3 ways to improve your skills-based hiring approach

August 19, 2021

skills-based hiring

You know you need to hire based on skills. Most staffing buyers (77%) say their biggest pain point is access to candidates with the right skills, according to a recent survey that research firm ClearlyRated conducted in partnership with CareerBuilder. So you try the skills-based hiring approach. Easy enough. You (or your staffing firm) list a bunch of skills in your job posting and you’re good to go, right? To find and hire the right candidates quickly, though, it takes a multi-sided approach. Here’s what you can do better. 

Only require the skills you truly need. 

Is English a requirement, or could you get more candidates and reduce your time to hire if you simply changed signage in your workplace to include, say, Spanish? Is that math requirement really needed? These are some of the questions ClearlyRated CEO Eric Gregg posed in a recent webinar he co-hosted with Steven Cerny, VP of sales for staffing and recruiting groups at CareerBuilder. 

Think through what you truly need in a candidate on day one, and consider how easily employees can learn on the job or enroll in some training. It might even be worth partnering with an educational institution or public school system on a specific vocational program to meet your needs. These days, it pays to get creative with your role in workforce development as the skills gap continues to widen. Not to mention, this loosened approach to requirements also promotes a diverse workplace

Optimize technology. 

Skills-based hiring requires more than a title or keyword match. AI-based semantic search technology looks for context to find stronger candidate matches, which is why it’s crucial you consider the technology your job posting site offers. CareerBuilder AI algorithms will see “gracious service” on a former bartender’s resume, for example, and translate that to “interpersonal,” which could be one of the key skills in the job description for a customer service representative. Voila! You have a match. 

A streamlined hiring approach can be a good indicator of the quality of devices and software your new hires will be asked to use, too, which is especially important for Gen Z and Millennials. Make sure your hiring process is mobile-friendly (more than 70% of CareerBuilder job seekers are on mobile devices as they hunt). And make sure your applicant tracking system allows one-click apply through your job posting site. Using technology can seem overwhelming, but taking small steps when you can shore up your hiring process will make a big impact. 

Meet candidates halfway.

You’re looking for skillsets; they’re looking for the right compensation, a flexible schedule and a culture fit. Of the staffing professionals we surveyed, 60% put company culture as the number one reason they were attracted to and have stayed at their firm. Keep this in mind as you craft your job posting

Many job seekers re-assessed their careers during the pandemic, and now they prioritize extra time with their families, a schedule that allows for errands during business hours, and most of all a short (if any) commute. You’ll have to work a little harder to woo these folks. 

If your company can’t feasibly work remote, what could you offer to bring workers on site? Free continuing-education courses they can take on the hourlong train ride each day? Would a company car do the trick? “Spend time with your team collecting ideas and you’ll get great ideas, cost-effective ones,” said Cerny. It helps to think beyond the traditional benefits, not only in this current market – workers having the upper hand could be a trend that sticks around a while. 

Yes, skills-based hiring is the way of the future, but to stay competitive in today’s market, employers should complement that approach with these other tactics.

For more tips and advice, watch the full webinar, “How to Thrive in a Tight Post-Pandemic Labor Market," hosted by Steven Cerny, VP of sales for staffing and recruiting groups at CareerBuilder, and Eric Gregg, ClearlyRated CEO.

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