Skills-based hiring

Welcome to TestGorilla's skills-based hiring hub, where you'll find everything you need to know about skills-based hiring.

A happy woman surrounded by skills-based hiring graphic

Skills-based hiring is not a buzzword

The shift to skills-based hiring is seeing more and more employers hire for skills over education or prior experience. With 76% of employers now using it, the way we recruit is changing for good. The pitfalls of resume-based hiring mean that:

92%

of employers agree that skills-based hiring is better at identifying talent

89%

agree that skills-based hiring is more predictive of on-the-job success

86%

of employees say skills-based hiring is more likely to secure them their dream job

test types

What is skills-based hiring?

Skills-based hiring is defined as any approach to hiring that places a candidate's skills – rather than their education, experience, or background – first. As such, employers use evidence of their candidates' skills to make hiring decisions. According to TestGorilla survey data, 89% of employers acknowledge that skills-based hiring is more predictive of on-the-job success than resumes.

Understanding the shift

The shift to skills-based hiring is seeing employers pivot on what they prioritize during the recruitment process.

From...

Resume-based hiring that prioritizes candidates' education, qualifications, and experience, and is prone to bias and inaccuracies

To...

Skills-based hiring that prioritizes accurately measuring candidates' skills and using this data to make hiring decisions.

The result? Skilled candidates are no longer screened out because they don't have degrees, or because they took an unconventional career path. They are hired for who they are and what they can do.

Read more about skills-based hiring

What is skills-based hiring?

Skills-based hiring is a hiring process where evidence of candidates’ skills, rather than other information such as their prior experience or where they were educated, is used to make hiring decisions. As such, employers set specific skill requirements and then measure for these skills. We’re all about skills-based hiring at TestGorilla, and the rest of the world is finally catching up. Skills-based hiring has had lots of press of late, with big names such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review, CNBC, the BBC, and McKinsey & Company publishing content on the topic.  But what’s the long answer about skills-based hiring? How does it work? And why does it work so well? In this article, we’ll dive into the simple questions (which can have surprisingly nuanced answers) to help you understand the basics of skills-based hiring.

featured image – skills-based hiring is on the rise

Skills-based hiring is on the rise. What does this mean for recruitment?

In case you didn't know yet, skills-based hiring is on the rise. In this article, we’ll use data we collected from 3,000 employers and employees to discuss the rise of skills-based hiring, describe what it means for recruitment, and explain how a skills-based approach can help you make the most of your hiring budget.

10 stories about the power of skills-based hiring

10 inspiring skills-based recruitment stories

We’ve been carefully building a team since TestGorilla launched over two years ago, and today we hired our 100th team member.  We practice what we preach, so every one of our people has been recruited for their skills, using our product. And based on their experiences, we know that skills-based hiring has the power to change lives. In order to share some of that power, we asked 10 team members to talk about their careers before TestGorilla, and their experiences with both CV-based and skills-based hiring. Read on to discover 10 stories that demonstrate why companies need to adopt skills-based hiring.

Read about the science behind skills-based hiring

Revisiting the validity of different hiring tools featured image

Revisiting the validity of different hiring tools: New insights into what works best

Science series materials are brought to you by TestGorilla’s Assessment Team: A group of IO psychology, data science, psychometric experts, and assessment development specialists with a deep understanding of the science behind skills-based hiring. Employers are in the prediction business: They have to predict whether a candidate will be successful in a job based on limited information about their capabilities. To improve the accuracy of these predictions, it helps to prioritize hiring tools (e.g., pre-employment tests and assessments) with good criterion-related validity in order to get the greatest return on your investment.   In this blog post, we discuss recent advances in the assessment field that have reshaped our understanding of effective hiring practices. We give you an overview of recent scientific findings regarding the most predictive hiring tools and provide practical advice on how to use them in your hiring process.

