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Is skills based hiring worth the buzz?

Symphony TalentMay 30, 2023AssessmentsCareer DevelopmentQualificationResourceRetention

What constitutes a “good” hire? Although the question sounds simple, the answer is more complex, taking into account cognitive abilities and aptitudes, behavioral tendencies, personality attributes and job skills. According to research conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than half of employers use pre-employment assessments and 79% say that “scores on skills assessments are just as or more important than traditional criteria in hiring decisions.” 

Today’s hiring landscape remains competitive, as businesses seek to evolve their talent acquisition and retention strategies to meet the needs and expectations of today’s candidates, support the growth and engagement of existing employees and meet business goals. It’s a tall order. 

By leveraging targeted talent assessments, teams can gain unbiased and objective insights into their talent pool and employee base, enabling them to make smarter hiring decisions and retain more top talent … which is a big deal amid any hiring climate. 

What’s the benefit of skills-based assessments in hiring decisions?

Skills-based assessments enable talent teams to effectively evaluate a candidate or existing employee based on the skills required to competently perform the job. They allow individuals to showcase tangible accomplishments that have been acquired over time. This is important because a candidate or employee may have acquired high-value skills while on the job, but those skills may not be appropriately reflected in their educational background or certifications. Requiring a specific degree may exclude qualified candidates from progressing through the hiring process, or lead to unnecessary turnover. 

Skills-based assessments focus on the needed skills, giving a more accurate picture of what the candidate or employee can bring to the organization. According to a recent analysis conducted by LinkedIn, there’s a notable shift happening in hiring today with one in five job postings in the U.S. (19%) not requiring a college degree. The report also indicates that businesses can expect their talent pool to expand by 20x when focusing on skills versus job titles or degrees.

Further, a recent Deloitte study found that 66% of workers would be “more likely to be attracted to and remain at an organization that values and makes decisions based on their skills and potential rather than on jobs and degrees.”

Some key benefits of skills-based hiring include: 

  • Improved candidate and workforce diversity 
  • Reduced turnover 
  • Increased job performance reliability 
  • Greater volume of qualified talent
  • Increased candidate access to right-fit opportunities

What does skills-based hiring mean for candidates?

By focusing on job skills and competencies, candidates have greater access to career opportunities that align with their skill set. Talent assessments, including skills-based assessments, remove bias from the hiring process by providing talent teams with objective data that helps illuminate a candidate's ability to perform the job.  

In this way, talent teams and candidates become partners in the hiring processes, aligning business needs with candidate skills to find the right match.

When candidates feel “seen” in the hiring process and evaluated fairly, they are more likely to view the company in a positive light, regardless of the hiring outcome. If the candidate converts to an employee, that partnership and positive experience translates into higher engagement and increased likelihood of retention. 

What does skills-based hiring mean for talent teams? 

Finding and securing right-fit talent is challenging. Teams must sift through hundreds or even thousands of potential candidates for any number of open positions. By outlining the desired skills for an open position, assessing available talent based on their skills, and then matching the two, talent teams can significantly reduce their time to fill, improve diversity, and better predict job performance and engagement. The key is leveraging targeted skills-based assessments that provide the right level of detail and objective data to support the hiring decision. 

Beyond initial hire, many organizations are leveraging skills-based assessments to evaluate existing skills, identify skills gaps, and re-skill or upskill their existing workforce. By investing in their existing workforce, businesses can improve team morale, performance, engagement, and retention.

What’s the bottom line on skills-based assessments for hiring (and retention)?

Skills-based assessments are an effective tool in the talent acquisition tool box. Not only do they provide critical insights into an individual’s ability to perform a specific job, they enable businesses to identify and resolve skills gaps within their workforce. These assessments provide tremendous value with little effort on either side of the table. 

Skills-based hiring, powered by skills-based assessments, just makes sense. 

To learn more about Symphony Talent’s robust library of talent assessments, including skills-based, cognitive, behavioral, and others, visit Symphony Talent Assessments.

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