The Tallahassee Chamber teaches skills-based hiring amid labor shortages

Since the pandemic, many companies have struggled to find qualified employees amid a shortage of workers. As a result, some are rejecting old ideas about how to find candidates and turning to skills-based hiring.

In some cases, this means letting go of the idea that a college degree is necessary.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is creating a 12-week workshop to help companies think outside the box when creating job requirements.

“They’re actually bringing their own job postings, their own interview questions, and we’re going through the process of transitioning from a traditional hiring practice to a skills-based hiring practice,” says Corrie Melton, Chamber Vice President of Membership and Talent Development.

As one of the leaders of the pilot program, Melton recently led an information session for interested professionals and managers.

“We found it to be a lot; it’s a mindset shift from traditional to skill-based knowledge,” says Melton. “So the more we can get and really teach employers how to use the process, the more likely they are to do it.”

This first class of participants is also led by Krista Campbell, founder of Kapstone Coaching and Consulting in Tallahassee.

“From a recruiting perspective, we’re seeing trends that I’ve never seen in my 25-plus years in the corporate world in terms of difficulty finding candidates to fill positions.” Campbell focuses on leadership development, training and consulting for small businesses.

The Chamber’s program is designed to help businesses find and retain the employees they previously could no were taken into account.

“International companies like IBM and Apple, some of the really big companies are moving toward not requiring degrees for certain types of positions that they’ve re-evaluated and found that degrees aren’t necessary,” Campbell says.

Fewer than half of people in the United States over the age of 25 have any college degree, according to U.S. Census Bureau data on education released last year.

This means that requiring a degree automatically eliminates many candidates who might otherwise be qualified for the position.

Campbell says it made sense to tighten up the requirements when companies sent in huge numbers of candidates. This is often no longer the case.

We’re really in a situation where everything has completely changed, where we need workers more than ever before,” says Campbell. “By disqualifying such a large number, it really costs employers a lot of money that they may not even realize because it takes so much longer to fill positions because they are disqualifying qualified candidates.”

The goal of the chamber’s program is to teach companies alternative ways to find applicants, build a more diverse workforce, and get those employees to stay.

Campbell says companies should start by assessing what they actually need. Someone who is reliable, can provide customer service and is skilled at specific tasks may be your best candidate, he says, and you may be able to keep them longer.

“You can easily train someone in a week to learn Excel, but you’ll need an additional four weeks to find another candidate,” says Campbell.

Krista Campbell explains the pilot program to interested professionals on September 7, 2023 at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

“There are several studies via LinkedIn and Harvard Business Review that say if you have a skills-based hiring approach and start hiring candidates without degrees (because you don’t think it’s necessary), retention rates are about 30% higher . as someone with a college degree, you know, a lot of people just need companies to invest in them.”

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is now recruiting its first small cohort for a skills-based hiring pilot program. It is scheduled to start in November.

The organizers are also looking for a few local private sector employers who are having trouble filling positions and can send a dedicated company representative to each workshop. They will meet once a week or two, and the participants will leave with homework.

The goal is for these companies to gain the tools to solve how to easily revamp their job description and job posting.

Elvira Parkinson

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