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72% of employers choose skills assessments over CVs, research finds

21% of employers reported trouble filling vacancies in February 2024, according to the ONS

Hiring professionals favour skills-based hiring over resumes, a survey commissioned by AI recruitment platform HireVue has revealed.

Findings suggested that 72% of hiring professionals have steered towards using skills assessments to evaluate whether candidates are qualified for a job.

A further 34% of hiring managers admitted that they judge a candidate by their potential over established experience. 

The survey of 900 hiring professionals found that 63% of organisations have adopted skills-based assessments to some extent.

Analysts suggested that the move towards skills helps employers streamline their recruitment process: 30% have increased their tech budgets despite 47% of organisations having cut their budgets in the last 12 months.

This comes as HR called on the chancellor to invest in skills training ahead of the Spring Budget set to be announced today (6 March).

Data from the Office for National Statistics last month also showed that 21% of employers reported trouble filling vacancies.

Read more: Spring Budget 2024: what HR wants

Shelley Preston, vice-president of sales and strategic accounts at the recruitment firm Adecco UK and Ireland, told HR magazine that the research findings are positive.

She said: “Looking at skills-based assessment over CV hiring is a positive move in the right direction for employers, especially when we’re facing significant talent shortages

“It’s an approach that shifts the emphasis from credentials and past experiences to the candidate's potential to deliver results, and that brings many benefits.”

Preston noted a recent example of Adecco hiring someone based on skills rather than experience.

She said: "We had a situation recently where we agreed with a client to put one ‘wildcard’ in, based purely on skill set, for every three candidates who had the exact previous experience they were looking for.

"The result was that the wildcard candidate outperformed the others at almost every turn, which shows that thinking laterally can be a great way of accessing untapped talent."

She added that skills-based hiring could help employers meet their DEI goals and overcome unconscious biases.

“It levels the ED&I playing field, helping people from diverse backgrounds gain access to jobs. 

“By prioritising candidates' potential and willingness to learn, skills-based hiring dismantles barriers for those who have had limited access to traditional educational or career pathways but possess the right skills and abilities. 

“It can also help mitigate unconscious biases that may disproportionately impact women of colour, for example, in traditional hiring processes.”

Charlotte Roberts, chief people officer at the talent solutions provider IN Group, told HR magazine that skills assessments could help employers understand candidates’ proficiency for a role in the long run.

Read more: Employees need new or better skills, say HR professionals

She said: “These skills will form the foundation of each person’s day-to-day role, so using skills-based hiring to better assess them at an earlier stage can help connect organisations to the most suitable people.”

In a recent poll by professional services firm Aon (February 2023) a quarter of HR professionals said that more than 40% of employees would need upskilling to meet the demands of future roles.

Ben Keighley, founder of AI recruitment platform Socially Recruited, told HR magazine that employers could address skills shortages by widening their search criteria in recruitment.

He said: “Talent shortages continue to be a major worry for many industries, but part of the problem is they are not widening their search criteria. 

“To begin implementing skills-based hiring, HR teams should accept that the candidates they need are not necessarily going to be working in that industry or even actively looking for a job.”

He added that AI could help speed up recruitment by analysing skills across a large pool of talent.

He continued: “AI can play a huge role in the early stages of the recruitment process by mining the largest, richest seam of talent – people who are not actively looking for a new position – and quickly drawing up candidate pools based on their skills and characteristics for the job. 

“This also strips away human bias from the recruitment process as it taps into millions of data points to find the right skills."

HireVue surveyed 900 hiring professionals and 2,319 candidates in the UK for its Global Trends Report