Skills-based hiring is a more accurate measure of a professional’s capabilities in a role than the number of years of experience they come with. Yet, there are challenges to skills-based hiring, and this can make the talent acquisition process a more elaborate, detailed one. Companies have good reason to balk at the amount of work that goes into understanding and executing skills-based hiring. But the ones who put in the hard work have promising advantages that others miss out on.
Challenges of skills-based hiring:
Glut of expertise: To assess candidates correctly, there need to be professionals with the right credentials and up-to-date knowledge across the table. They need to design appropriate testing mechanisms and evaluate the projects done by the candidates. This isn’t always possible for companies in-house. In such a case, the entire hiring activity can be outsourced.
Cost: The ratio of the number of applicants to the ones who meet the criteria for successful hiring might be quite low, given that requirements in skills-based hiring can get quite specific. In other words, a lot of effort can result in very little return.
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Follow-up after hiring: Often, these above two challenges mean that companies might settle for less-than-ideal candidates, hoping to induce them to skill-building and development over time. This is again a cost, and the plan might not always pan out.
Despite these challenges, skills-based hiring pays back in the long run, and the trade-off of investment is worth the effort. The following analyses explain why:
Disadvantages of ignoring the skills-based hiring model
The number of years of experience in a single field is such a significant metric that it appears at the very top of a job post. Delving deeper into the job post, this usually splits into two or even three questions about the total number of years of experience, followed by relevant years of experience and whether there are any gaps in this tenure. Companies hiring for a certain role first classify it as an entry-level, mid-level, or senior-level role based on this very same number. Skills and expertise at a job are not, in truth, directly determined by the figure. Rather, it is the number of different projects a candidate has brought to a successful conclusion, or the variety in the exposure they’ve had in the field that takes the honors in an outcome-driven job market today.
The logic and evolutionary supports of such hiring practices
To be fair, the number of years of experience they expect to find in the candidates who apply for a role is always expressed in a range. Even so, it can be short-sighted to not even glance at the skills-bank accrued by each candidate in the course of their productive years. This is because different professionals, like the students they were before they entered the world of work, absorb emerging skills, on-the-job training, and upskilling through apprenticeships or certifications at different rates. Depending on the variety of projects they have handled, the skill-building outlook of the employers they worked with, and the learning appetite of a candidate, their effectiveness in a fast-changing job environment can shift dramatically.
A candidate who has not excelled in one sphere can opt to reskill or upskill to suit their skill-set to a new role. They might be able to do this successfully; but they will have limited experience to show in the area. For all such candidates, skill-based hiring gives the right opportunities. In a market with quick shifts in the skills in demand, skill-based hiring captures and honors the good learners, so that those others who have outmoded skills may soon follow suit. On the other hand, those who rely on existing skills and do not look to upskill may be left behind.
These arguments show that there are takeaways for both employers and job aspirants to make the skill-based hiring effort a success. It is one avenue that merits deeper exploration to raise industry benchmarks in terms of quality control and career progression respectively.
Reference: Stop Hiring for Experience, Start Hiring for Skills|Recruitment.com|Francesca Di Meglio|April 2021
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