How to embrace skills over resumes as the global talent shortage surges

As The Great Resignation continues to evolve, the effects are being felt across the labour market in the form of tightly resourced teams and new workplace expectations. In response to these changes, employers are doubling down on hiring to keep teams strong. With 2 million Aussies prepared to quit their jobs over the next 6–12 months, businesses are pulling out all the stops to get top performers in the door and bolster their firms’ future success.

Tips to help your business embrace skills over resumes

Staying competitive means looking beyond resume qualifications and increasing the emphasis on skills. That’s not to say you have to toss resumes out completely – it’s vital to still collect this information for future hires – but business leaders need to look beyond qualifications to discover the skills a candidate holds to succeed in a role. With that in mind, here are four tips to help your business embrace skills over resumes when attracting and retaining employees.

Assess the agile mindset

As the labour market tightens, businesses increasingly need to hire quickly and efficiently without compromising on talent. One key consideration when hiring is to identify skills – or potential to pick up certain skills – based on the concept of an ‘agile mindset’.

An agile mindset allows a person to adapt to changing environments on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. This is crucial in a workplace setting where business priorities ,projects, teams, and outcomes can be subject to last-minute changes. Though a candidate is not expected to tick the box for each of the agile traits, in diversity comes strength. That’s why these four agile attributes should be applicable to the team as a whole, rather than to the individual:

  • People agility: Employees who know themselves well, learn from experience, treat others constructively, and are cool and resilient under the pressures of change.
  • Results agility: Employees who get results under tough conditions, inspire others to perform beyond normal, and exhibit the sort of presence that builds confidence in others.
  • Mental agility: Employees who think through problems from a fresh point of view and are comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, and explaining their thinking to others.
  • Change agility: Employees who are curious, have a passion for ideas, like to experiment with test cases, and engage in skill building activities.

It is also important to note that technology like the ‘Agile Mindset Assessment Tool’ can help employers to promptly identify candidates with a propensity for agility. This technology enables businesses to help to understand a candidate’s ability to think faster, achieve results under pressure, or adapt to dynamic conditions far more than a resume ever could.

Make potential your priority

When you throw out the resume rule book, you are left with potential – and a lot of it. With the labour market at its tightest since the 70s, more employers are increasingly starting to recognise that thousands of well-qualified applicants are being screened out of the running due to unnecessary degree and experience requirements in their hiring processes.

While a less qualified candidate may not have the exact qualifications and prior experience to suit a role, they may possess the cognitive ability to quickly learn new skills. Many skills that are developed through past experiences can be transferable, and spotting how those softer skills could benefit your business creates an opportunity to unlock a new pool of talent.

To identify these skills, employers should be mindful of their company’s job descriptions, business objectives and company values and assess each candidate in line with how they stack up against these. Matching a candidate’s skills and values to these core fundamentals, can help  to ensure that any potential hire is not only suited to the role in question, but to the business as a whole, leaving room for growth and development at later stages.

Another way to identify these skills is by using hiring technology, like skills-based assessments which assess candidates with game-based, interview-based, or coding assessments. Not only do these tools  help recruiters make better decisions, but they give candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their most sought-after skills.

Breathe new life into upskilling and retention practices

As the labour market continues to feel the strain of the talent shortages, employers need to get creative with their retention strategies. From mentorship programs, keeping employees fit, mentally and physically through gym and mindfulness memberships and providing a sabbatical for loyal contributors, employers are going above and beyond to retain talent.

More and more companies are now shifting to a skills-first approach — one that values future growth over background. Upskilling top employees who are in high demand from competitors is a key to keeping them on board. Everywhere you turn in the economy, there is a palpable urgency to upskill qualified workers to fill the jobs of tomorrow and bolster existing teams.

To achieve this, employers must first assess existing talent to determine how they can bridge any skill gaps in the workplace. Conducting a skills gap analysis allows employers to identify key growth areas such as agile working, resilience, adaptability, or new digital capabilities.

Also, give workplace culture a major facelift, auditing their diversity and inclusion, flexibility and  forthright communication practices to keep staff happy. Employers can then identify the training, hiring and internal development programs they need to future proof their team.

Embrace the power of AI

The potential for AI to make an impact in all domains is huge, and recruiting is no exception. Talent acquisition succeeds when it predicts the best candidates for a job, and builds the relationships that convert those candidates to employees. AI can deliver dramatic improvements in quality of hire, time to fill, new hire diversity, and other critical metrics.

Most importantly, artificial intelligence (AI) is also a great way to remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process, which happens when employers form an opinion about candidates based solely on first impressions. It does this by actively auditing interview algorithms to ensure that they aren’t adversely impacting a group of candidates; offering the best candidates regardless of their work history, educational background, or demographics.

Integrating  on-demand options like written assessments and pre-recorded AI driven video interviews, also allows recruiters to consider more candidates than they were previously able to, while offering each candidate the same fair, structured interview. Delivering a consistent interview structure ensures that each candidate experiences the same engaging interview, while being given an equal opportunity to demonstrate the most sought-after skills.

As skills shortages bite and salary and workplace culture expectations grow, employees have more say in who they work for than ever before. And as hiring dials up in the labour market, now is the time for employers to take a step back and consider their recruitment processes.

In doing this, skills should be top of mind when approaching new talent and decisions should not be made solely on the basis of a resume. Resumes offer a very limited data set by which to judge a person’s abilities, so it’s time to stop accepting the status quo of resume reviews.

Employers should focus on embracing  potential, upskilling, being flexible, and integrating tech into their hiring processes. By looking at new talent with fresh eyes and hiring based on  factors like skill sets, personality and potential for growth, employers can ensure that they are building a strong team of like minded individuals who have all of the assets to succeed.

Damon Pal is the Head of Asia Pacific at HireVue.