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Why You Should Consider a Skills-First Approach to Hiring when Facing Economic Uncertainty

A skills-first approach to hiring is poised to be the way of the future.

Skills-first approach is one that emphasises a person's skills and competencies to determine the capability and fit of a candidate, over education, work experience or personal referrals. This enables employers to increase and diversify the size of their talent pool, find and attract quality candidates, and be confident that the candidates will have the skills needed to succeed in a role and in the team.

According to the World Economic Forum, employers who use a skills-based approach to hiring are 60% more likely to find a successful hire compared to those not relying on skills as part of the hiring process.

Employers don’t often realise that the skills candidates have from one job can be transferred to another. So whilst an ideal candidate may not have the same job title, their skillset may enable them to succeed in another role.

This is important in the current uncertain economy and with new trends reshaping the world of work. Often job vacancies are being put on hold, lowering available resources in businesses. Which makes it more important now than ever before to hire the best talent for your team, based on their skills and competencies, which will enable employees to be adaptable to changing roles and responsibilities when needed.

In 2022, companies including Apple, General Motors, EY, Google, IBM, and PwC, among others, removed degree-based application requirements for several roles and opened employment access to non-traditional applicants.

"What matters most is that people – like organizations – remain resilient and relevant and hence employable over time. In today's fast-paced world, formal education, training or job experience acquired in the past have the potential to become obsolete very quickly, therefore we need to focus not on what people have done in the past but on what they are capable of doing in the future" — Judith Wiese, Chief People and Sustainability Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Siemens.

How can businesses take a skills-first approach to hiring?

1. Map employees’ skills
  • This will provide an understanding of any critical skills gaps required in your business. It will also make it easier to match potential candidates.

2. Rethink job descriptions and focus on the skills required to succeed in the role. 
  • The job description should include the results you’d like to see, rather than the type of qualifications that you think could deliver them. 

  • Highlighting the desired skills — the candidate’s ability to perform certain tasks — gets to the same results without creating an unnecessary barrier to entry, like a requirement for a four-year degree. 

3. Focus interview questions on the skill set required, and potentially any assessments that can measure them. 
  • As part of our unique process at Reimagine Talent all candidates complete a work-styles behaviour assessment. This means we can provide our clients with a pool of talent who have the necessary skills to excel both in a role and within the business.

Future-proofing your business

Alongside using a skills-first approach to hiring, more and more companies are investing in improving the skill set of their current workforce. This enables employers to future proof their businesses by having employees with a variety of skills that they can leverage across the organisation, and the ability to adapt to the changing working landscape and changing business priorities that is occurring in the current uncertain market.

In 2021, Amazon invested more than $700 million to provide up-skilling training to their employees. JPMorgan Chase added $350 million to their $250 million plan to upskill their workforce. PwC spent $3 billion to upskill all of its 275,000 employees over the next three to four years; the mantra of the program is “New World, New Skills.”

Investing in up-skilling employees means businesses will attract the best talent when hiring, improving the quality of their workforce and company culture, which leads to business growth.

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2022, having opportunities to learn and grow is now the number one factor that defines an exceptional work environment.

When we speak to candidates looking for new roles, one of the most important things they consider when looking for a new role is career development opportunities. Candidates want the opportunity to upskill and re-skill and grow their career with your business. According to a June 2020 survey conducted by Glint, a human resources software company owned by LinkedIn, an overwhelming number of employees — 97% — want to expand or at least continue the amount of time they spend learning. Employees who see good opportunities to learn and grow are 2.9 times more likely to be engaged

For further recruitment support, the team at Reimagine Talent are always here to assist you in your recruitment process, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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