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3 Reasons to Start Hiring for Skills Instead of Resumes

For all of our working lives, it’s been expected of us to produce a resume when we apply for a new job. This has traditionally been the way that employers can compare prospective employees against each other based on their education, previous employment and areas of specialism. It’s long been understood that the candidate who went to the best college, with years of experience in the industry, would be the one who secured the role.

But what if those limitations were removed, and employers didn’t have to know which school you went to, or how long you worked at your last company? What if the ideal employee was selected based on their skills and expertise above all else?

Lots of employers are turning to this hiring method, and for good reason. Choosing an employee because they went to a prestigious university doesn’t guarantee they manage their time, work well in a team, or produce better work than someone who didn’t have higher education.

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Here’s the top reasons you should hire for skills and do away with the old-fashioned resume.

1) Create a More Diverse Workforce

Hiring based on university attendance and previous top-job experience automatically excludes people with the skills you need who haven’t yet gained qualifications or experience for reasons unrelated to the position you want to fill.

For example, you might be looking for someone who is highly creative; and this skill can be found in many people who couldn’t afford to go to university. You might be searching for a great communicator; and this isn’t limited to people who have had a job in your sector before.

By not requesting a resume and setting a simple quiz or assessment for applicants instead, you can accurately determine if they hold the skills you require without needing to know whether they have had a salaried job before.

This removes the ‘glass ceiling’ that women, people from low-income backgrounds and people of colour routinely come across. Hiring for skills results in an infinitely more diverse workforce – people who are from different backgrounds with different experiences, who might have had financial or other obstacles in their way of gaining qualifications and jobs in the past.

2) Eliminate Your Bias  

Everyone has their own subjective views, but there are ways around falling into their traps. Blind hiring is a process in which you shortlist candidates without knowing their name, education or work experience.

This is important because humans naturally gravitate towards people who are like them – people they can relate to and understand. This means you’re likely to subconsciously prefer those who are from the place you grew up, who studied the same subjects at school as you did, and who have the same ideals as you.

It’s important to remember that this doesn’t create the best workforce. A great team is one that comprises of a variety of skills and values, and people who have strengths to counteract others’ weaknesses. Hiring a team from diverse backgrounds with a host of unique skills will create one that solves problems and generates creativity, leading to success.

3) Increase Your Applicant Pool

Job advertisements that demand a resume, cover letter, 2 years’ experience and portfolio of work instantly put off people who are looking to start their careers – which is a huge talent pool your hiring team is missing out on.

Putting out an open advert for people with a list of skills you require, and no other limiting stipulations, is a recipe for bringing in tonnes of enthusiastic applications. Putting arbitrary barriers in the way of potential employees reduces your talent pool significantly.

Stating that the job is only open to those who have worked in your industry before, or who have already attained a high level of employment, means that you contribute to the reinforcement of the glass ceiling. This means the existing employment structure is replicated – one that caters to the already wealthy and educated, and disadvantages those who could easily be your best workers but don’t fulfil the usual standards.   

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