I came across a post recently from The Conference Board titled, “Downskilling: Employers can no longer have their cake and eat it too”. It’s a thought provoking read. The post shares data that implies employers are lowering their educational requirements when it comes to recruiting.
While we’d like to think that employers are aligning educational requirements with the job duties, I think we can also see the logic. During the Great Recession, when companies would post a job opening and hundreds of people applied, they had to figure out a way to select candidates. As a result, companies upskilled positions – meaning they added criteria to the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)needed to qualify.
Fast forward 10 years to today when recruiting companies post job openings and get a handful of resumes. To get more applicant flow, organizations have to reevaluate the KSAs for the job.
But I don’t believe organizations have to lower their standards and downskill job requirements. If organizations want employees with a certain skill level, they need to make investments in employee training and development. Here are a few things companies can do:
Consider cognitive aptitude testing. Assessments can provide organizations with information about an employee’s ability to learn. Companies can use this information to understand if they hire an employee, will the person be able to quickly pick up concepts and skills. So instead of hiring employees with a skill, the company can provide them with the skills needed to be successful.
Enhance the employee onboarding experience. If an organization hires an employee with the idea they are going to fast-track their development, it’s important to add some of this process into onboarding. New hires know starting Day One how they are going to gain those additional knowledge and skills. They can feel confident that they will be successful in the role they’ve been hired to do.
Invest in more employee training. The idea of hiring employees and helping them gain the skills they need to do the work isn’t new. It does involve allocating resources toward training, but when those dollars are well spent, the increase in the training budget could be offset by the decrease in cost-per-hire. And that doesn’t include the positive sentiment associated with investing in an employee’s success.
When recruiting, organizations don’t have to simply settle for candidates that don’t meet their job requirements. First, employers need to make sure the job requirements are essential to do the work. Then, consider whether some of those requirements could be learned after the employee gets the job. It’s a win for employers that want to hire the best talent and a win for employees who want a job.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby just off Duval Street in Key West, FL11