How Recruiters Can Evaluate Candidates With a Skills-Based Lens

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Not only has the hiring landscape changed for job seekers, but it’s also changed for hiring managers and recruiters on the business side. When managers are deciding their approach on whether or not a candidate is a right fit for a job, traditional talent management standards like college degrees or past employment experience are no longer the only applicable qualifications to consider. Instead, when searching for qualified talent, recruiters must emphasize the candidates’ skills

Skills-based hiring has become the new norm in many cases, as more organizations shift their hiring strategies to evaluate the hard and soft skills a candidate brings to the table instead of focusing on the institution they earned a degree from or the companies they previously worked for.

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for prospective employees who can back up the specific knowledge and skills they possess that help them thrive in their role and contribute to the organization’s overall success. Employers want candidates with verifiable skills and a demonstrated track record of upskilling and reskilling to sustain growth into the future and eventually transition into more challenging positions in the company. 

As the hiring landscape further evolves into a skills-based market, recruiters must change how they look at potential candidates. Here are three ways to find the right talent in a skill-centric market.

Seek Candidates With Digital Credentials 

In this era of skills-based hiring, recruiters and managers need a new way to identify and understand candidates’ qualifications. Traditional academic degrees cover a wide range of knowledge that might not always apply to the particular position the candidate is applying for.

Tools like digital credentials act as a source of truth for what a person knows, allowing hiring teams to uncover whether a candidate has the knowledge and skills to perform in the role successfully.  

Digital credentials simplify and speed up the hiring process for managers and recruiters to pinpoint precisely how the candidate can contribute to the company. Above all, digital credentials are a valuable asset in determining top talent because they are not self-reported.

Unlike resumes, which require little third-party validation, digital credentials offer data-intensive training proof that the candidate is qualified.

Clearly Understand and Communicate Which Skills Are Essential 

To ensure a positive hiring experience for everyone involved, it’s essential that recruiters first understand what skills are necessary for specific roles and, second, communicate expectations of skills to job seekers interested in those positions.

Hiring managers can ease the process by preparing the expectations for skills ahead of time, which starts with a comprehensive list of required skills for each role. By deep-diving into their talent management approach and the necessary skills for certain positions, recruiters can better identify the best candidates for a job and streamline the hiring process. 

In addition to preparing internally, recruiters should also prepare candidates looking for a career change by compiling valuable resources, such as tools for a successful interview, and setting clear expectations of skills in the job descriptions.

Prepping candidates so they’re able to put their best foot forward not only saves their time but also makes the hiring process easier for hiring managers and recruiters. Aligning a candidate with a role based on their ability to learn, adapt, and use their unique skill set leads to a better candidate match. 

Emphasize Skills-Based Resumes

With all of the changes in the hiring landscape, there is one aspect that remains consistent: the resume. Resumes are still an essential tool for hiring managers and recruiters. They continue to be the most common way for candidates to connect with recruiters.

But this doesn’t mean the traditional resume template isn’t in desperate need of a refresh. To adapt to the shift in the market, recruiters and hiring managers should emphasize skills instead of a traditional resume layout that lists prior job experience in chronological order and leaves little room to highlight competencies and abilities. 

Recruiters have an opportunity to encourage candidates to construct resumes that lead with an outline of their skills and training, highlighting their verified skills, digital credentials, and any other resources that showcase what they can do and how it relates to the position at hand versus simply what they have done in the past.

Recruiters should encourage potential candidates to highlight specific technical skills that best support the particular job while also identifying soft skills like leadership, time management, and communication relevant to the role. By incorporating a skills-based approach into the application process, recruiters and hiring teams have the opportunity to emphasize their approach to skills-based hiring. 

In today’s job market, recruiters must adjust their talent management expectations and prioritize referencing skills, training, and applicable knowledge ahead of a candidate’s work experience and academic degree.

The hiring landscape is changing and so should hiring teams’ focus. By navigating the hiring process with a skills-based lens, recruiters can successfully identify which candidates will be the best fit for a role every time.

Jarin Schmidt is the Chief Experience Officer of Credly.


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By Jarin Schmidt