Skills-Based Hiring: Looking Beyond Technical Skills To Find Talent

As the head of HR, no one knows just how difficult the hiring market is quite like you. Employees are leaving in droves with people coining it “The Great Resignation.” And now, there’s a new trend emerging called “quiet quitting,” where employees aren’t actually leaving their roles but are underperforming and giving the bare minimum due to burnout.

It’s not surprising that hiring managers and recruiters are tired. The talent pools seem to be running dry and their tried and tested tactics aren’t generating the results they expect.

What if we told you, though, that you were actually inhibiting your ability to attract and retain top talent? The very way you’re approaching recruitment can hinder your ability to find unique, qualified candidates amid the hiring climate.

Understanding Skills-Based Hiring

Skills-based hiring, as the name says, is when you base your hiring decisions mainly on a candidate’s resume and technical skills. In this approach, it’s almost like ticking off a checklist. The more boxes a candidate ticks, the better their chances of being hired. Once you’ve found that candidate that’s your type on paper, the hunt is over and an offer is extended. But, there are limitations to this method of hiring, and having a skills-based hiring process can be dangerous.

It limits your scope, right from the start.

Nearly every organization uses an ATS or some form of application parsing tool to help filter through resumes and pluck out the ones that match. With the hundreds or thousands of resumes coming across your desk, there’s no denying that you need the support of these tools to filter for basic things. But, there are ways for great candidates to slip through the ATS cracks, and for not so great candidates to find their way over the ATS hurdle and remain in consideration.

The reality is that resumes can easily be tweaked and personalized to mention the buzz words that your ATS is formatted to filter for. And in other instances, candidates can outright lie on their resume to get their foot in the door.

Now, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t lean on the candidate’s resume and skills when hiring. Resumes are, and will continue to be, an excellent way to understand a candidate’s qualifications and experience, and will always be an essential part of the hiring process. But, resumes should not be the main determinant of whether you interview or hire a candidate.

Bonus Material: Discover 10 easy ways to build out your talent pools.

Start looking at the whole candidate picture.

Resumes are limited to what they show you about an applicant; they don’t paint the whole picture but just a section of it. There is more to candidates than just their number of years of professional experience or list of skills and certifications. And the only way you’ll get to see that whole picture is by pulling them for a chat and talking face-to-face.

Once you’ve reviewed their application for the basic competencies the job requires, reach out and facilitate a conversation. This human interaction has always been a crucial part of the recruitment and hiring process. It helps you to evaluate their personality and abilities, so you can determine if they’d actually be a good fit for the role.

After all, even if a candidate hits all the boxes with skills, they might not have a work style that is cohesive with the rest of the office.

Only after talking with the candidate can you get a solid gauge on whether they would succeed within the role. What’s more, this conversation gives you the chance to determine whether the candidate has the kind of soft skills that would lead to success. Unlike hard skills or the technical skills that can be developed or learned, soft skills are interpersonal attributes that are more difficult to learn.

Recruiting for soft skills opens up your talent pool.

Hiring and talent professionals overwhelmingly agree that hiring for soft skills is crucial — 92% said so in a recent LinkedIn report. Bad hires typically are not underskilled technically, but lack the kinds of soft skills that are essential for workplace success.

So, what kinds of soft skills should you be looking for? Here are a few that employers say are most desired currently:

  • Communication — the ability to both listen and communicate with colleagues and clients.
  • Critical Thinking — the ability to analyze situations and make informed decisions.
  • Leadership — the ability to make decisions, manage situations, and manage people.
  • Positive Attitude — maintaining a positive spirit and kind attitude toward your colleagues.
  • Teamwork — the ability to collaborate with others and work toward shared goals.
  • Work Ethic — managing time well, meeting deadlines, and completing work thoroughly.

When you hire for soft skills, you’ll notice a number of benefits. One of these is the broadening and diversifying of your talent pool, since you’re no longer restricted to technical credentials. Internally, you’ll notice higher productivity and retention rates, and an easier time promoting and upskilling within your company.

All-in-all, resumes alone are not enough for you to determine whether someone is a solid hire. While they might be a piece of the puzzle, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, open up your talent pool and look beyond the technical skills that a candidate provides. When it comes down to it, any employee can be taught a skill or process, but not every employee can manage their workload and communicate effectively.

Remove the guessing behind hiring and retention with the support of PREDICTIVEHR’s AI technology and advanced tools. PREDICTIVEHR helps you feel confident in your recruitment and hiring strategy, so you can forge a real connection with top talent. Our talent acquisition tools help you identify the soft skills and transferable skills in candidates that you can’t easily identify in a resume, enabling you to better understand the whole candidate picture.

For a demo of how PREDICTIVEHR works within your hiring team, contact us today.