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Adnan Sami Khan

Adnan is a staff writer at TestGorilla. He is an experienced digital marketer who has crafted content across various industries, including healthcare, data services, finance, and real estate. As an accounting graduate, he is a firm believer in skills-based hiring and its power to change candidates’ lives.

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How skills-based hiring delivers what job candidates want in 2023

Job candidates are putting their desires front and center when searching for a new job in 2023.  In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation, keeping track of what job candidates want out of their employer and career is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. Gone are the days when candidates would bend over backward to fill out job applications, endlessly tweak their resumes, and sit through round after round of interviews.  Candidates want a speedy hiring process, remote work opportunities, learning and development, and fair pay. The good news? Employers who make these accommodations aren’t taking a hit. They’re building stronger organizations.  Skills-based hiring offers significant business benefits to employers and helps them stay ahead of the competition regarding candidates’ desires.  This guide explains what candidates have wanted, no longer want, and will want in the future from their employers, and it gives you insight into how skills-based hiring helps employers deliver on these wants.

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How the focus on skills in hiring is driving the degree “reset” – and where universities go from here

One of the most controversial calls to action of skills-based hiring is for employers to ditch the typical requirement for a university degree and tear the paper ceiling.  Four-year degree requirements have been around for what feels like forever, but they’re not a good predictor of job success. An analysis of 26 million job postings found that college graduates had lower levels of engagement at work and a higher rate of turnover.[1] Even highly technical skills like data science don’t necessarily require a university degree to learn them.  Instead, more and more organizations are turning to skills tests to identify candidates who are qualified regardless of their educational background.  Our own State of Skills Based Hiring 2022 report found that 76% of companies are already reaping the benefits of skills-based hiring, with 89.8% seeing a decrease in cost-to-hire, 91.4% seeing a decrease in time-to-hire, and 92.5% seeing a reduction in mis-hires. This is part of an overall shift known as the “degree reset.” But what role does skills-based hiring really have in this reset, and where do universities go from here? In this blog, we discuss the role that universities have played in hiring up until now and how we see that changing in the coming decades.

How skills-based hiring can change the way we view retention and internal mobility

Career progression is, understandably, front-of-mind for employees when evaluating whether to stay with their current employer or search elsewhere. In 2022, more than a third of workers said that they planned to ask for a raise in the coming year.[1]  Many workers are not afraid to take drastic actions if their raise is withheld or unsatisfactory.  There’s a common belief among workforces that when it comes to career progression, “the only way up is out.” If employees want to ascend to a position that utilizes their leadership skills, they expect to have better luck finding one outside of their organization than inside it. This attitude persists because many employers are of a similar opinion. Losing talented employees because they weren’t offered opportunities to progress is viewed as inevitable, with glass-half-full employers seeing it as an opportunity to take on a fresh new hire. To some, overly ambitious employees may be seen as “disruptive” to the business’s operations. Therefore, letting that talent go would be considered beneficial in the long run. However, this blasé attitude to employee retention and internal mobility isn’t sustainable. It comes at a cost to your business and could be hindering your growth. In this blog, we look at the state of employee retention in 2023 and how skills-based hiring can help transform this “only way up is out” attitude among both employers and employees.

How skills-based hiring is transforming entry-level hiring

Entry-level jobs are historically difficult to fill, with 41% of recruiters reporting that they are the hardest positions to hire for.[1] Although many employers blame entry-level talent shortages, the real culprit is traditional hiring methods that aren’t optimized to locate and retain entry-level talent. Outdated practices like cover letters, resumes, and inflating the worth of degrees disregard workers who may have little to no experience but have the skills to succeed. The result is a hiring catch-22: Candidates need experience to get a job, but they need a job to get experience.  This isn’t just a nightmare for job-seekers. It severely limits an employer's talent pool, leading them to miss out on diverse candidates with fresh perspectives. Skills-based hiring levels the playing field by opening up entry-level positions to any skilled candidate, regardless of their background. Read on to discover how candidates and employers alike can benefit from skills-based entry-level hiring.

