Hire for Skills, Not Degrees: A Guide to Skills-Based Hiring

Recruiters and hiring managers are ditching traditional hiring filters such as degree, job title, etc. for skills. What's driving this and how can you implement skill-based hiring at your company?

Share This Post

The shortage of highly skilled talents continues to rise, but it’s not because there’s a lack of talent in the market. It’s because our hiring approaches aren’t adequate enough to find them. Traditional hiring filters, such as a required degree, job title, industry-specific work history, or years of experience, can significantly limit the pool of potential candidates, preventing organizations from accessing valuable talent.

That’s where a skills-based hiring approach comes in! Rather than relying solely on a candidate’s academic credentials and previous work history, the skills-based hiring approach emphasizes practical, hands-on evaluations of a candidate’s capabilities. In fact, removing the degree requirement alone can expand the candidate pool by 37%.

Over the last 3 years, the use of skills filters on LinkedIn has grown by 25%, indicating a rising trend among recruiters to prioritize skills when searching for candidates. In this blog post, we’ll explore why adopting a skills-based hiring approach can benefit your organization and provide practical tips for its implementation.

Why Are Companies Shifting to Skills-Based Hiring?

Skills-based hiring has emerged as a response to the challenges of a rapidly changing job market, where new technological advancements are creating roles that require specific and often rare skills. A report by McKinsey & Company revealed that 87% of companies face or expect to face skill gaps within a few years.

The shift towards skills-based hiring is also fueled by new generations entering the workforce, such as Millennials and Gen Z, who place a higher value on career growth and job satisfaction than job security. A recent study found that 74% of Millennials and Gen Z employees are likely to leave their current jobs within the next year due to a lack of opportunities for skills development.

Growing awareness of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) also makes skills-based hiring an attractive approach as it can be used as a tool to reduce bias in the hiring process and create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

What Are the Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring?

By prioritizing skills and competencies, employers can gain access to a vast pool of talented individuals who may not qualify for positions based on traditional job requirements.


Job-seekers may not always be aware of how their skills honed in one profession can be transferred to another, while employers may miss out on valuable talents by narrowly focusing on traditional job requirements. Skills-based hiring allows hiring managers to discover skills beyond the surface level in order to identify core competencies.


Hiring the wrong person can be costly. According to research, the estimated cost of a bad hire ranges from five to 27 times the amount of the person’s actual salary. However, by identifying candidates with the specific skills needed for a job, companies can avoid the need to hire additional employees or rehire for the same role, decreasing their costs. Additionally, hiring candidates based on their skills and potential can lead to higher job satisfaction and employee retention rates, as candidates are more likely to be placed in roles that align with their abilities and interests.

How to Shift to Skills-Based Hiring?
Shifting to a skills-based hiring approach can be a game-changer for organizations looking to effectively attract and retain talent. However, making this change requires a deliberate effort and a willingness to challenge traditional hiring practices. To help recruiters and/or hiring managers get started with skills-based hiring, we have outlined several steps that can be taken to make the transition easier.

Understand the essential skills, knowledge, and attributes necessary for a position to accurately evaluate a candidate’s suitability. It’s important to determine which skills can be acquired through on-the-job training and those which cannot. This will help to focus on hiring candidates who possess a strong foundation of essential skills and competencies.



Focus on the skills required for the role to create an effective skills-based job description. Be sure to highlight learning and development opportunities available to candidates, as well as potential career paths and growth opportunities within the company. According to a recent report by LinkedIn, job postings that emphasize responsibilities over requirements receive 14% more applications, suggesting that candidates prioritize the potential for skills development and growth within a role, rather than feeling constricted by a set of qualifications. 



Adjust your ATS filtering to fully embrace a skills-based hiring process. By modifying your ATS filtering to align with a skills-based approach, you can more accurately identify the most qualified candidates for the role based on their demonstrated skills and experiences. 



Provide assessments to evaluate candidates’ skills and abilities, while reducing bias and increasing objectivity of the hiring process. Different types of assessments can be used to assess various skills, from technical proficiency to personality traits and situational judgement.



Finally, continue or start to offer upskilling and reskilling opportunities for employees through learning and development programs in order to develop and enhance their skills. By taking these steps into consideration, you can successfully start implementing a skills-based hiring approach that attracts and retains talent while ensuring the right skills are matched to the right roles.


Assessing Skill Sets via Futurepath

Assessing the skills of employees is a vital practice not only during the hiring process but also throughout their tenure with the company. Regular skills assessments help to identify skills gaps, areas where additional training and development may be necessary, and opportunities for upskilling and reskilling. This leads to a more skilled and productive workforce, while also making employees feel valued and invested in by their employer. To unlock the full potential of your team, schedule a meeting with our experienced team today and explore our comprehensive range of assessment solutions.

Schedule a call

More to explore