The Five Key Advantages of Skills-Based Hiring
Hiring is one of the most important aspects of running a successful company. The goal in the hiring process is always to find the best possible candidate for the position. The traditional method of evaluating candidates has relied heavily on college degrees and other certifications, as well as experience. However, there is good reason to think that method is outmoded. The better approach places more emphasis on skills. Here are the five major advantages of skills-based hiring that hiring managers should know about.
Degree-Holding Candidates Aren’t Necessarily Better
A college degree is ultimately just a piece of paper. While a degree-holding candidate may be better than the alternatives, it makes no sense to assume that they are. That is what skills-based hiring is all about. At best, a degree is a stand-in intended to represent a set of competencies. Doesn’t evaluating those skills directly make more sense? Plus, college isn’t what it once was. Many graduates learn almost nothing during their time in school.
Skills-Based Hiring Represents a Major Competitive Advantage
Success in business is all about identifying areas in which to outperform rivals. The prevalence of hiring practices oriented around degrees and certifications means that businesses that forge a new path have an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition. The market currently overvalues degrees while undervaluing skills. A hiring manager who can expand the pool of available candidates is increasing the odds they land the best hire.
Skills-Based Hiring Can Save Money
The fact that degree-holders are overvalued means that companies pay more than they should for college graduates. Candidates with the skills but without the diploma are an untapped resource that because they are so often overlooked, are likely to cost companies less money. Since such candidates tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale, they will often have lower salary expectations. The relative lack of demand for non-traditional candidates means that retention is improved too.
Implementing Skills-Based Hiring Isn’t Hard
Even many hiring managers who resist skills-based hiring approaches would admit that in theory, the skills-oriented strategy makes sense. Traditional methods persist because sticking with the status quo is easy. For one thing, requiring a degree is a simple way to thin a large number of candidates.
However, making the change to emphasize skills is more manageable than it might seem. The simplest step is to just eliminate the degree requirement. Rewriting the job description to center around skills (such as by replacing the requirement section with a responsibility section) is another basic step. Relying on tests of technical proficiency to evaluate candidates (rather than resumes alone) is smart and particularly appropriate for positions that require hard skills (such as engineering). Even for non-technical jobs, behavioral assessments can provide an objective analysis of soft skills.
It’s Good For Society, Too
Education has value, but forcing young people to spend years of their lives going deep into debt just to land a job they could have done without the degree is not a sensible way to do things. On the flip side, artificially limiting the prospects of competent, hard-working individuals who happen to lack a degree is just as bad. While companies should make satisfying customers their top priority, paying some heed to the larger social impact of their business practices is also important.
The business environment is constantly changing. Skills-based hiring is an idea whose time has come. The companies that make the switch are likely to pull ahead of the curve. Hiring managers should at the very least carefully study the major advantages of centering recruitment strategies around skills.