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Should You Hire Based on Skills or Experience?

With another half million jobs added to the U.S. employment rolls in July, and amid a dearth of applicants for jobs, hiring managers are changing the way they recruit talent. Traditionally, they have pored over resumes, checking them for qualifying education and experience. Today, however, artificial intelligence-based application reviewers, combined with applicant testing that can confirm whether a candidate has the skills for a particular job, are causing hiring managers to look at the process in a different light. It all begs the question: should you hire based on skills or experience?

When Skills Stand Out

Hiring managers often find they need to fill a position quickly, and with the advent of AI-based recruitment, they can now turn to skills-based assessments to determine if an applicant is right for a position. Sixteen percent of companies have even dropped degree requirements for jobs, looking instead to candidates who have completed skills “boot camps,” or self-study programs.

For example, a hiring manager is trying to fill a coding position. One applicant’s resume lists two years of experience coding in a language similar to the employer’s desired language. The applicant has worked on similar projects, so it can be assumed that they’re capable of working within a team environment. A second candidate has completed a boot camp specific to the desired language, but has no experience. Today’s hiring manager may take a second look at the coder who has taken the initiative to learn on their own time and can demonstrate knowledge of the language, knowing that it’s easier and less time-consuming to train an employee how to work as part of a team than it is to build their technical proficiencies.

Evaluating ‘Soft Skills’

Skills-based assessments aren’t just being used for professional jobs, such as programming and accounting positions. They are also being used to evaluate so-called “soft skills” for positions in customer service, retail and hospitality. Candidates are asked to take assessments that present hypothetical customer service scenarios that help evaluate an applicant’s ability to work under pressure and provide excellent customer service.

Other soft skills that companies want to evaluate include communication, project management and time management. Hiring websites like Indeed.com offer assessments for these skills, and applicants can complete these assessments in addition to submitting a resume for consideration. Hiring Managers can also ask behavioral interview questions during the hiring process to get assess the soft skills needed for the position they’re hiring for.

The PeopleCaddie Difference

Whichever way you lean when evaluating a candidate for a particular role – determining whether you should hire based on skills or experience – PeopleCaddie can help. Each candidate in our PeopleCaddie independent contractor network is vetted by a human, not just a machine. Candidates’ project experience and skills are evaluated by experienced hiring managers and can be explained in nuanced detail to any interested employer. Candidates are also reviewed by engagement: Those companies that have employed contractors through PeopleCaddie can rate and leave feedback on their skills and the employers’ experience with them.

In an employment economy that continues to be a job seeker’s market, hiring managers may find it necessary to bend or reconsider their traditional hiring criteria. And whereas employers once found certain degrees and experience levels to be essential, bare-minimum qualifications for a job candidate, a single skills class may, in some cases, elevate a less educated and experienced applicant over others in the eyes of a hiring manager.

PeopleCaddie is attracting the next generation of employees to its talent cloud. Find out how we can help you hire highly-skilled contractors for your open roles.

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