Revisiting the validity of different hiring tools: New insights into what works bet

Revisiting the validity of different hiring tools: New insights into what works best - Part 2

Science series materials are brought to you by TestGorilla’s Assessment Team: A group of IO psychology, data science, psychometric experts and assessment development specialists with a deep understanding of the science behind skills-based hiring. Predicting the future is a difficult task, usually done only by skilled oracles, recruiters, and hiring managers. You read that right. Employers looking to hire top candidates are aiming to predict the future success of a candidate in their role. While there are no fortune tellers to help you make the right hire, there is something even better – strong, empirical science. In our previous blog post on the criterion-related validity of different hiring tools, we reported on and discussed average validity coefficients calculated from numerous studies of different hiring tools and discussed what the results told us about the effectiveness of these tools and what that means for your hiring process. In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into the science and explain how you can use these insights to improve your hiring process.

what is predictor-criterion congruence?

What is predictor-criterion congruence and how can it help me hire successfully?

Science series materials are brought to you by TestGorilla’s Assessment Team: A group of IO psychology, data science, psychometric experts, and assessment development specialists with a deep understanding of the science behind skills-based hiring. In the dynamic world of hiring, finding the right candidate isn't just a stroke of luck – it's a science.  While landing a top performer can feel magical, there is nothing elusive or mystical about the selection process that can help you consistently hire the best candidates. Having a  hiring process that’s relevant to the role you’re hiring for is crucial to identifying top performers. But job relevancy doesn't just happen by accident. So how, exactly, can you ensure it?  In this article, we’ll explore one specific factor that is crucial to building a high-quality, job-relevant, and therefore successful hiring process: predictor-criterion congruence. If you want your hiring process to be job-relevant and predict on-the-job success, predictor-criterion congruence is the name of the game; and we’re here to help you understand and implement it.

Wouter Durville, Co-founder and Chief Executive at TestGorilla

With skills-based hiring, the best talent comes out on top regardless of its background and your unconscious biases, and regardless of the size of your haystack. You can find your needles because they get a chance to shine.

Wouter Durville, CEO at TestGorilla

Frequently asked questions about skills-based hiring

Find answers below to some frequently asked questions about skills-based hiring

The case for skills-based hiring

What's the case for skills-based hiring? Skills-based hiring practices have measurable benefits across five key metrics: Time-to-hire, cost-to-hire, retention, diversity, and number of mis-hires.

5 key benefits

We surveyed 1,500 employers who are using skills-based hiring, and:

74%

reduced hiring costs

82%

reduced time-to-hire

88%

reduced mis-hires

89%

improved retention

84%

improved diversity

Read more about the case for skills-based hiring

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.

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4 reasons employers hire faster with skills-based hiring

It's safe to say that traditional hiring methods aren't saving time for anyone. Job seekers spend hours tweaking resumes, whilst recruiters spend their days sifting through them without gathering any relevant information about what a candidate’s actual skills are.  Skills-based hiring, however, cuts right to the chase. Assessing and hiring for a candidate’s skills by using multi-measure assessments is a proven way to hire faster – in fact, 82% of employers using skills-based hiring told us it reduced their time-to-hire. Read on to find out how to hire faster with skills-based hiring.

Skills-based hiring and lowering costs

Skills-based hiring and lowering costs

Hiring costs add up very quickly if an efficient process is not in place. Traditional hiring methods are bogged down with direct costs, like recruiter fees and the cost of resume screening software, in addition to several other indirect costs that lead to delays in time-to-hire, such as unstructured interviews and candidate ghosting. These practices not only waste time, but they’re also not accurate predictors of a candidate’s future performance. They end up costing even more in the long run when employers have to rehire for the position. Skills-based hiring cuts these costs down to the bare minimum, helping employers to identify top candidates without paying a small fortune in recruitment fees. Our 2023 State of Skills-Based Hiring report found that 74% of employers using skills-based hiring reduce their total cost-to-hire. Read on to learn about reducing hiring costs with skills-based hiring.

The state of skills-based hiring report

Read the State of Skills-Based Hiring Report

In the world's only annual report on skills-based hiring, we deep dive into the revolutionary recruitment trend to find out how employers are leveraging this approach, how it’s affecting candidate experience in the current job market, and what the adoption of skills-based hiring practices means for diversity efforts across organizations.

Watch the Webinar

Is this the end of resumes? Watch our webinar to hear three industry experts discussing skills-based hiring.

