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How to Get Hiring Managers On Board with Skills-Based Hiring

In today’s rapidly evolving job market where talent shortages are rife, the approach to hiring is undergoing a significant transformation. Skills-based hiring, a methodology that prioritizes a candidate’s specific abilities and competencies over traditional qualifications like degrees, years of experience, and career paths, is at the forefront of this change.

You might be asking the question, why now? But given how many new roles require very specific skill sets, the immense rise in tech and automation, the need for more diversity and inclusion, and the rapidly changing needs of both companies and employees, skills-based hiring is the only answer! According to ManPower for example, skills based hiring is 5X more likely to predict future job performance than education based hiring.

However, despite its growing popularity and proven benefits, many hiring managers remain hesitant to adopt this approach, often preferring the comfort of conventional recruitment methods. This article aims to shed light on the advantages of skills-based hiring and offer practical strategies for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals to encourage its adoption among hiring managers.

Skills-based hiring

Understanding the Benefits of Skills-Based Hiring

The first step in advocating for skills-based hiring is to highlight its numerous benefits! Given that traditional hiring represents a more well trodden path, you need to be able to show the ROI of a different approach. As SocialTalent CEO Johnny Campbell states: “skills-first hiring isn’t a silver bullet. It requires more effort, more rigor, and more time.” So you need to be able to sell this methodology.

  1. Enhanced Efficiency and Reduced Costs: Skills-based hiring leads to more accurate job matches, significantly reducing mis-hires (88%) which then helps with lowering overall hiring costs​​​​. And we all know the cost of a bad hire… 
  2. Improved Employee Retention: Companies employing this method will see a boost in retention rates, which is crucial in today’s competitive talent market​​. As Indeed states: “when employees feel they’re a good fit, they may be more likely to stay.”
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: By focusing on skills rather than traditional credentials, this approach has been shown to improve workplace diversity and provide better access to employment opportunities for underrepresented groups​​​​. Years of experience and listing particular colleges can be a huge barrier to entry – focusing on skills opens talent pools tenfold.
  4. Adaptability to Future Workforce Needs: As the workplace evolves, skills-based hiring aligns with the necessary competencies for future roles, addressing the estimated $8.5 trillion loss due to talent shortages and skills gaps by 2030​​. (Korn Ferry)

Strategies to Encourage Adoption Among Hiring Managers

Having established the why, the next step is to address the how. Here are practical ways recruiters can get hiring managers on board with skills-based hiring. 

1. Educational Workshops and Training:

Organize sessions to educate hiring managers on the principles and benefits of skills-based hiring. Use real-world case studies and success stories to illustrate its effectiveness. Remember: hiring managers value speed and quality when it comes to recruiting – if they are struggling to find the right people for their team, it’s important to position skills-based hiring as a solution and bring them up to speed.

2. Pilot Programs: 

Implement skills-based hiring in a few departments or for some selected hires initially. This allows managers to witness the results firsthand without a complete overhaul of their existing processes. Change is daunting – if hiring managers can see the benefits of this approach in a safe environment they will much more likely acquiesce in future.

3. Data-Driven Advocacy: 

Present statistics and research findings that demonstrate the effectiveness of skills-based hiring in improving diversity, reducing costs, and enhancing employee retention​​​​. We listed some above, but why not track your own also? Nothing is more powerful than numbers when it comes to process change.

4. Internal Promotion of Success Stories:

Share internal success stories of skills-based hiring within the organization to illustrate its practical benefits. Perhaps it’s interviews with employees who were hired in this capacity, having them extol the benefits of the process or point out why it was successful for them. Storytelling, when done well, is a fantastic means to gain support and momentum.

5. Support and Training for Managers: 

Provide hiring managers with the necessary support and training to effectively assess skills during the interview process. SocialTalent’s Interviewing Training provides insights and tips to help with this, allowing anyone involved in the process to hone their abilities when it comes to skills-first hiring. 

6. Leadership Endorsement:

Seek endorsement and support from senior leadership. Leadership advocacy can significantly influence the adoption rate among hiring managers. If you can demonstrate how skills-based hiring aligns with the organization’s broader business objectives and strategic goals, you’ll be on to a winner!


Transitioning to a skills-based hiring approach requires a shift in mindset and practice. By emphasizing its numerous benefits and providing practical, supportive measures for implementation, recruiters can effectively persuade hiring managers to embrace this more dynamic, equitable, and efficient method of talent acquisition. This approach not only addresses immediate hiring needs but also positions organizations to be more adaptive and competitive in the future job market.

Looking to level-up your hiring manager relationships? SocialTalent’s Recruiting Training will teach you how to get the most out of these interactions. Talk to us today.

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