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Rethinking Today’s Hiring Practices: The AI Shift and Legislative Trends

Kara PolkApril 4, 2024AnalyticsAssessmentsQualificationRetention

The challenge of skills-based hiring: It's not skills, it's the mindset 

Skills-based hiring seems to be the 2024 buzzword of the year for talent acquisition professionals. While everyone is talking about taking a skills-based hiring approach, in practice, it’s not actually happening. The reason is more complicated than acquiring the right technologies — it’s getting the buy-in from leadership. 

Many large organizations grapple with the transition from credential-centric to skills-based hiring. This paradigm shift remains elusive despite a proven disconnect between degrees and job performance that Schmidt and Hunter brought to light nearly two decades ago. While those names may not mean much to most talent acquisition teams, Schmidt & Hunter have published some of the most influential research on valid talent selection methods to date.

Often, HR professionals seeking a skills-based hiring approach are placed in no-win situations when trying to shift leaders' mindsets in larger organizations. It’s like trying to complete a 3-point turn in a long bed truck on a two-lane highway in Houston. You might get there, but it won’t be in three. 

AI innovation reshaping the skills landscape and leadership mindsets 

This is where AI innovation comes in. While AI presents numerous challenges for the workforce, such as higher layoffs in tech to create a budget to invest in AI, it also changes what skills are needed for success. With the introduction of AI, as long as employees have the drive, they can learn anything. For example, a person can upskill easily by prompt engineering (asking the right questions to chatGPT), or leverage online resources to teach themself to code. The possibilities are endless. 

The AI renaissance behooves organizations large and small to adapt quickly to find the right talent that can scale with them as the technology landscape changes. Organizations will be surprised by what they find when they shift their paradigm on what knowledge, skills, and abilities make a successful candidate. In the coming years, we will see an onslaught of new job opportunities for people regardless of background.

Upskilling any employee is the business case talent professionals must discuss to get leadership buy-in for skills-based hiring. Traditional leaders are used to saying a bachelor’s degree equates to this level of knowledge, or ten years in the specific field equals the right fit role requirements. AI changes that need. We now live in an anyone can learn anything era, and that’s a value add for organizations, not a negative. 

A positive shift: A bill for candidates without degrees

A new bill challenges the traditional emphasis on degrees by recognizing that true performance is rooted in knowledge, skills, and abilities. Success is not guaranteed by prestigious degrees alone; instead, systematic qualification based on core job requirements proves more predictive at the individual, team, and company levels. 

This bill heralds a positive and impactful change, acknowledging the importance of diverse skills and experiences beyond formal education.

Navigating AI hiring laws adds another level of complexity 

While AI is a great tool for upskilling and launching skills-based hiring strategies, you must be careful in what AI you use, how you use it, and how you store the data. 

Most organizations are extremely cautious in interpreting AI hiring laws – specifically New York City’s latest law. Because of the new AI hiring regulations, many organizations have either completely moved away from AI tools or are working with vendors that can complete adverse impact analyses for any automation in hiring decisions. Remember that adverse impact analyses have been required for selection tools since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published the Uniform Guidelines in 1978. Essentially, this is old hat for talent assessments but new for AI.

The implementation of audits and the requirement for publicly available adverse impact analyses in NYC mark a crucial step toward fair AI practices. Organizations developing AI tools should scrutinize their hiring practices to ensure fairness and equity in a global market. Addressing biases in AI algorithms is essential, as the notion that algorithms are inherently fair is debunked.

A talent assessment solution from Symphony Talent

With clear guidance and an easy-to-use interface, Symphony Talent Assessments are easily administered, removing much of the fear behind launching skills-based hiring strategies. And, with a robust library available, Symphony Talent clients have even greater flexibility and can customize their assessment experience for any number of roles or career levels. 

Talent assessments are a proven, science-backed method for evaluating candidates and employees to drive better performance, engagement, and retention. The impact of Symphony Talent's Assessment Solutions is strategic and measurable. According to a third-party research firm that conducted independent research, Symphony Talent Assessment clients generated a 1000% ROI in one year.

Learn more about how assessments can integrate into your talent acquisition processes here.

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