What Strategies Have You Used for Bridging Skills Gaps in the Recruitment Process?


    What Strategies Have You Used for Bridging Skills Gaps in the Recruitment Process?

    In the face of evolving job markets, seven experts from roles including Heads of People & Talent to Senior Directors of Talent have shared unique strategies their organizations have implemented to bridge skills gaps. From adopting a Skills-Based Hiring Approach to fostering skill sharing through Reverse Mentorship, discover how these innovative tactics have shaped the recruiting process and their outcomes.

    • Implement Skills-Based Hiring Approach
    • Global Remote Recruitment Enhances Diversity
    • Custom Training Bridges Technical Skills Gaps
    • AI University for Reskilling and Upskilling
    • Equitable Preparation for Diverse Candidates
    • Competency-Based Hiring and Apprenticeship Model
    • Reverse Mentorship Fosters Skill Sharing

    Implement Skills-Based Hiring Approach

    Over the past 12 months, we've needed to rapidly acquire new talent to fill skills gaps that would otherwise impact our growth. As a fast-growing company, we've needed to scale up across the business, but we have particularly needed digital skills to support our product, design, and engineering teams.

    Digital skills are hugely in demand and in short supply—the Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index estimated there were 52,000 unfilled IT jobs last year. But it was crucial that we recruited digital skills with speed and scale to enable us to hit our growth goals.

    To enable us to avoid skills gaps and maintain our growth curve, we utilize a skills-based approach to recruitment. This involves us profiling the behavioral and technical skills required for success in each role, using multiple data sources to ensure accuracy. These include manager feedback, industry data, job specifications, and employee surveys. We then build online assessments based on these profiles to evaluate how well candidates align with the skill requirements. We also assess how well individuals align with our company's values, as well as their capacity to evolve with future changes.

    The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that the interview process accounts for 30-40% of recruitment time. However, a skills-based approach to hiring allowed us to streamline the process. We assess candidates according to the quantifiable skills we identified as required by the roles, so we have been able to rapidly rank applicants based on their suitability for the role.

    This approach has provided a much faster and more effective hiring process. We acquired the digital skills needed, quadrupling the size of our team, with an average time-to-hire that was significantly less than the industry average. The assessment process was also positive for the candidates—we had 93% of offers accepted with an onboarding satisfaction score of 9/10.

    Crucially, while time-to-hire has been really impressive, the quality of hire hasn't suffered. In fact, our new hires have all exceeded our time-to-competence expectations. We're delighted that we have avoided any painful skills gaps and supported our growth plans.

    Mark Chalmers
    Mark ChalmersHead of People & Talent, Spotted Zebra

    Global Remote Recruitment Enhances Diversity

    Recruiting globally and remotely gives us the unique opportunity to attract the best talent from around the world. This inherently closes skill gaps, as we are not limited to a local area. Additionally, we can offer opportunities to individuals who need flexibility, which they might not find in traditional in-office roles.

    Besides, as a remote-first business, Payara Services is committed to making our recruitment process accessible to all, regardless of location, time zone, or language. We developed a comprehensive and inclusive strategy to bridge skill gaps and ensure every new team member is well-prepared for success.

    Our recruitment process features a highly-rated onboarding program that extends beyond the first day and lasts up to three months. During the initial weeks, new hires are immersed in the business, meeting with each department head to understand the roles and responsibilities of every team. This holistic introduction helps them gain a broad perspective of the organization.

    In the first week, we also conduct specific sessions with the People Team to identify any skill gaps and learning and development opportunities for new Payarans. We also assess any software tools training they might need. This personalized approach ensures that each new hire has a tailored development plan right from the start.

    Once a month, we hold a Payara Discovery Week, where all new starters from that period spend a full week immersed in the Payara world. They gain a deep understanding of our products and how they reach the market. This intensive, hands-on experience has been praised by new Payarans as the best onboarding they've ever had.

    This year, we launched our inaugural graduate program, welcoming our first cohort last month. These graduates participate in an extended onboarding process, or bootcamp, lasting 12 months. This program is designed to equip them not only with the technical skills required for their roles but also with the soft skills necessary for the professional world. This is especially crucial as many graduates have limited work experience in this capacity.

    Our innovative and thorough approach to onboarding and continuous development continues to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from new Payarans. By bridging skill gaps early and providing ongoing support, we ensure that every new team member is set up for success, contributing to a cohesive and highly skilled workforce.

    Jess Snape
    Jess SnapeSenior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Payara Services Ltd

    Custom Training Bridges Technical Skills Gaps

    As a legal process outsourcing company, we implemented a unique strategy to bridge skills gaps during the recruiting process by offering customized training and guidance tailored to specific job roles.

