Shift to a Skills-Based Approach When Hiring

companies are starting to be more intentional about hiring for a candidate’s future potential, not their past history. But it’ll be a long road. Our traditional recruiting processes still place an emphasis on certain types of education, experience, or personal referrals that can lead to a homogenous workforce.

Start by rethinking your job descriptions. Focus on 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.

Of course, the job post is one of the earliest steps in your hiring process. Once you’ve removed unnecessary barriers to entry, you’ll still need a skills-based way to assess candidates and find your finalists. If you’re looking beyond education and experience, what should you evaluate?

Stay focused on skills — and the assessments that can measure them. From hard skill evaluations like coding tests, to innovative soft skill assessments, to “job auditions,” there are plenty of ways to gauge a candidate’s ability to perform without relying on their education or experience as proxies. Even asking unexpected interview questions can let you see how a candidate processes information and problem-solves in real time. It’s also never too early to discuss learning commitments during interviews with candidates — it may even make you more attractive as an employer.

The payoff? A wider, more diverse talent pool and perhaps stronger retention.

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