Move Towards Skills-based Hiring

ManagementApril 27, 2023 10:00


What is your company’s hiring strategy? Do you place an undue emphasis on formal academic qualifications? The skills gap has considerably widened since the Covid-19 pandemic; thus, harbouring a “degree obsession” is no longer effective in the new normal.

Your company has to embrace skills-based hiring to evolve with the changing times. This means that your recruitment process is geared towards the actual hard and soft skills which the candidates possess, not the paper qualifications they have acquired.

The Ministry of Manpower and the National Jobs Council have also been encouraging companies to shift towards skills-based hiring. This is evident by their support for Skills Path, a skills-based hiring initiative piloted by LinkedIn in 2021. Currently available for six broad roles (such as data analysts and project managers), Skills Path allows employers to evaluate candidates based on their performance on various LinkedIn Skill Assessments.

3 Key Benefits of Skills-based Hiring

1. Greater access to talent: You unduly limit your talent pool if you require all potential candidates to be degree holders. While some candidates may not have pursued the conventional route of going to university, they nonetheless possess the requisite skills for a particular role.

For instance, Google does not require a computer science degree for most software engineering positions. By considering self-taught programmers who have demonstrated their aptitude, Google is able to broaden its talent pool. Therefore, skills-based hiring will help you address the local talent crunch and reduce your average time to hire.

2. More diverse workforce: Having a broader talent pool leads to a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Through a skills-based hiring strategy, you provide an equal opportunity to candidates overlooked by traditional recruitment processes.

Potential biases in the hiring process are overcome when competency—instead of educational pedigree—is the primary focus. You level the playing field for candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, who do not easily fit in a cookie-cutter mould.

3. Stronger retention rates: When you hire based on skills, you improve your company’s retention rates as well. Skills-based hiring aids you in assessing the candidates’ fitness for the position. Employees whose skills closely match the job responsibilities tend to be more satisfied and engaged at work.

Furthermore, according to the latest statistics gathered by LinkedIn, employees who are non-degree holders stay at companies 34% longer than employees who are degree holders.

Quick Tips on How to Implement Skills-based Hiring

1. Tweak your job descriptions: Job descriptions are crafted to attract talented candidates whose portfolio of skills are closely aligned with the role. They will not serve their intended purpose if they contain a litany of requirements (i.e. a degree from a recognised local university in Singapore like NUS). That will only discourage promising candidates who don’t meet those requirements from even applying.

As such, carefully evaluate your job descriptions. Make your job requirements less stringent—you can also consider removing job requirements not absolutely essential for the role. You should instead concentrate on highlighting job responsibilities and their corresponding key performance indicators (KPIs).

2. Conduct relevant skills assessment: There’s a limit as to how much information you can glean from perusing a resume. It is more productive for you to gauge the candidates’ competence via administering appropriate skills evaluation.

The nature of the role and industry will influence how the skills assessment is conducted. You can screen technical skills like programming with the help of coding challenges. As for sales positions, you can assess candidates’ ability to persuade through a role-play simulation.



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