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Right Hire, Right Now: How Skills-Based Hiring Gets You the Perfect Fit

With innovative technologies and processes, the landscape of work is constantly changing, pushing companies to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. Furthermore, new jobs are emerging as companies strive to stay competitive.

Considering these shifts, what can you do to keep up? The key is to future-proof your workforce by using skills-based hiring.


From Traditional to Skills-First

Historically, employers relied on evaluating candidates based on their qualifications and experiences. By tailoring job posts, they are able to find people who meet the criteria. Some of these include the following:

  • Higher educational attainment.
  • Certificates and credibility in the field.
  • Years of job experience related to the role.

While this method is widely used even today, this job-based hiring approach has limitations. As technology continues to grow, so do the roles attached to them. Knowing a specific programming language is no longer enough since new tools continue to develop over time.


What Is Skills-Based Hiring?

Simply put, skills-based hiring is a strategic approach that focuses on identifying and assessing the specific skills needed for a role to be filled.

Instead of heavily emphasizing someone’s credentials and expertise, skills-based hiring identifies the critical competencies needed for the role and uses them as criteria. This method focuses on the idea that skills are transferable.

For example, a candidate’s experience as a customer service provider may have helped them develop critical thinking and communication skills. These can be useful when navigating new roles like project management. Even without the proper training and knowledge in the field, their acquired skills will compensate and allow them to succeed in their roles.

Leaders who adopt skills-based hiring acknowledge that individuals can build on their current expertise. This is why it’s crucial to identify the actual skills needed instead of judging candidates based on arbitrary qualifications.


What Are the Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring?

The skills-based hiring approach is gaining traction because of the benefits it brings to organizations. The following are some examples of the advantages you can enjoy when you adopt a skills-based recruitment:


1. Improved job fit.

When employers focus on the skills needed for the role, they are more likely to find people who can meet the demands and responsibilities of the position.

Test Gorilla shares their survey and found that 88 percent of companies that use a skills-based approach have fewer bad hires, up to 50 percent.¹ This suggests that deciding based on a candidate’s hard and soft skills could help you find the right fit for the job.

Furthermore, 66 percent of recruitment managers claimed they can see the potential of candidate success based on a professional’s skills rather than their work experiences.


2. Reduced hiring time and cost.

Besides helping you find the right people, skills-based hiring can also reduce the time and cost associated with the recruitment process.

In the same study, 82 percent of organizations implementing this modern method reduced their total time-to-hire.¹ Meanwhile, 70 percent observed reduced costs after adopting a skills-based hiring process.

Since these qualified candidates have mastered the basic skills needed for the role, you can also reduce your training budget and allot it to the other functions of the business. While these candidates would still require more technical know-how, their past experiences have already honed their abilities, allowing them to learn quickly and efficiently.


3. Broader candidate pool.

Skills-based hiring opens your door to a broader talent pool. By prioritizing skills over credentials, your company can tap into a wider network of candidates.

For example, removing the qualification related to educational attainment can allow you to reach people who have acquired their expertise through other means. Whether it’s through self-study or alternative educational paths, you’re able to consider more people. This increases your chances of finding the right fit for the job.


4. Increased diversity and inclusivity.

Aside from expanding your options, a skills-based hiring process can promote diversity and inclusivity within your organization. This is because focusing entirely on filling your skills gap removes the chances of biased criteria. Based on the same test, about 75 percent of minorities gain access to better opportunities through this method, including Asians, Arabs, and African Americans.

These statistics prove that skill-first acquisition can help you build a more inclusive workforce. It ensures that the biases and personal opinions of hiring managers won’t affect hiring choices since there are clear criteria to follow.


5. Adaptable to changing needs.

With constant changes and improvement in every industry, adaptability and flexibility are the keys to success. Lucky for you, skills-based hiring ensures that your workforce is filled with professionals with transferable skills who excel at adapting to new environments.

Moreover, as job roles and responsibilities shift in response to changing demands, filling operational gaps becomes easier since you can easily identify the skills your company needs.

Understanding the skills your organization needs to succeed can also contribute to an increase in employee retention. Instead of investing in continuous hiring, you can pool your efforts to upskill your workforce.


Steps to Shift to Skills-Based Talent Acquisition

With all the benefits of adopting a skills-based hiring process, you may wonder how exactly you can do it. The best way to execute skills-based hiring is to focus on every part of the process.

To help you become more flexible and adaptable with the future of work, the following are some steps you can take to shift to skill-first acquisition:


1. Identify Necessary Skills and Competencies

The best way to implement skills-based hiring is to identify what skills and competencies you need for each of your roles. It will be difficult to transition if you view a job superficially.

For example, the role of a programmer needs more than knowledge about the latest computer languages. They also need to be detail-oriented and solve problems quickly.

  • Engage with subject matter experts, managers, and top performers to define the essential skills for the role.
  • Analyze specific tasks and responsibilities that come with the job.
  • Ask yourself, “What do you think your potential employee would need to finish their tasks?”


2. Revise Your Job Postings

Once you’ve identified the needed competencies, you must review what candidates see. This includes editing your job posts and titles.

  • Use straightforward titles.
  • Avoid lengthy positions.
  • Describe the nature and function of the job.

Do the same thing for the job description. Don’t include general roles. Instead, highlight the important skills and capabilities you’re looking for. You can also include labels such as “Must-haves” and “Nice-to-haves” so that candidates know what they’ll need for the job.


3. Design Specific Skills Assessments

Identifying the competencies isn’t enough. You must also design an effective way to assess whether your candidates possess what you’re looking for.

To accurately evaluate your candidates’ skills and abilities, you need to create assessments tailored to the competencies you’re searching for. These assessments may include practical tests, coding challenges, case studies, or simulations that allow candidates to demonstrate their proficiency. You can also leverage specific interview questions to evaluate the soft skills of professionals.


4. Train Hiring Managers

Transitioning to skills-based hiring can be a sudden change for managers who’ve used the traditional method in the past. So, to ensure a successful shift, take the time to train your recruitment managers about how to hire using a skills-first approach.

Provide comprehensive training on the principles and practices of skills-based hiring. Include how to evaluate candidates and what they must look for to identify the best fit. You can also guide them in conducting effective soft and hard skills assessments to determine the best candidates.


5. Learn the Right Time to Fire

Analyze market trends and identify which roles and skills will most likely be needed to accomplish your long-term objectives. Once you’re finished, review the roles in your company to find the positions that should be removed.

Although it may seem like a drastic option, it’s necessary to determine the right time to let go of your professionals. It can help you stay adaptable and competitive within your industry while allowing your previous employees to take on more relevant and lasting roles. Remember that firing doesn’t always mean contract termination. It can also focus on upskilling and reskilling your people towards more future-proof responsibilities.



Founded in 1985, Corporate Job Bank is a leader in the staffing industry that aims to match clients with talented individuals. We put emphasis on filling your workforce with passionate professionals who are good at what they do.

If you’re looking for a partner to broaden your talent pool access, look no further. Contact us today to learn more!



  1. “The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2023.” TestGorilla, 2023, www.testgorilla.com/skills-based-hiring/state-of-skills-based-hiring-2023/.

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