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Skills-Based Hiring on the Rise

With the job market being super tight across all industries and areas of expertise and the foresight it will stay this way in the coming months and years, employers worry about the topics of recruitment and retainment. Employers state soft skills are more important and they are willing to lapse diplomas and experience requirements in the hiring process. What struck me the most when watching the latest webinar about Challenges, Numbers and Trends within the Dutch Job Market is that employers aren’t changing their ways of hiring people.

Employers still publish vacancies on channels they always use – only leave them open longer. But, it’s not all bad. There is a lot of attention to writing vacancies that will attract different candidates, and I see more and more vacancies with salary levels in them. Something we are not used to in the Netherlands. I also notice the informal ways to get in touch with employers have increased, the ‘open door’ policy has found its way and I see ‘company-based job fairs’ and ‘informal coffee moments’ published everywhere. But in the end, the chronological resume is still something an employer wishes to receive, and something they base their decisions on, and the hiring procedure mostly still consists of two job interviews followed by a comp and benefits talk or an offer. The procedure is often expanded by conducting a business case/business assessment or filling out a personality questionnaire to evaluate soft skills.

Put all of this together and a potential new hire cannot find their new employer to be in the current landscape. This is why I wish to dedicate a blog to this subject. Let’s talk about how this all happened and ways to decrease the mismatch.

My clients notice that the things blocking their job search disappear when collaborating with me. Don’t hesitate to schedule your introductory call today to find out more.

What happened?

In the last year, the unemployment rate has never been so low (currently 3.6%) and the number of working people has never been so high (9.7 million, which is 72.6% of the people between the age of 15 and 76 years). The number of people that will retire in the coming years will increase and we do have not enough new people to compensate for this. Furthermore, part-time work is something we master in the Netherlands. When people move to part-time work to take care of the kids or for other reasons, they often keep working part-time even though their personal situation has changed.

A new generation, genZ has entered the labor market and research shows they want to blend work and life, and they want to be challenged and see results – aka growth and opportunities. It often means working part-time and having projects on the side is the best option for them.

Currently, employers are also worried about increased absenteeism. Add up the fact that globalization has changed the working population and this needs that career guidance within the organization, guidance when absenteeism comes in and the retainment of staff needs a tailor-made approach on both ends, the employer as well as the employee.

What’s Happening Now

Now, job hopping gets more popular and employers hesitate to fire people. They are worried about letting qualified people go now, and not being able to hire the same qualifications in the future.

This means the challenges of employers are on 3 main topics:

  • how to find new talent,
  • how to organize work differently,
  • Retainment.

Although it might not seem that way, this market also has challenges for those on the other end, the job seekers. Not only because some job seekers can pick and choose and worry about what is the best offer on the table, but as a job seeker you have to have clarity about your next career move. This all relates to the question; What kind of job do you wish to get hired for?

What Skills-based hiring Means For You

Skills are the new currency, is what is stated within HR circles. Skills know no borders and technology facilitates alignment with country and local regulatory requirements, a skills-based approach to hiring enables employers to source and hire talent beyond a geographic talent pool. Having a skilled workforce that isn’t concentrated in one area also ensures further protection against geopolitical and physical risks.

This is the pivot employers are currently making. The primary focus is shifting from jobs and job titles towards skills. As an employer, you are active in the business of helping people to manifest their knowledge and skills into activities that will help customers, colleagues, or the community you are serving. This needs to move away from standard job titles and hierarchical job architecture. It needs skills transparency.

There is always the possibility to schedule a 30-minute introductory call to learn more about the ways I can support you by taking your personal situation into account. Don’t hesitate to check my schedule over here and plan your call today.

What You Can Do Now

  • On the job seeker’s end
    You wish to know the answer to the question: “What does my ideal job look like?” Think about tasks, responsibilities you wish to take on, skills you wish to use or develop, and the kind of environment that will support your performance. We are all different, so we all need and want something different. This needs that you know something about the way you operate and what makes your work exciting and fun. This is mostly what I help people with, to narrow down and broaden their scope for opportunities they haven’t thought about yet. Like the architect who could be a good project manager, think differently. Taking a skills assessment and a deep dive into your soft skills helps to align responsibilities and duties with the things you’re good at and wish to do. Diving into personal values helps to figure out the company culture that suits you best.
  •  On the employers’ end
    On the employer’s end, you want to identify the capability gap and find the best way to address these skills among talents in the market. Taking a skills-first approach can unlock the organization’s ability to manage upsides and downsides, which is what Peter Fasolo, HR Executive of the year, states in GWFM Research & Study

So, what are the essential soft skills needed to perform well within the positions you are currently hiring for and the attitude needed to fit the company culture? Also if you are ready to lapse diplomas and requirements, you should mention it somewhere. Candidates are seeking clarity even before they are applying, why not offer this clarity?

Now is the perfect time to reshape the ways you hire people and lower the entry to reach out to you, and get to know you. If you want to broaden your audience because the qualified pool of candidates is empty, what strategies you can implement that will deliver? Companies are collaborating with education more often for tailor-made combined work and educational programs to tempt people who lack the right education and experience background. Sometimes it overseeds the expectations, like with the TBC clinic in Limburg.

A practical thing could be to open up doors for a shadowing day or week, give candidates a chance to prove themselves in the work environment itself, and see how this person operates within your team. This might even lead to more suitable candidates and you can pick and choose. Candidates are often very happy with this opportunity, and it will allow them to test their skills in an actual work situation.

Key Takeaway

The key takeaway from this post should be that addressing skills on the employers’ and employees’ end opens up new possibilities. What I notice is the personal click between the organization and the candidate is the main driver to hire. When in the employer’s seat, remember this: we tend to forget we hire people that are a bit like ourselves. Why not focus on the skills needed next time you hire someone? People apply to have hope for a better life, this deserves a decent and empathic approach.

And as a job seeker: Your skills are your currency, you will take them anywhere. What are the skills you wish to deploy daily in the next opportunity?

I see people ending up disappointed after changing jobs. They expected to end up in a better place only to find out they are doing the same thing in another environment and it still doesn’t offer satisfaction. A deep dive into the things you’re after and expect will help you to prevent yourself from ending up in a similar situation.

What to do next?

Want to talk about this subject with a professional? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me and schedule an introductory call to discuss this further, I look forward to meeting and hearing your story, no matter if you are a company or an individual.


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