Skills-based hiring in the healthcare industry

The healthcare industry is one of the largest in the US. The market size was valued at $359.2bn in 2022 and is projected to reach $781.5bn by 2030.[1] This massive industry is currently facing a massive talent gap. Thousands of healthcare workers are leaving the industry, and too few are coming in. This means the healthcare sector needs to attract talent, stay competitive, improve working conditions, and retain top employees. It’s certainly a tall order, but there’s a solid solution to each of these issues. Let’s take a look at the current state of the healthcare industry and how skills-based hiring helps fill talent gaps, hire better candidates, and retain workers.

What’s causing inequality in STEM, and is skills-based hiring the solution?

It’s well-known that STEM industries – industries under the umbrella of science, technology, engineering, and math – are some of the least diverse industries out there. Despite that the skills needed for a software engineer are not inherent to any race, gender, or other demographic categories, 93% of professional developers are men, more than 40% are White, and more than 98% do not have a disability.[1]  Given that more than 90% of organizations that switched to skills-based hiring in 2022 saw an increase in diversity, it’s understandable for STEM leaders to consider skills-based hiring as an antidote – but can it work? This blog explores the different diversity issues plaguing STEM industries and how skills-based hiring can help.

5 business benefits of skills-based hiring

Skills-based hiring requires hiring managers to break from traditional recruitment practices and adopt a new mindset. But as well as being a fairer way to identify and reward the right candidates – and spot the warning signs of a bad hire – it brings tangible business benefits to your organization. Through accurate insights into how well a candidate’s skills match a particular role, employers can reduce hiring costs and build a more engaged and productive team. In this article, we’ll explore the business benefits of employing people based on their ability with key findings from our State of Skills-Based Hiring report – and look at how companies can move to this model.

Skills-based success: 10 recruiting case studies

The working world has been turned on its head with the pandemic, the Great Reshuffle, and the resulting skills shortage. Companies are searching for a powerful, sustainable way to recruit and retain talent, and 81% of them are now opting for skills-based hiring practices. Skills-based recruitment practices are for everyone. Don’t believe us? We've put together 10 recruiting case studies that demonstrate how different individuals, industries, and regions have successfully implemented skills-based hiring.

Skills-based hiring is the latest US hiring trend – and these 5 states are getting it right

States across the US are implementing a skills-based approach to hiring and rewriting the rules to traditional hiring practices.  Instead of evaluating candidates on their education and background, they’re going in search of diverse talent who have the skills needed for the job. This opens up opportunities to people who might miss out because they’ve been skilled through alternative routes (STARs) or don’t have a degree. However, not all states are created equal in their approaches to hiring and progress.  In this piece, we look at how five US states are adopting skills-based hiring and what you can learn from them to attract the best talent for your own business.

11 best hiring practices

A good hiring process helps you attract and secure the best candidates for your open roles, but traditional methods just aren’t cutting it anymore – 87% of employers are having difficulties with resumes, although 82% still use them to hire. In this blog, you'll find 11 best hiring practices to follow so you can identify skills and start filling positions effectively and efficiently.

How to prepare job descriptions for a skills-based hiring approach

Nearly every role starts with a good job description. It’s there to display job responsibilities, cover important skills, and attract the right applicants. Job descriptions prepare candidates for success and reduce the chance of mis-hires. But how are they different when you take a skills-based approach to hiring? Skills-based job descriptions focus on skills and responsibilities, avoid listing unnecessary degree requirements, and promote learning and upskilling. Skills-based hiring is the future of hiring, with 76% of companies using it. If you’re considering making the switch from traditional to skills-based hiring, then you need to know how to write skills-based job descriptions. Let’s discuss what differentiates a skills-based job description, how they attract better candidates, and our top tips for writing a job description focused on skills. As a bonus, we’ve included a detailed skills-based job description template at the end of the article.

How to prevent candidates from cheating on applications

White fonting – aka “the small white word trick” – is the practice of stuffing resumes with relevant keywords in white font. This means they get picked up by resume screening tools but can’t be seen by humans.  While it’s not new, white fonting has gained in popularity recently thanks to TikTok influencers claiming it’ll help you get noticed.  Unfortunately, it’s not the only “black hat” trick candidates use to game the system. At best, these tactics erode trust and waste time and resources. At worst, they might result in you making a bad hire.  In this post, we’ll look at six ways candidates cheat on applications and why. We’ll also explore how you can guard against cheating, including by switching to fairer hiring practices. 

The data on why employers are hiring people based on skills

At a time when great talent comes at a significant premium employers are realizing that they need tools to assess candidates’ skills more quickly and reliably. Unfortunately, resumes are prone to bias, difficult to evaluate objectively, and often lead to inaccurate hiring decisions. That's why many organizations are now choosing to hire people based on their skills rather their education or experience. By making the switch to skills-based hiring employers can drastically reduce their time and cost-to-hire, significantly improve their cost-to-hire, and ensure their recruitment process offers an equal chance to applicants from every background. The outstanding outcomes has led organizations across the globe to integrate this approach into their hiring process. Data from our recent State of Skills-Based Hiring report shows that 73% of employers are now using some form of skills-based hiring. Its benefits extend to employees as well. Those recruited through skills-based hiring are far more likely to gain access to so-called "dream opportunities" that are ideally suited to their passions and abilities. As a result, these individuals are happier, more effective, and stay longer in their roles. Let's take a closer look at the numbers to examine the wide-reaching impact of skills-based hiring across workforces.

7 innovative ways to use the data you collect during skills assessments

Working with data is becoming more common in HR roles – not just in hiring but in learning and development, too. “People analytics” or “talent analytics” has been used for all sorts of purposes.  For example, Google analyzed employee performance reviews and feedback surveys to understand what made an effective manager and then used this understanding to “build a better boss.”[1] One of the richest sources of data for HR leaders is skills testing, both at the hiring stage and when developing your workforce. In this blog, we discuss the most innovative ways you can use data to develop your workforce. But first, what data does skills testing give you to work with?

How to use skills-based hiring for effectively recruiting and managing contingent workers

National Disability Independence Day: Best practices for hiring people with a learning disability

July 26 is National Disability Independence Day, which commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990. The Act ensures people with disabilities are treated fairly and have the same professional opportunities as everyone else. It also gives them the same access to places like restaurants and stores, as well as to transportation and government services.  People with learning disabilities have the ability to work, excel in their jobs, and be as productive as their peers. They can contribute effectively to the team and often demonstrate loyalty and dedication, which can significantly reduce staff turnover.  Moreover, having individuals with learning disabilities as part of your team can also have a positive impact on staff morale. This leads to an environment of inclusivity and boosts overall team spirit.  However, regardless of the ADA and its positive impact on company culture and employee retention, the unemployment rate of people with learning disabilities is twice as high as those without. [1] In this piece, we’ll look at the advantages of hiring people with learning disabilities and some best practices to follow. We’ll also examine how skills-based hiring can help create a diverse and inclusive culture, with a management team that has the skills to get the best out of employees with learning disabilities.

Here’s why inclusivity is a growth engine for more than just businesses

We’d all like to believe we live in a meritocracy – that the right person gets hired for the job, and all it takes for them to rise through the ranks is proving their leadership skills. Unfortunately, that’s rarely how it works. Systemic inequality means many qualified applicants don’t even make it through the screening processes for most jobs, and decisions about internal promotions are frequently affected by unconscious bias. It’s obvious that valuable potential is wasted by this system and that capturing that potential can result in benefits for businesses.  But the benefits of inclusivity in the workplace don’t end at your bottom line.  Creating a more inclusive workplace can bring us closer to a more inclusive society.  In this blog, we take you through what inclusivity is, the obstacles to inclusivity in business, and how businesses can commit to inclusive practices. Let’s start by talking about the difference between diversity and inclusion.

Skills-based hiring and the rise of new-collar workers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, blue-collar and nontraditional workers learned a variety of in-demand digital and technical skills without receiving a formal education. This has led to the rise of a new classification of employees, known as new-collar workers.  The dynamic skill sets that these workers possess are an invaluable asset in the modern age. But traditional hiring practices don’t take full advantage of this new skilled workforce because they rely too heavily on outdated requirements, like only hiring candidates with degrees.  On the other hand, skills-based hiring attracts and retains blue-collar, white-collar, and new-collar workers to grow organizations and develop individual careers.  This strategy focuses on what candidates are capable of now and what they will be capable of years from now.  That’s one of the reasons why skills-based hiring is the future of employment.  It’s a data-backed, multi-measure assessment process that fits like a glove with the new-collar job market because candidates can show their skills instead of their education history.  This article looks at what new-collar jobs are, how they got here, and the best practices to follow when hiring new-collar workers.

Skills vs. experience: What matters more for hiring?

10 best practices to adopt skills-based recruitment and selection processes

Our 2023 State of Skills-Based Hiring report reveals that both hiring teams and candidates are increasingly dissatisfied with ineffective and unfair traditional recruitment practices.  But hiring methods are changing. We found that 81% of companies are already embracing skills-based hiring. The best part? Candidates hired in this way are happier in their roles, stay longer, and perform better. We know skills-based hiring increases hiring ROI while reducing time-to-hire and employee churn. But we’re no strangers to its challenges either since we practice what we preach in our own organization. That’s why we’ve put together 10 best practices to help you get started with skills-based recruitment and selection.

The truth about degree requirements: The roles you need them for – and the ones you don’t

Degree requirements are one of the aspects of traditional hiring that employers find the most difficult to throw out. And hey, we understand why.  They’ve been around for years, they make the screening process quicker and (seemingly) easier, and many advanced skills that employers expect only come from university study, like advanced accounting. However, many employers are now throwing out these old tools in favor of data-driven methods, like skills-based hiring.  What is the truth about degree requirements, then?  Are they useful screening tools, or are they an obstacle to making the right hire? Is there even a place for them in modern hiring? In this blog, we answer these questions and more, breaking down which jobs do require degree training – and which ones don’t. Let’s start by discussing what employers look for when they ask for a degree when hiring.

The skills an organization needs as the world changes: How to stay ahead of the curve

Skills are shifting and changing at an unprecedented rate due to the rise of AI and the lasting impact of the pandemic. These events have caused massive challenges for HR professionals that require the proper know-how to navigate. When the skills needed for a job change, it starts a vicious cycle of hiring new people and laying off others with obsolete skills. This is costly and damaging to your brand image. So, what’s the ideal recruitment strategy to keep your organization agile and workforce stable when skill requirements keep changing? The best plan of action is assessing an employee’s future potential, upskilling and reskilling where necessary, and focusing on skills over education and experience. Whether you’re hiring externally or reskilling internally, the key point is to have the right skills inside your organization to succeed in a dynamic environment. This article discusses how businesses can stay ahead of the curve over the next decade, which skills to focus on when hiring, and how to structure a future-proof recruitment strategy.

Is skills-based hiring the latest APAC hiring trend?

The global skills shortage is ongoing.  Many skilled workers are being turned away by employers because of a lack of formal education or experience on their resumes.  Many employers are not offering workers learning and development opportunities even though 45% of workers say they would stay at their company longer if it invested in their growth.[1] Skills-based hiring is a proven strategy to locate, retain, and develop skilled workers. In fact, our report, the State of Skills-Based Hiring 2023, found that 73% of employers globally are using skills-based hiring to identify talent. But do Asian-Pacific (APAC) countries, where the bulk of the world’s working population lives, fit into this?  This article dives into the current skills-based hiring situation in prominent APAC countries to explore how companies are adapting, the role that governments play, and the cultural and social factors that are driving (or preventing) the benefits of skills-based hiring.  Finally, we’ll take a look at how skills-based hiring can fill the gaps that the majority of APAC economies are experiencing and the lessons the rest of the world can learn.  “APAC” can be an ambiguous term, so in this article, we’ll use it to refer to East and Southeast Asian countries as well as Oceania.

Are CVs the best tool for hiring? Here’s what the data says

Ever heard the one about the purple squirrel?  A recruiter puts out a job advertisement with an exhaustive list of “must-haves,” including educational qualifications and required experience. A few days later, a resume that ticks all the boxes lands in the applicant pool.  The candidate in question aces the interviews and accepts the first salary offer without hesitation. After a week, the open position is closed, the recruiter gets a hefty commission, and the new hire goes on to exceed all expectations.  If this story seems unbelievable, that’s because it is. Unfortunately, purple squirrels don’t exist in the real world, whether in the wild or the workplace. This is why hiring processes focusing on CV screening often face problems.  Of course, as a company built on scientifically sound assessments, we wanted to bring in some data to back up these ideas. So, we asked our audience, and they came back with some interesting insights, which we'll share with you in just a moment. But first...

How skills-based organizations increase their agility and become more adaptable

We live in strange times, with what seems like a “once-in-a-lifetime event” occurring every few months.  Market conditions, hiring practices, and the working landscape itself are constantly shifting. This means that organizations need agility and flexibility to properly respond. Companies need processes and people that are ready to solve problems and take on sudden challenges with a healthy mindset and plan. Skills-based organizations are companies that put skills first when hiring, developing talent, and making decisions – and they’re built for agility. Skills-based practices are more than an effective hiring strategy, and organizations with a skills-first mindset are more ready to adapt to sudden changes. In a skills-first organization, employees aren’t restricted to rigid roles, cultures are inclusive and safe, and learning and trying new things are essential. In this article, we discuss organizational agility and the importance of adapting to events and disruptions, as well as the top four reasons why skills-based organizations are more flexible and agile than a standard company.

The role of personality, attitude, and motivation in skills-based hiring

When it comes to recruiting, most hiring managers take one of two approaches: Hire the person with the best skills, experience, and education (if relevant) for the position Hire the person with the best attitude, drive, and personality for the company  There are merits to either approach, and you can build a highly successful company by prioritizing one or the other. But which is the best approach? And are the two really at odds with one another? Or can we build a hiring process that looks at both aspects of each applicant to gain a holistic view of what they can bring to the table? In this guide, we explore the role of personality, attitude, and motivation in recruitment and how they interact with a skills-based hiring approach built around skills assessments.

The barriers trans people face in the workplace as candidates and employees

We’ve spoken about the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, although few companies make targeted efforts to specifically improve the experience of transgender candidates and employees. Nearly 30% of transgender people are not in the workforce and are twice as likely as cisgender people to be unemployed.[1] This employment gap is startling, and it stems from many damaging issues that the trans community faces every day at work, including dangerous harassment, a shocking wage gap, and intense mental stressors, including depression and anxiety. If organizations want to include trans applicants in their DEI initiatives, they must address these issues and create a safe, inclusive company culture. This article discusses the many barriers that trans people face before and after hiring and how you can adopt positive best practices to improve the process. We also discuss the disappointing lack of research on this disadvantaged community and how this damages diversity efforts and support.

The top 7 things that hiring experts and recruiters need to stop saying

There are plenty of common phrases that recruiters rely on during the hiring process. Some people may even call them “tried and true.” These phrases include things like “Degrees are required” or “You don’t ‘fit’ our culture.”  Sound familiar? Unfortunately, these phrases may be standard, but they’re much more damaging than they seem. For candidates, they exclude countless individuals and harbor unconscious biases. For employers, they narrow the talent pool and could even lead to costly mis-hires. After all, do these phrases have anything to do with a candidate’s ability to do intermediate accounting? This article delves into these problematic phrases, why recruiters say them, and how detrimental they can be to employers and candidates alike. We also go over how skills-based hiring practices skirt this issue entirely so you don’t have to find the “right” phrase.

The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2024

Adnan helped author our annual skills-based hiring report. Check it out here!