The social impact of a skills-based approach

Skills-based hiring has the potential to revolutionize recruitment for the better. In fact, 86% of jobseekers told us they're more likely to land their dream job with skills-based hiring.

75%

of Black employees gained access to new employment opportunities through skills-based hiring

73%

of Asian and Arab employees gained access to new employment opportunities through skills-based hiring

Blogs about the social impact of skills-based hiring

Tear the paper ceiling, open your recruitment process to STARs, and boost diversity and innovation with skills-based hiring.

How skills-based hiring helps STARs tear down the paper ceiling

We know how this headline sounds, but no, this blog post isn’t about helping Dua Lipa start a new career as a warehouse supervisor. The term “STAR” actually stands for “Skilled Through Alternative Routes” and refers to workers who have gained valuable skills outside the now-expected path of a college education. STARs make up 50% of the American workforce, and yet the traditional hiring techniques used by many employers – including resume review and degree requirements – exclude them from roles where they can demonstrate their value.[1] In this blog, we show how opening your recruiting process to STARs with skills-based hiring not only improves their careers, but helps you create more diverse, innovative, and not to mention happier teams. Most importantly, we discuss how skills-based hiring can help tear the paper ceiling.

7 ways to tackle barriers to social mobility at work featured image

7 ways to tackle barriers to social mobility at work

Despite women making up nearly half of the US workforce, they hold only a third of executive roles in the S&P 500. [1] Ethnic minorities are also greatly underrepresented in leadership and executive positions, and there’s hardly any data on how many leaders come from a low socioeconomic background. [2] This information alone highlights that social mobility at work needs some serious work. In fact, only 9% of companies think about it at all in their diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) initiatives. [3] Opportunities for career advancement shouldn’t be reserved for a select few privileged groups. But barriers exist within the world of work that prevent talented individuals from growing and often shut them out before they’ve gotten their foot in the door. Tackling these barriers is key to a more inclusive and equitable workplace – which is beneficial for your employees and your business. In this article, we'll look at these barriers and offer seven actionable strategies to tear them down.

How skills-based hiring can help close the racial wealth gap

How skills-based hiring can help close the racial wealth gap 

The average Black or Hispanic household in the United States earns about half as much as the average White household.[1] This phenomenon, known as the racial wealth gap, embodies racial inequality in the United States, threatening the economic security of the families it affects and the economy as a whole.  The racial wealth gap doesn’t just appear in wage disparities between different racial groups. It also appears in the hiring process.  Most notably, traditional hiring practices (those emphasizing degrees, work experience, and unstructured interviews) are prone to bias and exclude minority groups from many high-paying jobs.  Skills-based hiring overcomes bias by implementing multi-measure testing that focuses on candidates’ skills and potential to add to existing culture – not their race, education, or class background.  This guide explores five ways skills-based hiring eliminates bias to help close the racial wealth gap.

How to implement skills-based hiring

Watch our video about implementing skills-based hiring, dip into the content below, or read our case studies to learn how other companies are doing skills-based hiring.

Implement skills-based hiring in 4 steps

What’s the first rule of hiring? Know what skills you're hiring for. Before you do anything, it's essential to define the skills of your open role so that you know exactly what you're looking for. Conducting a job analysis is a great way to do this.

Blogs about implementing skills-based hiring

Skills-based hiring best practices

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 76% 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.

7 barriers to implementing skills-based hiring in your organization – and how to overcome them

7 challenges employers face when adopting skills-based hiring (and how to overcome them)

A switch to skills-based hiring brings major incentives. Our own research shows that not only is it the norm, with almost three-quarters of businesses already using it, but of those businesses: 74% saw a reduction in cost-to-hire 82% saw a reduction in time-to-hire 84% saw an increase in diversity However, like any transformation, it can’t happen overnight.  To get these big results, you first have to make big changes. You can’t simply swap resumes for personality tests and find motivated candidates right away. In this post, we discuss the barriers that are standing between you and skills-based hiring. These include the roadblocks to prepare for, the systems you need to put in place, and the proper approach to get buy-in from senior executives. First, we need to talk about where resistance to skills-based hiring comes from.

