How to manage the shift to skills-based hiring and talent development

Employers are increasingly shifting to skills-based hiring. There’s a widening acceptance that it’s a candidate’s skills, rather than their academic qualifications, that determine suitability for (and success at) particular roles. While this approach in no way belittles the value of academic qualifications, it recognises that some people – often from historically overlooked groups – have attained the necessary skills on the job.


According to Forbes, a skills-based approach impacts every step of the talent journey, from hiring to retention and advancement. Please read on for a summary of the recommendations it makes to help companies transition to a skills-based approach:


Use skills-based job descriptions that don’t reference degrees or years of experience in your job adverts. Make it clear on your website that your company favours relevant skills over academic qualifications.


Expand your sourcing channels to include training organisations (including local colleges) that run courses for the skills that your organisation needs.


Make a list of the skills that are essential for the role from day one, and a list of those which can be learnt on the job or through training. Use both lists to help assess candidate suitability.


Have diverse interviewing teams to help eliminate bias in the hiring process.


Invest in your employees’ career development to boost retention levels. Revisit the list of skills you created during the hiring process and use it to identify the upskilling needs of your new recruits. Develop training programmes accordingly. This exercise also helps set goals for career advancement.


Promote a skills-based culture. Convince your business leaders to champion the cause, promoting the benefits of this approach to hiring and career development, and the value of the associated tools and processes. If your leaders are behind you, it’ll be easier to secure buy-in company-wide and secure a sufficient, carefully considered budget too.


Do you agree with the above recommendations? We’d love to hear your views on the subject. And, if you would like any help recruiting excellent, highly-skilled candidates for your open vacancies, please get in touch. With a vast pool of top talent on our books, we can quickly source perfect-fit professionals for all your exact requirements. Please email us at or call us on 020 7092 3939 to discuss!