathways to learning are becoming more open and postsecondary education is out of reach for some, skill-based hiring opens up new talent pools. Finding people with the skills you need becomes easier.

It also allows you to search for candidates who have soft skills, an area that’s traditionally overlooked. Great communication skills, for example, aren’t always taught by college programs. Someone who has worked in an informal sector might be much better at managing a remote team or communicating about their work.

How to Get Started with Skill-Based Hiring

The first step to using skill-based hiring is to review your job descriptions. Do you emphasize qualifications or educational attainments? What about experience requirements?

You can still include these as “nice to haves,” but put the focus on skills over degrees. Your next step is to look at your list of skills. Does an engineer really require all these skills? If you’re hiring someone to write Java code, do they need to be proficient in app design too?

Make sure the skills you’re listing really describe the position you want to hire for. Resist the urge to list every single skill you can think of. If you’re unsure of what skills are integral, ask someone in the position or ask the team members who will work with this person. What does the person in this role need to be able to do to make the team feel supported?

Technology Can Help Revamp Your Hiring Process

Many employers are reluctant to make large-scale changes to their hiring process. The rapidly evolving business environment will favour those who do make the switch. Using the right technology can make it less daunting to switch up how you hire. Discover what the right HRIS can do for you!