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Is Merit Based Hiring The Future of Tech Recruitment?

Merit-based hiring helps recruiters filter large pools of applicants and find the right talent. In the tech & IT sectors especially, skill-based hiring is necessary to address the skills gap within organizations.

Without evaluating the candidates for their skill set, tech employers run the risk of hiring ill-suited applicants. This can end up costing you heavily, both in time and resources.

Unskilled hires cannot perform ideally in their new roles, and training them takes time and resources. Moreover, there is no guarantee that they will perform well after the training, either. This is why it’s crucial to hire right from the get-go.

Let’s take a moment to learn more about merit-based hiring, and how your organization can utilize it to hire better.

What is merit-based hiring?

A merit-based hiring system focuses on the candidate’s qualifications and merit score. This hiring system emphasizes acquiring talent with the right skills, knowledge, qualities, and technical abilities. This hiring system removes favoritism, nepotism, and unconscious biases from the recruitment process.

Tech companies use several tools to assess an applicant’s merit. These tools include:

  • Resume checks
  • Competitive exams
  • Skill-based assessment tests, etc.

Under merit-based hiring we’ve skill-based hiring which is a subset of merit-based hiring that tests applicants on their skills alone. Merit hiring is a more comprehensive term that includes factors like a candidate’s cultural fit and interpersonal skills.


Five benefits of merit-based hiring

Hiring candidates on the basis of merit invites many benefits. Some of the most prominent ones are:

1. Merit hiring closes the skills gap

The skills gap has widened in recent years across many industries, especially in tech & IT. This gap makes it difficult for employers to find the right talent. Fortunately, merit-based hiring helps tech employers find candidates with the right skillset.

Merit-based recruiting closes the tech skills gap by vetting candidates for their skill sets. For example, skill assessment tests help you determine how an applicant’s programming skills, problem-solving ability, and more.

With a merit-based recruitment system, employers can quantify a candidate’s merit and aptitude. With these metrics, you can reliably compare different candidates and determine the best fit.  

2. Skill-based hiring encourages diversity

Nepotism and favoritism in hiring decisions can translate to highly qualified talent pools being overlooked. Merit-based and skill-based hiring extends equal opportunities to deserving candidates. Consequently, it increases the odds of finding the right technical talent, regardless of a candidate’s gender or ethnic and social background.

Thus, skill-based recruiting enables companies to build a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce.

Reports suggest that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per team member.

3. Reduced hiring times

Skill-based recruiting reduces hiring times by:

  • Facilitating bulk assessments. Multiple candidates can sit skill tests simultaneously. This screening method is significantly faster than sifting through hundreds of resumes.
  • Narrowing down the selection pool. Employers can use a scoring method to isolate top performers.
  • Warding off non-serious candidates. Only candidates that are genuinely interested in your organization will show up for skill tests.

4. Reduced hiring costs

Assessing all applications is both time-consuming and costly. Additionally, the opportunity cost of a bad hire, especially in tech, can be pretty high. Recruiters can avoid high hiring costs by employing skill-based testing. In addition, some platforms facilitate mass assessments online – resulting in reduced logistics costs.

Furthermore, with merit-based hiring, employers can divide the merit assessment into various levels. Thus, with each level, tech employers assess fewer candidates. This reduces hiring costs and hiring times simultaneously.

5. Skill-based hiring is mutually beneficial

Candidates that lack the right skill set will never perform well in a role. Unfortunately, university degrees do not reveal a candidate’s skill set, especially in fields like tech & IT.

To combat the skills gap, many industries (including tech) have introduced skill-based certifications. These assessments are focused, intensive, and affordable alternatives to traditional college degrees.

Skill-based hiring is mutually beneficial for candidates and employers. Candidates can apply on the basis of skill tests or certifications, which are more affordable than degrees. Similarly, tech employers can assess candidates for their practical skills and make better hiring decisions.

Is merit-based hiring the future of tech recruitment?

Is it? Well, the world’s tech leaders seem to think so. A third of IBM’s new recruits for the rocket center in West Virginia don’t have traditional 4-year degrees. These employees specialize in cloud computing, application development, help desk support, and cybersecurity.

If IBM prioritizes skill-based hiring, then other employers should definitely follow suit. Unfortunately, a study by Accenture revealed that many business leaders prioritized college degrees over a candidates’ practical skills.

This hiring approach is especially flawed in the tech industry. While some fields, like medicine, require degree-based learning, tech & IT is a different landscape. A tech candidate’s value lies in their skills, so it’s important to prioritize skill testing.

How to initiate skill-based hiring in your tech recruitment funnel

Skill-based hiring doesn’t need to be challenging. With the right strategies, tech employers can optimize their recruitment funnels and guarantee quality hires. Here’s how to get started.

Identify the skills for the role

Before you assess every candidate, first identify the right skill set to evaluate. Technical team managers typically have a good idea of the skill set their team needs. So, tech employers can collaborate with team leaders to outline a list of required skills. When hiring for say, data engineering, data structures is a key skill to look for.

Design a relevant skill test

If you followed step 1, you now know what to look for in a candidate. So, now’s the time to design a relevant skill test. A successful skillset should:

  • Assess for skills relevant to the role
  • Provide candidates with a fair amount of time to complete each question
  • Not be too extensive

Not sure about how to put a skill test together? Try a tech recruitment platform that guides you through the process, like WeCP (We Create Problems).

Conduct the skill-testing in a cheat-proof environment

Cheat-proofing your skill assessment test is vital to guarantee fair evaluation. If candidates cheat on your test, then their scores are unreliable. Consequently, tech employers might prioritize unfit candidates over more capable talent.

You can minimize cheating by conducting the skill test in a cheat-proof environment, like an invigilated venue. Alternatively, you can use an online tech recruitment platform with cheat-proof technology.  These platforms use AI technology, video proctoring, question shuffling, and other means to guarantee fair testing.

Invite candidates for a remote interview

Till now, the steps we’ve discussed cover skill-based hiring. However, merit-based hiring includes vetting candidates for additional qualities, such as their interpersonal skills.

In today’s climate, on-site interviews are less practical because of COVID-19 restrictions and the prevalence of remote work. Fortunately, remote conferencing tools (like WeCP’s interviewing technology) enable tech employers to conveniently interview candidates.

So, invite top performers from the skill tests over for a final interview – then seal the deal.

An ideal way to implement skill-based hiring – tech recruitment platforms

Implementing skill-based hiring is a comprehensive process. Employers have to identify the skills to assess, design custom tests, ensure cheat-proofing, and conduct the test in bulk too.

These processes can be collectively optimized and streamlined with the help of all-in-one tech recruitment platforms, like WeCP (We Create Problems). Tech recruitment platforms offer:

  • Rich repositories of questions. WeCP has over 0.2-million questions in the bank, which assess various skills in different candidates. Whether it’s programming skills, data structures, problem-solving, object-orientated programming, or another tech skill, WeCP always has a question ready for its evaluation.
  • Cheat-proofing technology. Including video and AI proctoring, question shuffling, and industry-leading plagiarism detection.
  • Pair-programming exercises. To assess how applicants work in a team and verify their cultural fit.
  • Integrated video interviewing technology. WeCP provides a virtual platform to conduct a remote interview before finalizing the hiring decision.

With WeCP, tech employers can streamline the hiring process, saving on costs and hiring times significantly. Moreover, if your organization is suffering from an internal skills shortage, our upskilling facilitates can train your existing team.

To learn more about how WeCP (We Create Problems) can help you find the best tech talent, schedule a demo with us. We’ll walk you through the platform and help you devise a custom recruitment strategy.

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