Four Steps to Writing a Skills-Based Job Posting | Markle
Four Steps to Writing a Skills-Based Job Posting | Markle

Four Steps to Writing a Skills-Based Job Posting

February 6, 2023 - Written By Markle | Blog Archive


Whatever the economic climate is, one thing is certain, employers need workers with the right skills to create a resilient business. Adopting skills-based practices is a great way for employers to find the skilled talent they need while building a more diverse and equitable workforce. Skills-based practices can also give employers a competitive advantage by removing biased processes that screen out capable candidates. By focusing on candidates’ skills and abilities instead of credentials, employers can help more workers to move into good jobs and build stronger teams.

To help companies adopt skills-based practices, the Rework America Alliance is providing guidance, training and data-driven tools such as the Job Posting Generator, that can help employers make this change.

One of the first and most important steps to adopting skills-based practices is changing job descriptions from ones that rely solely on credentials like degrees or years of experience, to a skills-based posting. The graphic below gives some quick examples of the difference between a traditional pedigree-based job description and a skills-based job description.

What makes a skills-based job posting different?


Here are four easy steps to writing a skills-based job description.

1.  Remove unnecessary credential requirements

Often degrees and work experience are used in job postings to assume skill sets, but the degree requirements alone drastically narrow talent pools by eliminating two-thirds of the American workforce who don’t have a degree. When possible, employers should look to remove these unnecessary requirements.

Ask yourself:

“Are there other ways for people to learn the same skills other than the degree?”

This is something you should consider when deciding what credential requirements are necessary when hiring for open positions.

In some industries, specific credentials and certifications are required. For example, safety certifications are legally required in manufacturing and construction, and clinical healthcare positions require degrees. In these cases, credentials should be used in addition to competencies.

2.  Identify competencies for the job

To create a skills-based job posting understanding what the role entails and what skills candidates need is crucial. For this step, it is important employers explore the two primary types of competencies and understand the difference between them.

Occupational Competencies, often referred to as “hard skills,” are the technical skills a person needs to perform occupational-specific tasks and duties. For example, infrastructure design for a cybersecurity analyst role.

Foundational Competencies, also known as “soft skills,” are professional knowledge and skills that are transferable from one job to another and across industries. For example, time management is a foundational competency for project managers.

To identify the competencies for the job:

  • Define the job duties of those in the same position and think about any new duties you will need someone in this role to perform in the future. For example, if an organization is thinking about sending out promotional emails in the upcoming months, one of the job duties they’ll want to include is creation of promotional emails, even if that’s currently not a duty of the people working in this role.
  • Connect the duties to the knowledge or skills someone must possess to achieve their tasks.
  • Define what each competency means. For example, instead of listing “complex problem solving” as a competency required for a position, a skills-based job posting would define this competency as the ability to identify problems and review related information to develop and implement solutions.
  • Confirm these competencies and descriptions with those currently successful in the role and their managers.

3.  Understand the differences between required competencies and preferred competencies

Required competencies are necessary to perform essential job duties; this means a candidate must have them on day one to complete job responsibilities. Preferred competencies, on the other hand, can be taught during onboarding and/or are used to perform non-essential job duties. With a clear understanding of the difference between required and preferred competencies in the unfilled role, employers should choose four-to-six required and three-to-four preferred competencies to highlight in their job posting.

4.  Update your old job postings and find great talent!

Creating a skills-based job posting is crucial to the implementation of skills-based hiring and talent management practices, that’s why employers are encouraged to take advantage of the Skillful Job Posting Generator. This free tool allows employers to quickly and easily write a skills-based job positing.

Ready to expand your talent pool and start hiring based on skills? Check out the rest of the Rework America Alliance tools and resources to help you with this transition.

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