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Three Strategies Businesses Can Adopt for Successful Skills-Based Hiring

By Prangya Pandab - November 02, 2022 4 Mins Read

Employers, particularly in the IT industry, sometimes lack the understanding of how to leverage skills-based hiring, which is one reason why it has taken so long to catch on.

Employers are increasingly turning to skill-based hiring methods as they deal with the ongoing “Great Reshuffle” and the growing popularity of educational options outside of the college setting.

A rising number of businesses are adopting alternative ways of determining job readiness and removing college degree requirements from job adverts, particularly for managerial and IT positions.

However, many companies still rely heavily on a bachelor’s degree when making hiring decisions. Despite having the necessary skills to thrive in those roles, millions of people continue to be excluded from job opportunities due to the invisible barrier that employees face without a bachelor’s degree at every turn. Even some of the vocal proponents of innovative hiring practices still have ways to go when it comes to making skills the top priority in their own hiring procedures.

What is the cause of this hesitation to implement skills-based hiring? Although there is a lot of enthusiasm for the approach in principle, putting it into practice is difficult. Here are three things to keep in mind for companies intrigued by the possibility of skills-based hiring but unsure how to proceed.

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Determine the Areas Where Technology Can and Cannot Help

A recruiting manager already has to spend a lot of time sorting through hundreds of applicants. Anyone would feel overwhelmed by reviewing dozens of different skills to match them to a job. The good news is that emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and others can handle challenging tasks. Finding the ideal balance still requires knowing precisely which challenging tasks can be performed by technology and which calls for a human component.

Massive volumes of labor market data can now be analyzed by AI systems to learn, for instance, how a certain role may map to a skill set. However, the best methods for skills-based hiring are intentional in their use of technology, which works best when backed by human expertise. Companies can employ analytical tools to perform time-consuming activities more quickly, such as identifying qualified individuals and determining the right skills. These tools shouldn’t, however, take the place of humans or function as an automatic filtering system. Training on the importance of skills-based recruiting and how to properly incorporate it into candidate evaluations is crucial for talent leaders and hiring managers.

Look Out for Bias 

By undertaking the labor-intensive task of matching candidates’ talents to those needed for roles, technology can ease some of the strain on hiring managers when it comes to skills-based hiring.

Any AI-driven process carries the risk of bias, which is magnified in an industry with a track record of discriminatory practices. A common data source for skills-based hiring algorithms is past job changes. However, because that often frequently reflects the degree preferences of employers, it is easy for algorithms to reinforce the very inequalities that skills-based hiring is meant to solve. An approach that combines data practices with people practices is the most effective way to address this problem. Age, ethnicity, race, and gender are some examples of protected factors that should not be included in skills-based recruiting algorithms because they are known to cause bias. However, data that has no context can introduce bias; therefore, companies must ensure to assess the model for bias using both human judgment and mathematical analysis.

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Establish Clear Objectives and Measure Progress

Any technology investment might be doomed by two factors: a lack of clarity over what the investment should yield and a failure to eliminate obstacles and enable people to leverage the technology.

It takes multiple groups working together from top to bottom to realize the ROI of skills-based hiring. Executive leadership needs to set the vision, hold the company accountable, incentivize progress toward milestones, and, most significantly, explicitly approve hiring based on skills rather than just degrees. Additionally, it necessitates including practitioners to tailor and refine job descriptions to emphasize specific skills, relying on technology to create a baseline and fill in any gaps as necessary. With that kind of assistance, talent leaders can proactively screen applicants and search for particular competencies in their applicant pools.

These ideas can have a revolutionary impact when both companies and employees put them into practice.

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AUTHOR

Prangya Pandab

Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.

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