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SHRM Foundation Skills-First logo

Ready for Success: Adopting a Skills Mindset in Employment Practices Toolkit

Unleash Human Potential With Skills-First Hiring

Empowering you to help your organization transition to a skills-first hiring and advancement strategy.

We envision a world where all people have equal access to employment, the opportunity to advance in their careers and a shot at sustained economic advancement.

To get there, HR and hiring managers must first be able to identify the unique skills people bring to the table. That includes skills possessed by individuals without a four-year degree or traditional work experience. Once those skills are identified, HR professionals and hiring managers must know how to leverage those skills to benefit both employees and their organizations.

In partnership with the Charles Koch Foundation, SHRM and the SHRM Foundation developed a toolkit to help HR and hiring managers make those dreams a reality for workers and workplaces. 


Two smiling employees have a meeting over coffees.

This toolkit is designed to help you solve your talent acquisition issues.

Focus on the skills and training required for each role, rather than simply focusing on whether or not a candidate has a traditional four-year degree.

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Putting a Skills Mindset Into Action

12 Actions You Can Take to Turn Intent Into Progess

Technology-Enabled Actions


Aligning Job Duties with Skills

Create skills-based hiring crosswalks, both offline and within your ATS, to address your organization's evolving needs.


Channels for Sourcing Candidates

Identify qualified talent through traditional and nontraditional sourcing channels via app-based tools.


Assessing Hard & Soft Skills

Leverage tools for assessing hard & soft skills like computer literacy, writing competency, creativity & critical thinking.


Current Job Market Trends

Access current job market reports with industry-specific considerations and talent heatmaps within your geographical area.

Communications Actions


Industry-Specific Employee Value Propositions

Create compelling employee value propositions for your organization to attract qualified candidates.


Formal Upskilling Programs

Design upskilling programs to fill in-demand roles with internal workers who demonstrate transferrable skills.


Differentiated Job Postings

Construct skills-based job descriptions that go beyond lists of functions and qualifications.


Interviewing Scorecard

Generate interview scorecards that objectively and quantitatively assess candidates for aptitude and fit.

Organizational Actions


Best Practices - Compelling Employee Benefits

Create a powerful total rewards program that will contribute to both employee acquisition & retention.


Behavioral Interview Guide

Train hiring managers and HR on behavioral interviewing to more effectively assess qualifications.


Accelerating the Hiring Process

Condense the time-to-hire and secure great employees ahead of your competitors through a curated set of resources.


Case Studies of Successful Alternative Credential Integrations

Discover how real businesses have transformed how they think about job requirements and degrees.

By changing how we approach job qualifications, we are enabling more individuals to be considered.

Joyce Heckman, Director of Talent Acquisition


people in a factory

Skills-First Hiring in Action

Challenging traditional job requirements to broaden candidate eligibility.

For Charlie Hatton, a U.S. military veteran who joined PSE&G as a project quality assurance/quality control specialist in 2015, showing how his military experience could transfer to a specific role was initially difficult.

“I applied for a job that I thought I was a good fit for, although I realized that the person screening the resumes might not agree because of my military background,” Hatton said. “It turned out I was right, and I didn’t get the interview.”

Our Partners

Please visit our partners for more resources on skills-first hiring.