How to build up a skill based hiring process?

Here are the 4 steps that can help you to easily build up a skill based hiring process for your organization.

How to build up a skill based hiring process

Table of Contents

In a 2017 report,, researchers from Harvard Business School, Accenture, and Grads of Life discovered that in the United States alone, 6 million middle-skills jobs were at risk of “degree inflation” — the practice of requiring or preferring a college degree for jobs previously held by people without one. This not only created unnecessary barriers to entry for countless skilled job seekers but also made it harder for companies to hire, with two-thirds of employers struggling to fill these roles.

In the years since that study was released, numerous companies have dropped the degree requirement, and many more say they are at least open to hiring candidates with alternative credentials, such as an industry-recognized certification. But these measures don’t necessarily address the underlying issue of how to accurately assess the core skills and competencies that degrees and similarly arbitrary requirements were being used as proxies for.

1. Defining the Job position (transferable skills for the role) - it is the first step to create your skill based hiring process.

While hiring candidates based on their skills you should look for job positions with high volume. High volume jobs will be more appropriate for the candidates applying different skills and abilities. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with looking at roles in recruiting, sales development, and customer service. These fields often attract people from a wide range of professional backgrounds, including those making major career transitions, meaning that past experience in the field often isn’t necessary — it’s the skills that matter.

2. Identifying required skills and abilities for the role - is your second step to develop a skill based hiring process.

Since many companies have previously relied on proxies like education or past work experience to signal that a candidate was capable of performing a job, you may need to conduct a thorough analysis of your chosen position before you can build accurate skills assessments around it.

Partner with managers and individuals on the team you’re hiring for to understand important work behaviors for the role. You can then break these behaviors down into the core building blocks — including hard skills, soft skills, and technical knowledge — before separating them into essential and preferred qualifications.

When you have a complete list, show it to other subject matter experts at the company to validate it. Taking this extra step can help you ensure you’re testing for the right skills — before you put too much time into developing your soft skill assessments.

3. Analyzing the pros and cons - it is your third important step to make the hiring process easier and skillful.

When it comes time to begin building your process, there are many different avenues you can take.

To minimize the potential for false positives or negatives (such as a candidate choosing answers at random or misreading one of the prompts), set out to have several different questions testing for any given competency. Try a two-pronged approach, backing up the questions with a video assessment where candidates were asked to discuss how they would handle a particular situation with a customer. The idea was that this would provide yet more data points about the candidate’s suitability for the role, winning over any hiring managers with doubts about interviewing someone from a nontraditional background. It also helped to account for the fact that candidates may be better at some types of tests than others.

Another consideration to keep in mind is the time commitment required from candidates. If your assessment is built into the application process, communicate what will be involved in the job description or on the first page of the application to let candidates know to set the appropriate amount of time aside. A lengthy assessment that comes out of nowhere is likely to make the dropout rate spike.

At the same time, it may be best to avoid timed assessments that force candidates to complete tasks quickly. When designing the process, keep in mind time-bound assessments may eliminate capable candidates, such as those who need longer to read and process questions, which went against the goal of making access to opportunity more equitable.

We weren’t evaluating them on their test-taking abilities, we were testing them on their skills.

4. Final step

Skills-based hiring can help companies recruit talent from a wide range of backgrounds, allowing them to enjoy all the benefits that different experiences and perspectives can bring. With this being a relatively new approach, however, it will likely take time to develop or identify the right assessments and get all stakeholders at your company on board.

Be thorough when it comes to testing your assessment, and gather plenty of evidence to prove that it works. When your leaders, hiring managers, and recruiting teams see that your assessments can help them quickly and accurately pinpoint exceptional talent, they’ll soon be fans of the approach.

The traditional ways of recruiting could be really limiting. This is something that we can add in to find qualified hires efficiently, even as we remove some of the other ways we used to make decisions.

Was this helpful? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like

Send a request

Tell us what you would like to read

Know someone who'd be a great addition to the Techywhiz team?

Fill out the form below to link your name and your referral.

New job requirements are added each day! Even if we do not have a current requirement that matches the individual’s criteria, we may be able to find a position at a later time.