May 31, 2022

3 Ways HR Can Help Candidates Match Their Skills Sets to Open Positions

Though there are millions of unemployed workers in the U.S., organizations are struggling to fill open positions. A disconnect between HR and job candidates’ expectations is partly to blame. 

According to our recent survey, The Future of Work: Intelligent by Design, 71 percent of HR leaders believe they both effectively align skills to open roles and effectively match candidates to roles. But candidates don’t necessarily agree.

Many candidates struggle to match their skill sets to open positions. Because of that, they are either applying for positions for which they aren’t a good fit, or they are not applying at all. This contributes to workers staying unemployed while millions of job positions remain vacant. 

What can HR leaders do to solve this problem? They can embrace the power of AI-backed talent intelligence platforms to write better job descriptions, focus on skills-based hiring, and map job opportunities to candidates’ skills. 

1. AI Uses Data to Write More Effective Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are critical for attracting the right talent. “If you don’t give your job descriptions the attention they deserve, top candidates may be reluctant to apply with your company,” writes Julie Calli, president at “Further, you increase the possibility of hiring someone that’s not the right fit for the job.”

Ideally, job descriptions let candidates know exactly the type of person the company is looking for to fill a position and motivate those people to apply. But not everyone is writing effective job descriptions. 

Of the employees surveyed in our 2022 Talent Survey, 17 percent indicate they find job descriptions vague or confusing. As a result, candidates are unable to match their skills sets to a role and end up not applying for a position for which they may be well-qualified.  

HR needs to address this issue of clarity in job descriptions so that top talent is encouraged to apply. AI-powered technology uses data to help HR craft clear, more targeted job descriptions that provide clarity to candidates about who should apply for a position, thereby attracting the best talent to the organization.

fingers planting a seed; skills match concept

2.  AI Facilitates Skills-Based Hiring

Organizations need to broaden the scope of skill sets they outline as requirements for positions. Thirteen percent of candidates say they don’t know if their skills match those required for a role. That suggests a narrow scope of what it would take for someone to succeed. It keeps qualified candidates from applying because they don’t feel like a good match for the position.  

AI can help companies address this issue by enabling HR to move to a skills-based approach to hiring, which “assesses candidates based on their holistic skill set (including adjacent skills across industries), rather than just industry experience or certain educational credentials,” as explained by Emily Field, et al. in a McKinsey & Company report. 

Through this approach, HR moves away from hyper-focusing on past experience and education as qualifiers or outdated job descriptions as benchmarks of a good candidate. Instead, organizations use the technology to understand what roles from other industries will translate and what skills outside of those that are role-specific would be indicators of success.

“Those candidates can easily expand their skills to the entirety of what’s needed for the role you’re trying to fill,” writes Gartner’s Jackie Wiles.

3. AI Maps Opportunities to Skills

Vague and narrow job descriptions often lead confused candidates to apply for jobs for which they are not a good fit. Talent intelligence tools can help solve this problem by identifying skills that equate to success in the future and pairing candidates with those jobs that are a better fit for them. 

This is a shift from hiring for fit to hiring for potential, which paves the way for more candidates to be considered for open positions. Data-driven AI tools show candidates opportunities beyond their self-imposed limitations defined by what they know of themselves and the organization. This can help encourage them to apply. 

With AI, HR leaders are able to confront their talent shortages by addressing the struggle of candidates to match their skills to open positions. When candidates can clearly visualize their fit in a role, they are more likely to apply, which broadens the talent pool of qualified candidates for hire. It’s a win-win for both sides. 

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