    One memorable instance involved hiring junior legal analysts who lacked proficiency in specialized software critical to our operations. Instead of merely assessing existing skills, we provided intensive training sessions and guided them by focusing on mastering the software's intricacies and integrating it with legal workflows.

    This proactive approach not only equipped new hires with essential technical skills but also instilled confidence and enthusiasm in them. The outcome was striking, and within weeks, these analysts demonstrated remarkable proficiency, contributing to faster project turnaround times and higher client satisfaction.

    This strategy not only addressed immediate skills gaps but also reinforced our commitment to nurturing talent and maintaining high standards of service delivery in the legal outsourcing industry.

    Aseem Jha
    Aseem JhaFounder, Legal Consulting Pro

    AI University for Reskilling and Upskilling

    As AI continues to push the tech sector to new heights, we have begun reskilling and upskilling our team members.

    In our reskilling efforts, we have started building our AI University, which is our own microlearning program designed to engage our team members in learning new AI skills. We have begun reviewing our job families to best understand how AI will impact each, as well as looking into the future to identify where the market will lead such job groups. With this information, we are able to craft a learning journey for associates to take at their own pace. It is more like a "choose your destination, then choose your adventure" model of education.

    We have adopted a three-pronged approach to our reskilling and upskilling efforts. It consists of Educate, Exposure, and Experience.

    Educate includes online courses, our self-hosted lunch-and-learns, and communities of interest. This allows our team members to participate in a variety of educational formats to appeal to just about every learning style within the organization.

    Exposure refers to an apprenticeship style of learning where team members can be exposed to how to take what they learned in "Educate" and apply it in the real world. This includes working on AI-related Proofs of Concept for clients and working with projects already in progress. The strategy of exposure also helps us answer a need for talent for the increasing amount of work associated with AI compared to the actual group of employees who are trained to complete the work.

    Experience is what comes after graduation from our program. It allows our team members to be assigned to AI projects now that they have the knowledge and some experience to do the job. This program is a build-as-we-go due to the pace of innovation in AI. Since one of our core values is "We iterate to improve," this approach to bridging skill gaps in our organization just fits.

    Trent Cotton
    Trent CottonVice President of Talent and Culture, HatchWorksAI

    Equitable Preparation for Diverse Candidates

    At Bubble, we are thoughtful about candidates from all backgrounds having a fair shot in our process. We acknowledge that underrepresented individuals are less likely to have access to networking and resources for interview preparation compared to majority individuals.

    To bridge this gap, we offer prep calls, interview guides, and as much context as possible to our candidates each step of the way - so they can bring their full, comfortable selves to our interviews. One example of this is our candidate guide for our Staff Engineer role. The guide outlines each step of our process, breaks down the format of our technical screens, lets candidates know how they can best prepare, and offers a high-level overview of questions to expect in each interview.

    This level of commitment to equitable preparation runs true across all roles at Bubble. As a result, we've had numerous candidates offer positive feedback on how prepared they have felt in our interviews, and we are able to pass candidates through our process in a more objective manner focused on skill and fit for the role.

    Jadel Contreras
    Jadel ContrerasRecruiting Coordinator, Bubble

    Competency-Based Hiring and Apprenticeship Model

    At TrackingMore, we've employed two unique strategies to bridge skills gaps that we encounter during the recruiting process. The first strategy is competency-based hiring. With this strategy, our focus is on transferable skills that candidates have that could be useful elsewhere in our company, not necessarily the roles they are applying for. This hiring approach has allowed our company to recruit talented candidates who help the existing team increase their knowledge and experience, while the candidate also learns from them.

    Another strategy is apprenticeship, where we hire employees at the start of their careers and pair them with more experienced team members to learn under their tutelage. The benefit of this strategy is that the recruits learn the inner workings of our company and familiarize themselves with the technology we use. These candidates also later become mentors to future hires.

    Clooney Wang
    Clooney WangCEO, TrackingMore

    Reverse Mentorship Fosters Skill Sharing

    Reverse mentorship has been the unique strategy that our organization has implemented to bridge skill gaps during the recruiting process. This approach involves pairing experienced employees with newer ones in a mentor-mentee relationship, where the mentees are often younger or from different backgrounds.

    What we do is identify areas where our organization lacks skills or knowledge and then match those employees with someone who has the expertise in that particular area. For example, we had a gap in our knowledge regarding social media and digital marketing, so we paired our young, tech-savvy employees with our more experienced staff to share their knowledge and skills.

    This resulted in more efficient and effective use of social media platforms, increased online presence for our firm, and improved communication with younger clients. It also created a positive learning environment within the organization, where both parties were able to learn from each other.

    This approach has now become an integral part of our recruiting process, as we have seen the benefits it brings in terms of employee development and overall organizational growth.

    Daniel Cook
    Daniel CookHR / Marketing Executive, Mullen and Mullen