How to get hiring managers on board with skills-based recruiting

In today’s rapidly evolving labor market, where talent shortages are common, 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 such as degrees, years of experience and career paths, is at the forefront of this change.

You may be asking the question, why now? But given how many new roles require highly specific skills, the boom in technology and automation, the need for greater diversity and inclusion, and the rapidly changing needs of both companies and employees, skills-based hiring is the only answer! For example, according to ManPower, skills-based hires are five times more likely to predict future job performance than education-based hires.

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

Understanding the benefits of skills-based recruitment

The first step in advocating skills-based hiring is to highlight its numerous benefits! Since traditional hiring represents a more well-trodden path, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate the ROI of a different approach. As Johnny Campbell, CEO of SocialTalent, states: “Hiring skills is not a silver bullet. It requires more effort, more accuracy and more time.So you have to be able to sell this methodology.

  1. Improved efficiency and lower costs: Skills-based recruitment leads to more accurate job postings, significantly reducing the number of wrong hires (88%), which in turn helps reduce overall recruitment costs. And we all know the cost of a bad hire…
  2. Improved employee retention: Companies that adopt this method will see an increase in retention rates, which is crucial in today’s competitive talent market. As Indeed says: “When employees feel like they are a good fit, they are more likely to stay.”
  3. Diversity and inclusion: By focusing on skills rather than traditional qualifications, this approach has been shown to improve workplace diversity and provide better access to employment for underrepresented groups. Years of experience and listing certain colleges can be a huge barrier to entry – focusing on skills expands talent pools tenfold.
  4. Adaptability to future workforce needs: As the workplace evolves, skills-based hiring will be aligned with the necessary competencies for future roles, addressing the estimated $8.5 trillion in losses from talent shortages and skills shortages by 2030. (Korn Ferry)

Strategies to encourage adoption among hiring managers

After determining the Whythe next step is to address the How. Here are practical ways recruiters can engage hiring managers in skills-based hiring.

1. Educational workshops and training:

Host sessions to educate hiring managers on the principles and benefits of skills-based hiring. Use case studies and real-world success stories to illustrate its effectiveness. Remember: hiring managers value speed and quality when it comes to recruiting. If they’re struggling to find the right people for their team, it’s important to position and spread the word about skills-based recruiting as a solution.

2. Pilot programs:

Implement skills-based recruitment in a few departments or initially for a few selected employees. This allows managers to witness the results firsthand without a complete overhaul of their existing processes. Change is difficult. If hiring managers can see the benefits of this approach in a safe environment, they will be much more likely to adopt it in the future.

3. Data-driven advocacy:

Present statistics and research findings that demonstrate the effectiveness of skills-based hiring in improving diversity, reducing costs and improving employee retention. We’ve listed a few above, but why not follow your own too? 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 recruitment within the organization to illustrate its practical benefits. Perhaps they are interviews with employees hired in this capacity, praising the benefits of the process or stating why it was successful for them. Storytelling, when done well, is a fantastic way 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 interview training provides insights and tips to help with this, so everyone involved in the process can hone their skills when it comes to skills-first recruitment.

6. Leadership Approval:

Seek approval and support from senior leadership. Leadership advocacy can significantly impact adoption rates among hiring managers. If you can demonstrate how skills-based hiring aligns with the organization’s broader business goals and strategic objectives, you’re on a winner!


Moving to a skills-based recruitment approach requires a change in mindset and practice. By highlighting its numerous benefits and providing practical, supportive measures for implementation, recruiters can effectively convince 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 labor market.

Want to take your hiring manager relationships to the next level? With SocialTalent’s Recruiting Training you will learn how to get the most out of these interactions. Talk to us today.

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