3 Reasons to Start Hiring for Skills Instead of Resumes

From startups to tech giants, everyone needs great talent. Hence, acing the recruiting process is vital. Here is why we turned our hiring practice over and have never looked back since.

Three years ago, when we hit a low point in our hiring, we decided never to read another CV again. Instead, we replaced the résumé and cover letter with automated tests, then interviewed only those with proven valuable skills for the company. This resulted in numerous successful hires, attracting a greater talent pool, saving us time and costing less altogether.

#1 Talent Over BackgroundHire without cover letter, recruiting without cover letter

Studies find that academic success and prior work experience do not predict performance on the job. Even though education and experience do not harm the candidate’s outlooks, the skills based hiring is designed to assess a far larger range of ability than background screening could, and allows hiring without a degree or with the ‘wrong degree’. And those employees, hired based on skills rather than transcripts, show significantly higher performance rates and less turnover.

We also found that skill tests have a much lower threshold of entrance than writing a cover letter. This has attracted candidates who were not actively looking for a job, to apply and be eventually recruited at Toggl.

#2 Avoid BiasHire without bias, Recruit without bias

Interviewers are proven to favour applicants who remind them of themselves. Often ruling out candidates from different social, economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Combining the skill-based approach with blind hiring, allows the initial recruiting decisions to be made without knowledge of the candidate’s name, gender, race, alma mater and other factors that could bias the outcome. Resulting in a more diverse workforce.

#3 Diversity MattersDiverse Hiring, Diverse Recruiting

According to research, companies with higher gender or ethnic diversity have bigger financial returns. And it makes sense – diverse companies are able to win top talent, improve their customer orientation and employee satisfaction, creativity, and decision-making – leading to more and more business success. Moreover, we find it inspiring and fun to work in a diverse company!

How to Attract Top Talent?

By ditching the ever boring cover letter and making applying easy with short tests, we attracted much more candidates than before. Talking about numbers – we’ve seen 30,000 test takers over the past 4 years. And minimum time was spent on managing them – the system automatically filters out the best and deals with the rest. The only role we found impossible to hire with a test was a Designer.

More applicants means better talent among them. Creating an outstanding and enjoyable application process and spreading the word both online and offline, is the way to go.

The most difficult part is to figure out what skills to test for in the first round. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. The hiring tool we use, Hundred5 has put together short, but comprehensive guides on how to hire for different roles with good examples on how to test their skills:

  • Hiring brilliant Backend Developers is a challenging task. Attract their attention with a simple way of applying, then test them for logic and overall knowledge.
  • Search for great problem solving and people skills when hiring a Customer Service Manager.
  • Look for a creative, yet a strategic and organized mind in your Marketing Manager. Find out, what questions other Marketing Managers would ask their prospective colleagues.
  • Look for a versatile leader in your Project Manager. Learn how to test that, what they value and where to source the candidates.
  • SEO Managers expect an engaging way of hiring. Besides creativity, test for their position-specific knowledge. Follow the link for tips on how to get them interested.


Now start hiring for skills with Hundred5!

By On July 20, 2017

  1. Most of the Stuff you write here is contradicting…

    1. The premise to hire for skill is the way to go in my opinion – whenever you compromise that you will also compromise your hiring strategy.
    YOur points actually contradict each other because in the last paragraph you essentially say you will decide by skin color or gender – and not by top performance – which is dumb.

    2. Diversity for diversity sake doesn’t bring any profit or advantage to your company. If that would be true then Companys from India, Sweden, Finnland, and Germany would long outperform Google & Microsoft – they don’t.
    btw the Article you cite has some really big flaws like excluding certain companies and numbers that would speak against the report, the report also doesn’Ät count in productivity which baffles me because that’s the driving factor for a company – just saying…

    3. The “old” system has advantages too – people have to fit in the company in most projects. You need people to cooperate and to do different stuff together. This gets easier if you hire people that were in these kinds of situations already and proved they could work on such problems. Als being intelligent isn’t necessarily the deciding factor because the experience is most of the time a way bigger time & money saver than anything else.
    You want a programmer that already grasps the context of what you build and how changes over years will be done or you want team leader that actually have social and leadership skills you will not know because of a little test.

  2. […] confidence in applying for a position doesn’t mean you’re the best person for the job. Your skills do. By testing for skills, employers are able to find individuals who better fit roles. On the hiree […]