I’ve been hearing a lot about something called “Skills-First” hiring these days. And it makes me scratch my head a little. I’ve always given value to the doers. The people getting out there, hustling and making their name known for what they DO––not who they know or where they went to school. Beginning in the 60’s, when most of the United States switched to a knowledge economy and away from production, we see the rise of the value of education. We’ve all heard it ‘Go to college, graduate, and get a good job–the rest will fall in place.”

The past decade has turned that on its head. After the great recession and through COVID, we’ve seen the cost of college skyrocket. Many entering the workforce have taken alternative means to shift their skillset or have invested in learning through certificate and skills-based learning programs. Some have event pivoted their entire career by specializing in specific skill sets to make them the most attractive to employers.

I get it. It seems scary to change your hiring practices. Most of us are on autopilot, requiring five year’s experience in a previous position plus a college degree–bonus points for a prestigious university…What about your business requires a specific degree? Does it matter if the candidate is self-taught? Will you cover required knowledge in onboarding?

I challenge you to think about what SKILLS does this candidate really require. How can I attract the MOST qualified candidate. You may have automatically disqualified them. You just might be disqualifying a person who did not have equal access to expensive education, but is perfectly suited for your position.

“Skills-first hiring is more than a trend. It’s a new philosophy about what it really takes to be successful at work. “Until recently, talent professionals relied on degrees and past experiences as proxies to assess if a candidate has the skills to do a job,” says Rohan Rajiv, Group Product Manager at LinkedIn Talent Solutions. The problem with that approach, he says, is that access to higher education and well-paying jobs isn’t always equal—leaving a lot of people behind.”

Did you know that “Recent LinkedIn data shows that job skills sets have changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, this number is expected to double.” Skill sets are shifting and changing exponentially, if you stick to an outdated hiring model, your business will not be able to keep up.

Keep learning, keep grinding, keep changing. It’s scary, but it’s the only way you’re going to stay on top.

Yours in Success,

Telley Madina