What is SkillsTech?

Josh Bersin is a pretty big name in the general HR Tech space. While he doesn’t get into recruiting specifically as much as some other big names, he does periodically, and he has a good head for where different elements of the talent landscape are heading. His new framework appears to be “SkillsTech,” or “Skills Taxonomy,” explained thusly:

Let me remind you that skills assessment and development are fundamental to every people practice in business. Who we hire, how we pay, who we promote, and how we organize our companies are all built on the fundamental building blocks of skills.

It’s very possible that the concept of “SkillsTech,” which would be a huge market conceptually — everything touches “skills,” as the quote above indicates — is tied to hiring managers loudly complaining about the “skills gap.” After all, how would you solve a skills gap? The short answer is to think of your tech stack in a skills context, which is what Bersin is moving people towards. The real answer requires a little bit more work.

Yes, how do you solve a skills gap?

The easiest answer is “offer more money for the roles you are having trouble filling.” When you do that, you tend to get better people because the compensation-benefits-incentive structure is better. However, not every company can do that, and not every company wants to do that. 

Beyond additional compensation, how do you solve a skills gap?

First you almost need to do a gap analysis. Why and where is this skills gap coming from? A lot of times, the problem is as simple as the hiring manager-to-recruiter relationship. They are discussing the wrong elements, and the job is not being contextualized properly. So recruiters are looking for XYZ-style candidates, and hiring managers want ABC-style candidates. That gap in perception and reality manifests as a skills gap. 

There are a few ways to fix this. At HoneIt our approach to a lot of recruiting issues is “check the tape,” meaning that you boost transparency in the process by recording elements of the process. You don’t add to the process or create new workflows. Rather, you just take the natural elements of the process — like an intake interview — and record them, and those audio slices can become more effective job descriptions, ways to level-up junior recruiters, additional context on the role, and more. One conversation, recorded, can be valuable for weeks to months.

We need to restore trust in recruiting, and having playback elements is one crucial component. This also allows you to be a bit more bullish on “recruiter intelligence,” which means recruiters become a more integral part of the talent acquisition process. If recruiters and their abilities are more ingrained in the process, there’s less of a skills gap because the context on roles and needs is much, much higher. 

Hiring managers like proactive recruiting solutions

Why do unhappy hiring managers typically come about?

  • Their time was wasted.
  • Money from their budget was wasted.
  • They were presented with unqualified candidates.
  • Hiring managers feel like the recruiter didn’t have a good hold on what was needed, despite meetings and conversations before the search commenced. 
  • They lacked enough information on the candidates to make informed decisions about round advancement. 
  • The recruiter notes were sloppy and low-context.

As such, what do hiring managers typically want from recruiting tech?

  • An ability to easily compare answers to standard questions from different candidates
  • A way to collaborate with the recruiter on who to advance, scheduling, and more {nice to have/need to have in some ways}
  • A way to reduce bias in the selection/advancement process
  • A way to save money and time 
  • An ability to “CYA” a recruiter with less technical knowledge for a more technical role

Our solution to the skills gap

So here’s what we did with HoneIt to increase the hiring manager experience and reduce the cries of “Skills Gap!” — >

  • Honeit saves hiring managers time: Imagine you have to do a 45-minute interview with a candidate who might not be qualified. That’s a giant waste of time for you. But what if you could get a “Meet The Candidate” link and spend 5-6 minutes going over their responses to the questions you care most about? You just saved about 35-40 minutes per candidate screen on your end, which could add up to 10-12 hours/week. Imagine what you could do in the rest of the business.
  • Collaborations with the recruiter: We have a dozen or so, including Slack, which makes it easier for the hiring manager and the recruiter to touch base about specific candidates or next process steps.
  • Honeit also offers video, but it’s two-way: One-way video tools, which flooded the market for 3-5 years, don’t give much context or clarity to a hiring manager. Two-way tools, i.e. actual conversations on video, provide much more insight.
  • You’re supposed to be data-driven, right? That’s the new focus of most organizations. Well, interviews are data. We call them “conversational intelligence” sometimes. It’s a complete waste to have six people, representing $500,000+ in salary, spend 45-minute, 1-hour calls with candidates and not have any of those conversations recorded as “data” to capture. What about repeat questions? What about comparing responses to similar questions across interviews? Interviews are data. If you want superstar hires, you need to think of interviews that way, not just a ‘thing that has to be done.”

The skills gap is real, but the approach to solving it is a bit different than everyone thinks. It’s not just about more compensation (although that helps) or creating an entire new category (although Bersin will probably successfully do that). It’s about the relationship between hiring managers and recruiters being optimized. And that comes down to transparency, the tape, and the right decisions.