Is this the end of the résumé? Report finds more firms using skills-based hiring

Organisations are ditching CVs in favour of skills tests, as experts say achievements and job titles are not a guarantee of success

Credit: Getty Images

The number of companies turning to skills-based recruitment is on the rise, with 73 per cent of companies surveyed saying they used skills-based assessments throughout their hiring process in 2023, according to TestGorilla’s The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2023 report. 

The survey of 1,500 employers and 1,500 employees across the world showed this has increased from 56 per cent of businesses surveyed in 2022, TestGorilla said.

Skills-based hiring practices include cognitive ability tests, role-specific skills tests and assignment or work samples, and were found to be viewed by 92 per cent of employers as more effective than the traditional résumé for identifying talented candidates.

Gaelle Blake, UK&I director of permanent appointments at recruitment firm Hays, told People Management that résumés “may not stand the test of time” as companies look to diversify their hiring approaches. “Skills-based hiring is certainly on the up, meaning that many employers are more interested in the skills a jobseeker has under their belt rather than their qualifications or experience,” she said.

"While CVs as we know them are likely to become less important, employers will still have a screening process in place before the interview stage. As ever, professionals ought to focus on the transferable skills they have acquired, and their willingness to learn new skills, which will help them to succeed in the role in question.”

The report further found that skills-based hiring resulted in fewer “mis-hires”, reduced hiring costs, lessened the total time spent on the recruitment process and led to greater employee retention.

Candidates also preferred skills-based hiring to more traditional recruitment methods. Of those surveyed, 86 per cent of employees said they thought they would be more likely to secure their dream job as a result of the opportunity offered to better showcase their skillset. 

Nick Allwood, regional director at HR recruitment consultancy Macmillan Davies, said the shift towards skills-based hiring “has been a growing movement”, and one that will only continue. He said: “As recruiters we’re asking employers: what took you so long?”

The move has been accelerated by a shortage of candidates in the post-Covid landscape, Allwood explained, with “companies having to find alternative methods to bring in talent for the future, ever-changing workforce”.

Employers were starting to ask “why search for certain academic achievements or job titles if they aren’t a guarantee that the employee will be able to carry out the role?” Allwood said.

“Why not change the approach and unlock new talent pools and be able to compile a more diverse workforce by dropping the non-essential attributes to success in a role. If the skilled talent isn’t available freely, then what similar skills would be most likely to ensure success given the right training internally?”

Skills-based hiring had a positive impact on the diversity within companies, 84 per cent of employers reported. This was reflected in the experience of employees – 75 per cent of Black employees and 73 per cent of Asian and Arab employees surveyed said they were able to access new employment opportunities through skills-based assessments.

Blake echoed this viewpoint, stressing that a skills-based recruitment process “enables employers to attract a diverse talent pool, as it opens doors for people who may not have a degree or years of experience, for example, but have an impressive skillset and strong potential”. 

Allwood added that skills-based hiring “removes a lot of the traditional barriers to entry into certain companies or roles and offers comfort that a business is open minded to background”, enabling employers to gain greater commitment from their employee base.

“It’s a different way of thinking about talent attraction and it’s here to stay,” he said. 

But despite this, the shift to skills-based hiring is slow moving: more than 80 per cent of organisations reported that they had still used résumés to hire in the past 12 months. 

Allwood said the résumé still had a role to play in the recruitment process: “I feel [the résumé] will evolve and take on new attributes – personal branding, video content, AI-friendly content, opportunity for interactive ability. But I think it will still be around for a while.”