Building Skill Matching into Your Recruiting Process 

An effective Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy for staffing solutions requires more than just a personalized candidate experience. Employer need to evaluate the entire recruiting and talent acquisition lifecycle. An important first step is to look at talent sourcing from the perspective of skill matching. 

A Harvard Business Review study revealed that 80% of business leaders experienced issues with their Applicant Tracking System. Keyword limitations and system settings, such as a missing credential or gaps in work history, were filtering out qualified candidates. It excluded good prospective hires and had a negative impact on diversity recruiting. Viable talents were overlooked because the sourcing and search tools emphasized work history, education, and location over skills, experience, industry, and core competencies.  

It’s time for employers to move past traditional resume searches and grow talent pools with a  skill based matching approach. Focus on the candidate’s skills, not degree requirements. This allows us to search for competency, potential, and transferable skills.

In a recent Smart Inclusion conversation with Kiko Liang, we discussed how a more flexible, skill based matching strategy is key to Building A Better Hiring Process. 

Skills Matching and Fairness 

A Deloitte study recently showed strong support for skill-based matching. 80% of business executives said that basing decisions about hiring, pay, promotions, and succession on people’s skills helps reduce bias. This, in turn, increases fairness.

In addition, skill matching supports successful DEI staffing solutions by helping create a culture of belonging.  

What can skill-matched recruiting offer employers?     

The skills-first approach removes unconscious and subconscious bias from candidate selection. It provides an objective assessment of talent, and a basis for more equitable, inclusive Human Resources practices, from hiring to learning and development to promotion, career pathing, retention and succession planning. It also broadens the talent pool to engage and attract: 

  • Passive job seekers – people with the right skills who could be ready to make a change. 
  • Career changers – job seekers looking to leverage existing skills to advance their careers or take it in a new direction, and are using skill matching to identify opportunities in a new field or industry.  
  • People with potential – including experienced workers, more diverse talent, and new entries to the workforce that possess soft skills, applicable experience and enthusiasm for the job.  
  • Internal candidates – as well as talent looking to build experience with existing skill sets, and fill skill gaps. 

Building skill matching using artificial intelligence 

Accurate skill matching begins with accurate, quantifiable data. Skills data can be difficult to measure because an individual’s skills change and evolve, many ATS don’t use the same terminology,skilled match decisions statistic for reducing bias from deloitte and employer may place higher values on specific skills or soft skills pertaining to their industry.  

In order to make skills-based hiring decisions and improve diversity recruiting, organizations need to establish a holistic view of skills, to connect skills to each other in the job-specific talent data assessment criteria. 

This is where hiring AI tools can help recruiters and sourcers connect the dots. AI tools help set parameters that are more inclusive by evaluating the skills ofall candidates using the same criteria. 

A good ATS may parse viable skills from candidate resumes along with education and work history. Some ATS staffing solutions allow recruiters to inventory marketable skills, and provide search tools that help match desired skills as well as uncover skills that candidates lack but want to learn. 

Artificial Intelligence goes a step further with skill matching search tools that provide an unbiased way to evaluate candidates based on what’s most important in the job requirements: What skills can they bring to the task at hand, and what is their potential for success in a specific role. 

Skills assessment testing is one way for employers to validate whether the applicant has the required skills to succeed. AI driven skill matching can use the scores from assessment tests to identify top talent. 

When used as part of a DEI recruiting strategy, AI skill based matching can reduce bias in hiring, and increase inclusion and retention.  

Hiring AI tools, just like humans, require some education     

It’s important to note that Artificial Intelligence systems themselves can have bias built in. Think of the AI search as a “virtual sourcing assistant” that when properly “trained” can reduce bias and achieve better diversity representation. 

When applying AI and machine learning to candidate sourcing, algorithms must be “taught” to recognize the right data to find the “buried treasure” in desirable skill sets. Candidates that may be an ideal fit for a role – who may otherwise be overlooked – are “suggested” by the skills-matching technology.  

The human factor is still vital to assess AI recommendations, and further “instruct” the AI tools on skill based matching – without adding their own personal bias to the search parameters. Be sure to use a “teachable” hiring AI tool with enough transparency in the search results to see how – and why – candidates were recommended. 

Job descriptions must also be adjusted to weight skill sets over other search criteria such as education or keywords on a resume. 


Candidate Sourcing demo with SmartSearch


Ready to create a better workplace with skills-matching software? 

As the workplace evolves into a more inclusive environment, successful staffing solutions will adapt candidate sourcing strategies to include skills based matching.  

Companies that refocus candidate sourcing with transferable skills matching for both internal and external hiring will become the employers of choice.  Tools like the SmartSearch AI-Match that provide one-click candidate sourcing and AI-Smart search capabilities to match candidates to jobs and match jobs to candidates can help businesses create a more human-centric and bias-free talent acquisition strategy.  


Why A Skills-First Approach Supports Organizational Diversity 

Three Ways To Invest In Skills-Based Hiring To Improve DEI 

Hiring for Potential Elevates Inclusion  

Why Skills Are More Important Than Ever 

More Trending DEIB Topics

How Inclusive Leadership Can Help Foster Diversity Feature Image

How Inclusive Leadership Can Help Foster Diversity

Fostering diversity and inclusion within your organization is not just morally right—it’s a strategic...
Read More
Removing Bias in the Hiring Process Leveraging Technology to Promote Fairness Feature Image

Removing Bias in the Hiring Process: Leveraging Technology to Promote Fairness

A topic that has consistently and rightfully been one of the most prevalent in the...
Read More
Smart Inclusion episode build better initiatives with DEI

Employee Empowerment through Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Use employee empowerment to build a more engaged, diverse and inclusive workplace.  We’re in the...
Read More