Job Descriptions in The Digital Era Should Be Based on Skills Not Tasks

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Employers are scaling back or even eliminating the need for employees and potential employees to have college degrees. Their reasoning for this? Employers now prefer to hear and see a candidate’s skills and competencies. A Harvard Business Review study found “degree inflation” made the job market inefficient, because degree inflation demanded college degrees to work jobs that didn’t need them.

The trend after COVID-19 is moving sourcing practices in a more lenient direction. Major employers like IBM, Bank of America, and Github have relaxed their hiring practices. These changes may stem from having a smaller pool of active candidates to hire from and strict job requirements have put companies at a major disadvantage during the Great Resignation. Employers must find the right candidates AND scale back their job requirements. But how? Well, the solution lies in starting the hiring process with a skills-based job description.

A skills-based job description values—you guessed it—skills, but also performance, and results. And here’s why you need to consider skills-based job descriptions in the digital age:

1. Detailed job descriptions quickly filter candidates

Writing such job descriptions rewards candidates for their competencies and potential. The traditional description might have “prepare reports” or “write evaluations for employees”. The problem with this is that the tasks are too vague. The description offers no insight into the knowledge, skills, or behaviors needed. A skills-based job description would remedy this issue. Now imagine if the description said “Prepare sales forecasts” or “conduct banker reviews”. These points offer a glimpse into what the workday looks like for candidates.

2. Values life experience over credentials and formal education

Another reason to consider skills-based job descriptions is its focus on results. Candidates are not excluded for not meeting criteria like degrees or certifications. Someone that helped run their parent’s store may have sales and marketing experience. While not formal experience, the candidate can succeed if he or she relates their efforts to the job.

Here are some sample descriptions:

  • Looking for resilient individuals to make 80+ phone calls to new businesses.
  • Collaborates effectively to get things done, building and nurturing strong relationships.
  • Has the ability to learn and adapt to new information and technology platforms.

3. Access to a new pool of candidates

The biggest benefit in using skills-based job descriptions is the opening of the door to a new talent pool. Candidates were once discouraged from applying to a job before based on factors beyond their control like geography, education, or networking contacts. Now employers are at a disadvantage by not considering “non-traditional” candidates. Candidates now can come from all types of experiences, like the military, other industries, workforce development programs, etc. The life stories of these candidates provide more than ample experience.

The hiring trends we’re seeing now are relaxed job requirements and tweaks to job descriptions and they’re allowing employers to remain competitive and innovative when it comes to attracting top talent to their organizations.


Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

This article was written by Jeremy Razo.
Jeremy Razo is a writer and workforce development trainer in Chicago.  He enjoys traveling to new locations and talking White Sox baseball. Connect with at jere.razo@gmail.com.

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