According to a recent study, more than two-thirds of employers are concerned about the impact that the growing skills gap will have on their business. Even with record low unemployment rates, employers aren’t having a problem attracting applicants to their job openings. Instead, the problem is attracting skilled candidates that have the “right” skills. Employers who want to overcome this skills gap must reevaluate their hiring strategies and look for alternative ways of finding top talent candidates.
Resume-Only Based Hiring
For years, employers have relied on resumes to help them distinguish between qualified and non-qualified applicants. Typically, employers develop a set of criteria, such as education requirements and previous experience, to determine which candidates would be a good “fit” for the company. Today, technology like ATS (Application Tracking System) platforms make filtering through resumes easier than ever by identifying those applicants whose skills closely match the employer’s set criteria.
While this method has worked for employers for years, it is not without faults. First, a recent survey showed that 85 percent of the employers surveyed admitted to catching applicants lying on their resume. In some cases, employers find out that the applicant embellished, or lied, about their skills, experience, and even education only after hiring them. Secondly, ATS platforms rely heavily on keyword tracking, which means employers could miss out on top talent candidates just because the applicant worded their skills differently on the application.
The major problem with resume-only hiring practices, however, is that employers often set a criterion for applicants that is too narrow.
They fail to look at transferable skills, such as soft skills and computer literacy skills that also are necessary for specific job positions and miss out on the opportunity to identify and hire high performing candidates.
In many ways, the skills gap is real but all too often employers fail to see the full potential of their prospective candidates. For example, some degree of computer navigational skills are needed for nearly every job today, but just because a candidate doesn’t have prior work experience, or has minimal work experience, using these skills doesn’t mean that they aren’t proficient with computers.
Soft skills is another area recruiters can focus to identify “ideal” candidates. Skills, such as empathy, leadership, decision-making, communication, persuasion and adaptability, are all extremely important in the workplace. Unfortunately, these skills are difficult to teach and candidates tend to self-evaluate these skills on their resumes. Whether or not the candidate actually excels in these areas cannot be determined from a resume only.
If employers are going to build a workforce for tomorrow that allows them to remain competitive, they must start to think about not just what experience and education they want their “ideal” candidates to have, but also what transferable skills candidates may have that will allow them to excel in the workplace.
Measuring Transferable Skills
Thanks to today’s technology, employers no longer have to rely solely on resumes to evaluate candidate skills. Pre-hire assessments can do this for them. For example, the CC Audition call center simulation can assess candidates’ abilities in a variety of skills, including data entry accuracy and computer navigation proficiency. Other assessments, such as the Problem Solving Multi Tasking Simulation can evaluate candidate’s ability to multi-task in a fast-paced and complex role and predict future workplace success.
Using these pre-hire tests allow employers to ensure that the candidate will be able to interact with technology and/or provide a seamless customer experience on the job. This will let you know before you even make a final hiring decision if the candidate has the necessary skills for success or not.
The skills gap is not an issue that is going to fix itself overnight, but employers can take steps to improve the quality-of-hire by expanding their hiring criteria. Learn more about how to identify transferable skills in your prospective candidates through pre-hire assessments by contacting FurstPerson today.