Finding a unicorn candidate feels almost impossible lately. After hundreds of applicants, some meet the degree requirement, others have an impressive skill set, but no one has both. If it feels like your approach to hiring is getting tiresome, that’s because it likely is. The “unicorn” candidate likely looks a lot different than the image you had in your mind.
Whether that was job loss or a reduction in hours, many workers had to think fast on their feet when March 2020 hit. Thus, the reskilling movement was born. Now more than ever, workers are focusing on improving and changing their skill sets. And employers that switched to skill-based hiring are reaping the benefits.
Read on to discover how traditional hiring methods and staffing agencies fall short – Learn how you can start hiring for skills, not for a candidate’s past.
The History of Hiring
Historically, traditional hiring was done in a good old-fashioned classified ad in the newspaper. Local candidates were encouraged to apply. Modern recruiters know that they need to be tech-savvy now to keep up with promising candidates. So, we’ve implemented the applicant tracking system. You post on job boards and write engaging job descriptions. Now you wait for the candidates to roll in.
As a recruiter, you know the usual way of hiring. Candidates must check a box to meet the degree requirements. They also need to know SQL, Excel, Salesforce, WordPress, Python and have 7 years of work experience. While you may think this is a modern way to check the boxes for candidates, it’s outdated. These stringent hiring requirements contribute to the hiring crisis in tech.
The History of Staffing Agencies
In the 1940s, staffing agencies were born. WWII caused employees across industries to up and leave their jobs quickly, making it so many positions remained vacant. Suddenly, there was an apparent lack of talent, and the staffing industry boomed overnight. Many women joined the workforce using staffing agencies and continued to work even after the war was over.
Of course, today’s staffing landscape looks slightly different. The workforce is diverse. Staffing agencies were faced with dealing with many modern challenges. They still do good work, but they’re not necessarily opening up the market to enhance and support the shifting workforce.
The Broken System and The Future of Work
Traditional staffing agencies are largely stuck in the past. A lack of transparency and high fees frustrate prospective candidates (and companies!). And don’t forget it prevents them from getting the job they want. But your hiring practices are frustrating candidates too. Many companies have relaxed their “middle-skill” job requirements, removing the necessity for a degree. But many haven’t. Up to 37% of employers still require a degree for these positions that they struggle to fill. Bottomline, the current system is broken.
It’s estimated that by requiring degrees for jobs that don’t necessarily need them, you lose out on up to 15 million candidates! For entry-level and mid-level positions, skills should matter more than a degree.
Consider this: customer service is a highly sought-after skill. You may find your candidates severely lack it when hiring for sales or account management. So have you considered hiring a fast food employee? When it comes to comparing skills, food service workers have a skill set that is 71% comparable to a customer service specialist.
To future-proof your hiring practices, you’ll benefit from a diverse group of employees with a wealth of different experiences.
What Is Skill-Based Hiring?
By now, we know skills are king. But what exactly is skill-based hiring? Skill-based hiring is precisely how it sounds: focusing on the skills of the candidate. Not their degrees or their work history. Or lack thereof!
Instead of dwelling on what your candidate’s done in the past, focus on what they can do for your company right now. Your candidate pool will explode! Many companies have dropped degree requirements and have found an exponential increase in skilled applicants. Since 2019, the share of managers hired without a four-year degree has increased by 20%.
You might be wondering how these diverse, skill-based candidates work out in the long run. According to LinkedIn, employees without 4-year degrees actually stay with the company 34% longer than employees with degrees.
At the end of the day, degrees are nice to have. But they force recruiters to make assumptions about a person’s actual skill set. Focusing narrowly on education only tells you about a person’s past and lacks insight on their dedication to your company’s mission and ability to move projects forward.
4 Sure-Fire Ways To Move Towards A Skill-Based Hiring Approach
1. Start with Your Job Descriptions
Instead of creating a long laundry list of requirements, focus on the skills needed to do the job well. Focus less on “requirements” and more on responsibilities. The best way to determine what skills are needed is to talk with any current employees. Ask them what KPIs they need to hit in order to do their jobs well. Your employees can help inform you further about what a person needs to succeed. Not what looks nice on paper.
2. Get Serious About Assessments
If you don’t currently use a skills assessment in your interviews, now is the time to implement one. Assessments allow candidates to showcase their skills using workplace technology, not just talk about them. When talking to hiring managers, ask them what skills they absolutely want to see highlighted in the assessment.
A coding assessment is an obvious route when hiring a new developer. But you may want a team lead to give a small presentation to learn more about their soft skills. The assessment is up to you, but it can be a powerful tool when hiring for skills. Remember not to make the assessment lengthy, this can prolong the hiring process even more resulting in losing valuable candidates.
3. Don’t Forget About Your Current Employees
When you’re hiring skilled professionals, you’ll get a pulse on what hard and soft skills candidates possess. Take note of any new skills you notice and pass them on to the team you’re hiring for. Reskilling current employees is an excellent way to keep them engaged. Up to 94% of the workforce says they’re willing to stay longer with a company that invests in them – Even if they’re willing to switch to contractual work. Your knowledge as a skill-based hiring professional will keep your current talent happy and engaged!
4. Use Oomple to Find Skilled Professionals
If you’re struggling to find skilled on-demand professionals on a short-term or long-term basis, allow Oomple to step in. When it comes to skill-based hiring, Oomple does precisely that. Easily hire professional freelancers using our platform that matches talent to you based on their skill set. We use data points and Ai to help you find the ideal on-demand professional for your project.
Whether you need an on-demand IT consultant or marketing automation lead, Oomple has the connection you’re looking for. Start hiring in-demand talent and book a call with us!