Skills-based hiring and white collar jobs

How to recruit for white-collar jobs using skills-based hiring

White-collar jobs can be really difficult to hire for because the roles and responsibilities of white-collar workers are often a blend of high-level hard and soft skills and experience. This makes tasks and roles can be hard to define. Traditional hiring practices seem to ignore this crucial question by gathering the fluid work responsibilities of white-collar jobs into singular job titles and organizational hierarchies. In other words, they use blue-collar hiring practices for white-collar jobs.  With rapid ongoing changes in technology, consumer behaviors, and employee demands, this overly simplistic view of white-collar work compromises organizational agility, growth, innovation, diversity, and a positive employee experience.[1]  On the other hand, adopting skills-based hiring practices and working models caters to the fluid responsibilities and requirements of white-collar work by centering skills over degrees, resumes, and cover letters during the hiring process.  Let’s take a look at the skills necessary for such jobs before diving into six examples of white-collar jobs and how to hire for them.

By generation

The in-betweeners: How to get millennial hiring right

The in-betweeners: How to get millennial hiring right

No longer the youngest members of a team, millennials today make up the majority of the workforce and most of them say their job is central to their sense of identity.[1]  Despite this, they want a good work-life balance and most would switch jobs if they thought this would give them better career advancement opportunities or greater flexibility. In this article, we take a close look at this highly educated (38% of millennials have degrees) and diverse (45% of American millennials are non-White) group of workers.[2] From the financial concerns that put them off making big life decisions like buying a house or starting a family to high levels of stress at work, we’ll look at how common worries impact their professional lives.  We’ll also list some best practices for how employers can get it right when recruiting millennials and how a skills-based approach to recruitment creates an equitable hiring process.

How talent assessments align with the Gen Z mindset

Hiring Gen Z workers: How talent assessments align with the Gen Z mindset

Millions of job candidates are from Generation Z. In fact, Gen Z is on track to represent about 27% of the workforce by 2025.[1] They are a distinct generational workforce with their own skills, preferences, and needs.  Former recruitment tactics that may have worked on baby boomers, Gen X, and even some millennials can’t be trusted for hiring Gen Z talent.  That’s why employers need to design new hiring processes and recruiting strategies that speak to Gen Z’s concerns about diversity, company culture, technology, and development opportunities.  Talent assessments are a fundamental part of that strategy.  In this article, we cover what Generation Z is, the difficulties with hiring them, the seven ways talent assessments overcome these challenges, and some additional trends you can use to optimize your Gen Z recruitment efforts. 

How skills-based hiring ends ageism and our obsession with age

How skills-based hiring ends ageism and our obsession with age

“You’re overqualified.” “We’re looking for a youthful digital native.” The hiring world is obsessed with age. After decades of linking stereotypes to certain ages, it’s become second nature to assume that younger workers are inexperienced or older workers can’t learn complicated programming. It’s about time we stopped thinking of people as either “too young” or “too old” for a position and started looking at individual skills instead. Is the candidate able to get the job done? Yes? Then hire them. The mission of skills-based hiring practices is precisely that. Assess skills and competencies, reduce bias, and hire the ideal candidate. In this article, we take an in-depth look at how skills-based practices help us end the working world’s obsession with age and take the first important steps to end ageism in the workplace.

Eryn Marshall portrait photo

Skills-based hiring is transformative. It not only ensures an equitable process but can also have the ability to enhance the quality of hires made. When we move past traditional requirements like mandatory college degrees, we empower ourselves as hiring managers. By valuing skills and competencies, we deepen our insight into what a role truly demands, leading to better hiring decisions.

