Elevate Your Workforce with Skills-Based Hiring

By Emily Loberto

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Across industries, incredible candidates are often overlooked simply because they do not have the right degree or job title to be selected by evaluation algorithms. Meanwhile, businesses are scrambling to find talent to fill vacant roles as their current workforce jumps to other opportunities. In light of this challenge, an increasing number of organizations are shifting to skills-based hiring. But what is this new hiring model and how can it benefit your organization?  

What is Skills-Based Hiring?

Skills-based hiring helps talent teams zero in on the abilities, knowledge, and specific experience an employee needs to succeed in a particular role and de-emphasizes focus on past employment history and other factors that do not correlate with performance. Skills-based organizations move away from using jobs as the defining structure and instead centralize the importance of skills.  

When your talent pool is selected based on the skills needed by your organization, you increase your chances of finding the best fit for each role. 

But Why Skills-Based Hiring?

For decades, recruiters have emphasized work experience on a resume as the ultimate predictor of success, but this is no longer an effective evaluation method. In fact, Harvard Business Review found that there is no significant correlation between a candidate's prior work experience and their performance in a new organization.  

Skills-based hiring reduces this discrepancy by looking beyond a candidate’s resume and emphasizing the value they can bring to your organization instead. This approach removes people from the narrowly defined boxes of job titles and allows them to shine based on their unique skill sets and capabilities.  

This model thereby enables you to screen the right people in, opening your talent pool beyond the usual suspects. Shifting to skills-based hiring opens the door to thousands of talented candidates who would not have been previously considered, elevating your teams and setting them up to flourish.

The Rise of Soft-Skills

See, as technological development accelerates, so does the speed at which hard skills become obsolete. According to WorkTech's George LaRocque, 100% of the existing hard skills for today's jobs could completely change by 2030. This means hard skills are becoming less and less relevant when selecting the best candidate. A workforce based purely on hard skills will experience sharp declines in performance year after year as those skills' shelf lives quickly expire. 

Of course, there are hard skills that are essential to specific roles (you wouldn't hire a CFO unfamiliar with Excel, after all) but most skills deemed necessary on a job application are irrelevant to whether a candidate would succeed in a given role. 

This is why many skills-based organizations have adopted a new measure for success: soft skills. In a skills-based hiring scenario, every position is matched with a unique set of soft skills that connect to the needs and demands of a role. Candidates are then assessed, not by their years of experience but rather how their innate abilities shine within the role. According to Plum research, hiring this way is four times more predictive of success than a resume. 

Soft skills are far more adaptive than hard skills, and as roles change, they remain steady predictors of how an employee will respond to different challenges. These skills are an innate part of each individual and help showcase their ability to effectively communicate with their team members, make decisions under pressure, respond positively to change, and more. Compared to many hard skills, these skill sets will always be relevant. 

Making the Move to Skills-Based Hiring

And the benefits of implementing skills-based hiring into your organization stretch far beyond the increased ability to bring talented people into your workforce. Organizations that are in tune with the skills of their people can adapt more rapidly to environmental changes. When employees have an accessible profile of skills, they can be moved to roles where they will have the greatest impact amid organizational restructuring and will have a clear picture of where their strengths lie. 

Skills-based hiring also helps to develop an inclusive talent pool. Up to 97% of hiring managers rely on their intuition when making recruiting decisions, which opens the door for bias to creep in and create a workforce lacking depth and diversity. By focusing on soft skills, managers introduce an objective set of criteria into the selection process, reducing the possibility of biased hiring practices.  

Additionally, skills-based organizations allow employees to take charge of their development path, which boosts retention and employee engagement. One of the leading causes of turnover is a lack of growth and development opportunities, and skills-based hiring combats this by giving team members a clear picture of what skills they can develop to provide the most value in their roles.

Plum Defines Soft Skills 

Soft skills are incredibly valuable to recruiters but aren't nearly as accessible as hard skills and experience. How would you measure a candidate's adaptiveness, teamwork, or decision-making abilities? Until recently, you couldn't - unless you were willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a consultation from an I/O psychologist.   

Plum has democratized access to this data, making it affordable and scalable to implement throughout your organization. With a simple 25-minute assessment, you can tap into the soft skills your candidates and employees possess and see how they align with roles across your organization.   

Talk to one of our experts today to unlock your team's full potential: