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5 companies using skills-based hiring to elevate their workforce


As a hiring manager, you know the heartbreak of looking at a candidate’s resume with high hopes, only to onboard them and realize they’re not right for the role. 

The shift to remote or hybrid work, and the ongoing battle for talent, means organizations today can’t afford to rely on traditional hiring practices, which emphasize experience and education. This can lead to mis-hires or quick employee turnaround. 

Fortunately, some companies are adopting equal-opportunity hiring practices that identify and reward the right candidates based on their skills and expertise. 

Based on our State of Skills-Based Hiring Report, 92.5% of organizations that use skills-based hiring are already seeing a reduction in mis-hires. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through five companies that have implemented skills-based hiring to level up the quality of their talent, bringing consistency and alignment across roles and teams.

5 companies that have used skills-based hiring to transform their business

5 companies that have used skills-based hiring to transform their business

Skills-based hiring helps you find the best talent for your open positions by focusing on people’s skills instead of their connections, education, or experience. It also removes the unreliability and bias found in resume-based hiring, as candidates often under or over-sell themselves and can get penalized for a lack of education, their age, gender, or ethnicity. 

By basing a candidate’s value on the skills they bring to the table instead of their self-proclaimed work history, you can create an inclusive and diverse workforce. And, you can drastically improve business outcomes. 

According to our 2022 State of Skills-Based Hiring report, companies using skills-based hiring are experiencing astonishing advancements in four key metrics: 

  • 92.5% of them have reduced mis-hires

  • 91.4% of them have reduced total time-to-hire

  • 89.8% of them have reduced total cost-to-hire

  • 91.2% of them have increased employee retention

Emma McFetridge, the talent acquisition partner at Bazaarvoice, says: “Skills-based hiring has reduced our number of mis-hires. When we haven’t completed something like an assessment, we’ve noticed that what candidates have said is not really the truth, or they’re not as skilled as they say.”

Companies can implement skills-based hiring in a variety of different ways and mix and match test types and templates like take-home tests, whiteboard tests, and cognitive assessments to meet their specific hiring needs. 

Below, we explore 5 real-world examples of companies that have implemented skills-based hiring. By getting a taste of the different approaches available, you’ll find out how to begin your own skills-based hiring strategy.

1. Google

Google uses assessments to test candidates for skills-based job roles, but they also use resumes. When a candidate first applies, they get instructions asking them to reflect on their achievements and everything they’ve learned up until their decision to apply. They’re then prompted to edit their resume and skills to match the specific job post they’re applying for. 

Google doesn’t require candidates to have a college degree or discriminate against candidates with a criminal record. Instead, they follow a skills-based approach that emphasizes crucial skill sets—like coding skills—over a candidate’s background. 

However, Google still scans resumes for keywords to spot potentially great candidates who don’t stand out in the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This lets them expand their search to candidates who might be a good fit without relying solely on an algorithm.

If you’re a match, you get called back for a series of in-depth interviews. This is where the skills-based assessments and techniques really begin. Google asks candidates to complete: 

  • Online skills assessments for measuring role-specific hard or soft skills (i.e coding or leadership skills)

  • Take-home project work like prepping a case study or providing writing or code samples 

These skills-based projects and quizzes help Google better understand a candidate’s potential value, whether they can deliver on the role’s requirements, and how they would act in a real-world situation.

It’s worth noting that Google doesn’t get its approach 100% right. Candidates complain that rounds of rigorous interviews and an interminable screening process frustrate interviewees and deter them from applying.  

What you can learn from Google’s hiring process: 

  • If you require a resume, ask candidates for blind resumes that keep all their personal information private to reduce hiring bias. 

  • Use a turnkey solution to automate skills-based hiring from the beginning of your hiring process. Screen more candidates and evaluate them based on their skills and proficiency without relying on their resumes.

2. Revolut

Revolut is a world leader in financial services. It helps close the gap between modern fintech and traditional banking by creating a single app to do everything from opening a bank account to trading stocks and cryptocurrencies. 

To help it hire top-performing, multi-lingual teams, Revolut needed to revolutionize the way it assessed candidates’ language skills. In the past, hiring managers had to manually check written language assignments as well as evaluate verbal assessments, which was a significant drain on resources.  