Eryn Marshall, VP of People at Oyster

Read our latest blogs on skills-based hiring

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How to hire with confidence: 5 effective strategies

We’ve all been there – questioning our recruiting decisions and fearing the consequences of mis-hiring.   But today’s landscape has seriously exacerbated hiring anxieties. You’re dealing with a challenging job market that’s riddled with high competition, skills shortages, and more – making recruitment more daunting than ever.  In this article, we show you how to hire with confidence despite all this. We look closely at what’s eroding your confidence and equip you with five simple strategies to h

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8 underrated soft skills and their benefits

For over 100 years, employers have known that the strongest employees possess a variety of soft skills [1]. This is still true today, and employers are increasingly recognizing the need for these skills in their workforces. For instance, in TestGorilla’s 2023 State of Skills-Based Hiring research, 91% of responding employers told us that soft skills are more important now than they were five years ago.  Most companies are familiar with classic soft skills, like time management and communication

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What is a skills-based workforce? The key to future-proofing your business

At TestGorilla, we believe the future of hiring is skills-based. But that’s only the beginning. Organizations wanting to future-proof their workforces shouldn’t stop at skills-based hiring. They must also place skills at the center of building and managing their workforces. This approach creates a culture of continuous learning, adaptability, and innovation throughout your organization, benefiting both the business and your employees.  In this article, we make the case for an approach to hiring

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7 ways to tackle barriers to social mobility at work featured image

7 ways to tackle barriers to social mobility at work

Despite women making up nearly half of the US workforce, they hold only a third of executive roles in the S&P 500. [1] Ethnic minorities are also greatly underrepresented in leadership and executive positions, and there’s hardly any data on how many leaders come from a low socioeconomic background. [2] This information alone highlights that social mobility at work needs some serious work. In fact, only 9% of companies think about it at all in their diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) initia

Read more
skills ontology featured image

Why you should use a skills ontology: The foundation of strategic, skills-based hiring

In a recent Gartner survey of HR managers, 47% admitted they didn’t know what skills gaps existed in their current workforce. [1]  This finding is surprising given this information's crucial role in effective recruitment, strategic workforce management, and succession planning. It’s even more astonishing considering there’s a dedicated tool designed to help organizations understand their workforce’s skills: skills ontologies.  Some organizations dismiss skills ontologies as overly complex, acade

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featured image of 3 novel strategies for crafting inclusive job listings

3 novel strategies for crafting inclusive job listings

Inclusive job listings are an essential first step to creating a diverse workforce, which studies show leads to greater innovation and problem-solving, reduced turnover, and better overall financial performance. They’re also the best way to ensure you’re not unintentionally driving away ideal candidates.  Of course, inclusive job listings are nothing new. But as society evolves and we learn more about social inequities, companies must adopt new approaches to inclusivity, grounded in authenticity

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What these 5 US states can teach us about 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

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What businesses can learn from skills based hiring trends in Asia Pacific

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,

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Fast-growing companies need fast recruitment: 6 efficient hiring solutions

Fast-growing companies need fast recruitment: 6 efficient hiring solutions

Sure, scaling fast is a “good problem to have.” But it can also quickly become your worst nightmare. When your company is experiencing a growth spurt, you may not have the workforce needed to meet escalating business demands. You’ll need more employees ASAP – and not hiring fast enough could mean losing business, damaging customer trust, and angering investors.  However, the pressures of fast recruitment can also lead to rushed decision-making and mis-hiring. This then disrupts growth, stifles r

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Hire faster and better with skills-first hiring featured image

Hire faster and better with skills-first hiring

Ask any recruiter about the importance of skills and they would say it’s one of (if not the most) important factors when selecting a candidate. However, in traditional hiring, skills assessments come a lot later in the process than resume screening.  And indeed, for decades, candidate selection has been synonymous with resume screening. Evaluating resumes and looking at degrees, job titles, and years of experience have been the cornerstones of the selection process. However, if that’s your way o

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How job crafting benefits your organization and employees

After a few years at your company, business development representative (BDR) Alisha isn't feeling fully satisfied with her current role. However, she appreciates the company culture, values her colleagues, and believes in the company's mission.  Alisha wants to stay within the company but would love for her role to align more closely with her passions and strengths: being a good networker and relationship builder. While being a BDR offers elements of that, she’s not loving the regular rejection

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Do DE&I quotas still work? Pros, cons, controversies – and solutions

After onboarding Antonio, your newest tech hire, you're excited to report to your leadership team that you're one step closer to fulfilling your company's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) quota. It’s part of a push to make your organization more diverse in light of growing awareness of the positive impact on innovation, employee morale, and overall business success. However, after a few weeks on the job, you notice Antonio's skills on paper don't match his expertise in real life. He’s str

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