Skills-Based Hiring: Why It Works

We’ve picked up on a noticeable shift in the way organizations evaluate potential candidates. Maybe you’ve seen it, too. Hiring isn’t about formal qualifications anymore — those expensive pieces of paper we call diplomas and degrees. Instead, in an effort to keep up with industry needs, forward-thinking employers are weighing, quite heavily, each candidate’s practical skills and performance to fill open positions. They no longer look at GPAs, extracurriculars, and pedigree.

Hands-on experience and skills assessments are more reliable benchmarks of competence.

Industry-recognized certifications don’t hurt either.
Of course, this doesn’t mean degree-based hiring doesn’t have its merits. A significant number of job roles still require formal education degrees and considerable experience. Doctors, engineers, and lawyers come to mind. But this new approach seems to be the perfect strategy when it comes to low- and middle-skill jobs.

Why? Because placing too much emphasis on degrees is an out-of-date hiring process that has failed to provide learners with the practical experience they need to succeed in the workforce, leaving a massive gap between the information professionals know and the information employers need them to know. It also casts too small of a net when there’s a large number of jobs that need to be filled. As such,

concrete job skills — the measurable abilities individuals display in real-world scenarios — are far more valuable to employers as they staff their teams.

Moreover, this trend isn’t specific to any single industry. Top CEOs and executives in nearly every sector have deprioritized degree inflation in favor of championing skills. Tech, finance, food, retail, and healthcare — they’re all giving more opportunities to those who don’t have a two- or four-year degree.

And that’s not conjecture. A recent survey found that 77% of team leaders — across several industries — are shifting more towards hiring based on applicants’ verified competencies.

The Definitive Value of Skills-Based Hiring

Employers across all industries are struggling to keep their facilities fully staffed — especially in rural areas — and with employment projected to increase by 11.9 million jobs across the U.S., things aren’t going to get much easier.

With this explosive growth, compounded by The Great Resignation and other workforce changes, competition for workers with the right blend of enduring (soft) and technical (hard) skills is growing more and more heated.

But that doesn’t mean you lower your standards. You still shouldn’t hire just any sub-par candidate with a brilliant smile and a firm handshake. It simply means, you have to change the way you evaluate incoming talent. Most importantly, changing the way you approach hiring from within.

But it won’t be easy.

As it turns out, even after the global pandemic put things in perspective, shining a light on the value of applicable skills and upskilling opportunities, both workers and employers struggle to put this idea into practice.

A clear example of an industry where upskilling or reskilling can help combat the staffing crisis is healthcare.

Medical assistants, administrative workers, and other professionals are hungry for growth and development. Many already possess the aptitude and practical know-how critical to their success in several roles. Yet, According to a recent survey, 70% of employees feel their skills are growing obsolete and they regularly hit dead-ends when seeking out development opportunities.

That’s why this new mindset is so valuable.

By 2030, the World Economic Forum predicts that by investing in upskilling opportunities, the workforce will increase global GDP by $6.5 trillion. What’s more, 70% of employees are willing to leave their current job if another employer promises to invest in their career through on-the-clock learning and development.

This is a trend that’s mutually beneficial for both employers and employees (current and future). Employers can fill more open positions faster, saving time and money on training and onboarding, while employees can seamlessly transfer to new positions that increase their value and income.

That, right there, is the essence of skills-based hiring and training. It casts a wider net over qualified professionals with valuable skills — many of whom might get overlooked if education carries too much weight — that can be put to immediate use within the organization.

Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of the benefits of skills-based hiring:

1. Larger Talent Pool

A recent survey found that 41% of HR managers struggle to fill entry-level vacancies. This is because organizations have backed themselves into a corner by requiring four-year degrees, and candidates often lack these credentials. Employers can widen the talent pool by kicking tradition to the curb. Primarily, focusing on skills instead and only asking for diplomas when hiring for specific roles.

2. Accelerated Time-to-Hire

According to healthcare industry data, it takes an average of 49 days to fill one vacancy. That’s often because employers don’t take applicable skills into consideration until candidates are knee-deep in the hiring process. By flipping that process on its head, employers will likely solve this issue. They’ll identify skilled candidates earlier and fill open positions at a faster rate.

3. Reduced Costs

Training new employees is a vast undertaking. And a bachelor’s or master’s degree doesn’t always guarantee that candidates received skills-based education to succeed within any specific organization. By hiring those with measurable skills, employers can significantly reduce training costs and decrease the amount of time it takes for new employees to perform at a higher level.

That’s why we place such a heavy emphasis on skills acquisition.

Based on current data, we soft and technical skills are the most significant indicators of professional potential and success. Particularly, in a healthcare setting. And all our solutions are designed explicitly to help employers identify knowledge gaps within their org structure, assess skill levels, and find the right people to fill a wide variety of roles.

And as your needs shift, and the skills you value fluctuate, our solutions adapt to reflect that feedback.

Want to learn more about how we can help you attract better talent and increase retention?

Visit to schedule a free consultation.

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