How to Recruit Based on Skills, Not Degrees4 min read

Ali Neill / February 10, 2023
Category : Recruitment
Caption: How to Recruit Based on Skills, Not Degrees4 min read

Skill-based hiring has been on the rise in the recent past. Employers are refocusing their hiring on formal education qualifications and looking at practical skills instead. With this approach, companies are able to bring on board hires that are not only work ready, but also the right fit for the company culture. Further, this brings other benefits such as a wider talent pool, filling positions faster, greater diversity, and higher employee retention. If you want to change the way you recruit, you are probably wondering how to get started. In this article, we analyze several practices that you can adopt for effective skill-based hiring to find the right candidates for the job and company culture.  

Change how you write job ads to recruit skills

When focusing on skill-based hiring, it makes sense for your job ads reflect that. Move away from the traditional job ads that include degrees and even filter based on education. Instead list the responsibilities that the successful candidates will have to undertake. Additionally, focus on the desired results for each role. You can, for instance, list the KPIs for the role in the job description or talk about the company community. Remember also that you are hiring for the company culture fit. That means that, in addition to skills required for the role, you can include soft skills that match your company culture such as empathy, teamwork, work ethic, communication, and more.

To get the job ads right, you want to start first by identifying the skills required for the open roles as well as those that fit the company culture.

 Invest in AI-based recruiting tools

Screening candidates manually can be overwhelming, especially when you receive applications in large numbers. You need to invest in the right recruitment tools to make the work easier and to ensure that you are shortlisting candidates based on their skills. This is where AI-based recruitment tools prove valuable. You can use artificial intelligence to mask out educational qualifications, employment background, and experience, to screen resumes for skills only. In addition, you can use AI in video interviews, especially when assessing the soft skills of candidates. AI algorithms can be trained to assess things like facial expressions, word choices and speech patterns to determine if the candidates fit with the company culture.

Use skill-based assessments

After shortlisting candidates, you can use various assessments to increase your confidence in their abilities. However, you need to make sure that you are focusing on skills rather than other qualifications. Based on the skills identified for each role and the company culture, you can design your own internal pre-employment assessments. A good place to start is job knowledge tests where you test candidates on their ability to complete tasks. For instance, if you are hiring a copywriter, you can have them write a blog. Other tests you can include are personality tests and emotional intelligence tests. These can be great for assessing if the candidates fit the company culture.

Hire through a professional

Recruiting can be tiring and time-consuming. Actually, scratch that: recruiting is ALWAYS tiring and time-consuming. But, you can bypass that by outsourcing the process to a professional. Experts such as an employer of record have the resources and the expertise to handle a high number of applicants. They are also knowledgeable in conducting interviews and doing background checks to match you with candidates that are fit for the job and the culture. Moreover, if you are hiring internationally, an EOR can act as the employer of record so you don’t have to set up a legal entity to operate. However, it is important to evaluate a few professional EOR service providers before making a choice. This way, you can be sure that you are working with a reliable and cost-efficient provider.

Ask for referrals

Referrals are effective in finding candidates that are fit for the company. If you ask your employees to refer people for the job, they are most likely to bring people who are like them – people they get along well with and that they may have met in another context. These are people who can probably fit right into the company culture. Moreover, your employees could be members of professional communities where they network with other professionals in their niche. In a way, they are doing the job of a recruiter just by reaching out to people like themselves. They could be well aware of individuals who have the required skills for the open roles. For example, you could share a teaching position with your staff and maybe they also teach in other schools and therefore know other teachers who could be looking for extra hours.


Skill-based hiring brings about various benefits to an organization. Removing the obstacle of degrees and other qualifications paves the way for a wider candidate pool and increased opportunities for diversity among other benefits. However, you need to employ the best strategies for effective hiring. You need to redesign your approach. They include rewriting job descriptions, using effective tools, using skill-based assessments and asking for referrals. Additionally, you can find outside help for the process.

Author: Ali Neill

As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.

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