Skills-Based Hiring: What It Is and Why It Matters for Your Growing Business

Let’s say you’re building a team for an epic treasure hunt. It’s in the wilderness, criss-crossed with rivers, so you need people who can read maps, swim, and climb. Instead of just picking your friends, you choose people based on their skills – what they can do. This is what skills-based hiring is all about!

What is Skills-Based Hiring?

Skills-based hiring means picking people for jobs because of what they can do, not just because of where they went to school or where they worked before. Just as the treasure hunt team needed a great swimmer to get to the clues on the far river-bank, in your business, it means hiring those whose skills match the challenges you’ll face as you work towards your goals.

Why Does This Matter for Your Business?

  1. Finding the Right Fit: Just like in our treasure hunt, you need people who can actually do the jobs you need done. If you need someone to design a cool website, you want someone who’s good at designing, not just someone who says they are
  2. More Talent to Choose From: If you only pick people from certain schools or with certain job titles, you’ll miss out on some amazing people who have the right skills but didn’t follow the traditional path.
  3. Faster Growth: When your business is growing fast, you need people who can hit the ground running. Skills-based hiring helps you find those people quickly because they already know how to do what you need.
  4. Creating a Great Team: A good team is like a puzzle where each piece fits perfectly. Skills-based hiring helps you find those pieces, making sure everyone can do their part and work well together.

How Do You Do Skills-Based Hiring?

  1. List the Skills You Need: Think about what tasks need to be done and what skills are required. For example, if the key to your growth is building a large and passionate base of social media followers, they should know how to create fun posts that really engage with followers.
  2. Look for Proof of Skills: Instead of just reading CVs, look for examples of their work or ask them to do a small project. This shows you what they can actually do.
  3. Ask the Right Questions: During interviews, ask about their skills and experiences. For example, “Tell me about a time when you solved a tricky problem at work.” If it’s a first job, just drop the work piece.  Always remember to find out what was the problem, what were the challenges, how did you go about solving it, who with etc.  Dig deep into the answers so you have proof points that they were the one who solved the problem if that’s important in your team.

Why It’s Super Important

As a founder of a fast-growing business, you want to build the best team possible. Skills-based hiring helps you do that by focusing on what people can do, not just what’s on their CV. It’s like putting together the ultimate treasure hunt team – everyone has a special skill that helps you succeed.

Word of warning!

Just because someone has the right skills that doesn’t mean they’re right for your business, your culture, the way you work eg.. in-person vs remote over Slack, what’s important to you as a team (e.g. socialising)  all matters.  You want the individual to enjoy working for you, not just to bring their skills for you to use. 

So, remember: When you hire based on skills, it’s a piece of the hiring jigsaw puzzle. This approach does enable you to have a more diverse pool of people for the roles you have and you’re more likely to end up with the perfect blend of skills –  just like choosing the right teammates for an adventure!  But remember, they need to be able to work well with the team you already have in place, not just bring their skills.