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Employment & HR

2024 Future Trend - Soft Skills Hiring

Primed Team
20 November 2023 5 minutes

As recruitment challenges linger for many businesses in certain sectors, should we just be looking at the “hard” skills of someone’s educational background and qualifications when it comes to recruiting new employees? Or should there be more emphasis be put on “soft” skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, team working and communication?

It goes without saying that a balance of both makes perfect sense when looking to recruit the right people who are the best fit for your company.

But throughout 2024, we think we’ll see skills-based hiring on the rise, as organisations look to recruit forward-thinking employees at reduced costs, helping businesses get hiring right the first time round whilst also creating a more diverse workforce.

What Is Skill-Based Hiring?

By focusing on specific skills and abilities, rather than qualifications and education, it ensures a much better match between candidates and the role you’re recruiting for. On the whole, recruiters are five times more likely to look for skills over degrees.

Gone are the days where a central focus is on qualifications and which school or university you attended (or didn’t). It no longer makes sense to dismiss applicants because they don’t have the right degree from the “perfect” university. It’s hardly surprising that businesses in several sectors are struggling to fill vacancies or employ the right people when they’re only looking at their education.

With skills-based recruitment, we move away from this limited approach and focus more on what skills are really required for the job, allowing businesses to assess the skills or competencies, with questions or tasks that tease out how well a candidate will perform in the real world of work.

The problem with CVs

CVs are often unreliable because they can exaggerate a candidate’s experience or over-inflate

someone’s skill set. A degree or other qualifications may not accurately reflect a person’s real abilities or tell a prospective employer if someone is likely to perform well in their new job.

When seeking to appoint the right person for a position, their specific training and technical skills should be assessed along with their employability or “soft” skills. You’re more likely to want someone who can communicate their ideas and listen to others, display adaptability, and solve problems.

Such skills are acquired and developed through practice, experience and application, and it is these skills that a prospective employer needs to know about in a skills-based hiring approach.

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How do I run a skills-based interview?

Skills-based interview questions reveal a candidate’s proficiencies in the workplace and differ from a competency-based interview where the focus is on how to do a specific job.

You could ask questions such as:

  • Which 3 words best describe you?
  • What skills or experience will help you succeed in this role?
  • Explain a time when you had a problem at work and say how you resolved it.
  • How do you handle stress and pressure?

The answers can help the prospective employer determine, with both direct and indirect skills-based questions, how adaptable, positive, self-reflective, motivated and reliable someone is and whether they display initiative or good leadership skills, to name a few.

This approach may not just rely on questions but also scenario-based assessments. For instance, you could put the candidate in the middle of a conversation with a difficult person and see how they handle the situation and react.


The benefits of skills-based hiring

It goes without saying that there are so many benefits to hiring the right people who are the best fit for your company. Some skills cannot be taught, or they can take a very long time to develop. Skills-based recruiting tells you pretty much straight away whether someone fits with your values and culture as well as their ability to do the role well.

A growing number of people don’t need a degree to perform their role, so being able to demonstrate interchangeable skills is valuable to any employer.

By considering skills based hiring, you also open up opportunities to a wider recruitment pool.

Skills-based hiring can often result in better quality candidates, helping you to recruit the right person for the role the first time round, saving you time and money of going through the recruitment process again with a whole new set of candidates – and once you’ve got the right person, they’re more likely to stay in your organisation longer.

Therefore, considering both qualifications and skills is combination which can help you choose the right candidate for the job.


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