But by adopting a skills-based approach, Revolut achieved one of the main business benefits of skills-based hiring and improved its time-to-hire by 40%. It was also able to:

  • Quickly administer language proficiency tests spanning languages and levels

  • Automate the screening process and evaluate more candidates 

  • Objectively screen candidates 

  • Improve candidate quality 

What you can learn from Revolut’s hiring process: 

  • Adopt a skills-based approach to hiring from the beginning of your hiring process.

  • Use a pre-employment test platform to create a high-quality screening process based on your business needs. 

3. Catalyte

Catalyte is an employer solution that develops high-functioning and cost-effective technology workforces for employers. 

The company decided to ditch its 100-year-old practice of using resumes in favor of skills-based hiring and early skills identification. In doing so, they’ve been able to focus on the aptitude of candidates instead of their previous experience, education, or connections.

Since adopting skills-based hiring, Catalyte has seen skills-based teams outperform traditionally sourced teams – with skills-based teams having stronger problem-solving and innovation skills. 

Catalyte was also able to eliminate the cost of “just-in-time” hires or last-minute hires. This put an end to their need to pay extra for, or negotiate with, candidates who hit all the right success markers.  

What you can learn from Catalyte’s hiring process: 

  • Challenge age-old practices to redefine the markers of candidate success – and get more diverse, inclusive teams. 

  • Reduce costs with skills-based hiring by reducing employee turnover and mis-hires. 

4. Steelcase 

Steelcase is a global office furniture brand that scrapped its traditional hiring practices to better reflect the diversity found in its Michigan-based communities. 

It redesigned its talent acquisition strategy by: 

  • Creating HR positions specifically for sourcing diverse talent

  • Deeply understanding skilled-based hiring best practices

  • Revamping job postings to eliminate biased language

  • Developing a playbook for diverse hiring practices and a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy

As a result of prioritizing skills-based, inclusive hiring practices, Steelcase was able to expand candidate pools and see a 30% increase in ethnic minority hires and a 2% increase in female hires. 

What you can learn from Steelcase’s hiring process: 

  • Large and small organizations can implement skills-based hiring – and improve workplace culture-adds, not culture-fits. 

  • A pre-employment screening platform can help you conduct candidate reviews and assessments when you are recruiting from a large pool. It also measures your progress on occupational mobility initiatives. When you replace resumes with skills-based tests you widen your applicant pool to include people who would otherwise be filtered out so you’re not interviewing the same candidates over and over again.

5. IBM

Global technology giant IBM is committed to a skills-based approach to hiring. Spearheaded by Obed Louissaint, the senior vice president of transformation and culture, IBM seeks to prioritize in-demand skills over specific degrees. 

IBM encourages skills-based hiring by: 

  • Opening 50% of job postings to people with the right skills

  • Consistently re-evaluating the skills required to fit open positions

  • Reviewing job postings to focus on skills 

  • Creating a category of “new collar” jobs, where having the right skills matter more than college degrees 

  • Administering skills-based assessments to fill those positions 

  • Being open about the challenges and solutions of skills-based hiring 

Skills-based hiring helps IBM bridge the gap between skillset-applicant mismatch. This is relevant since two-thirds of Americans don’t have a degree and find themselves automatically disqualified from the 70% of jobs ads that require one. 

After noticing a lack of applicants for the IBM Cybersecurity team, IBM used skills-based hiring to get more applicants with skills in cybersecurity. The result was an increase in candidate diversity, employee retention, and performance, – which has motivated their skills-based approach since. 

What you can learn from IBM’s hiring process: 

  • Re-inventing your hiring pipeline requires wrap-around support from talent and hiring managers. 

  • Using skills-based tests helps to shift organizational success markers like credentials and degrees to skills – and convince stakeholders of their benefits. 

Skills-based hiring: A more equitable way to recruit 

Today, basing a candidate’s full potential on their resume won’t help you win in the war for talent. Traditional hiring methods are held back by outdated markers of candidate success – like educational background, experience, or connections.

Instead, organizations need to go beyond conventional or biased recruitment practices to attract, hire, and retain a skilled and diverse workforce. 

One way companies can do this is by adopting skills-based hiring practices, which involve testing candidates’ soft and hard skills before they begin interviewing. When you evaluate candidates by their skills and aptitude, you level the playing field – giving opportunities to those you might have overlooked. 

Want a more diverse and skilled workforce? 

Skills-based hiring prevents skillset-applicant mismatch – so you can find the best talent.  

Download the report to learn more.


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