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Economic and Business Development

Skillful Indiana: Skills Based Hiring Practices for Employers

More companies are making the move from degree-focused hiring to skills-based hiring. Purdue University has partnered with the Markle Foundation to offer Skillful Indiana, an initiative that helps companies identify high-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them, and helps employers find and keep the talent they need to grow by helping them to recruit and hire with a focus on skills. Take your organization to the next level with skills-based practices.

What is Skills-Based Hiring?

Skills-based hiring is a strategy that generates value for both employers and applicants by creating skill-focused job descriptions and evaluating candidates based on specific skills. The three elements of skills-based hiring are:

  1. Remove credential requirements where possible,
  2. Use competencies specific to the job, and
  3. Reduce bias and increase diversity.

It requires a mindset shift—one that encourages an employer to evaluate an individual’s skills and abilities, instead of their background, and rethink job requirements.


By identifying the skills that make someone successful at your company and setting professional development plans from day one, you can find and keep employees that will deeply impact your business:

  • Expand the talent pool
  • Fill jobs faster
  • Improve retention
  • Increase diversity

The Skillful Talent Series helps companies hire based on skills, map professional development plans and develop the skills employees need to be successful. Hiring candidates based on skills helps drive long-term business growth.

How to Implement

Make the change to skills-based practices through the Skillful Talent Series. The free trainings are offered in-person and online. The Skillful Talent Series offers employers step-by-step guidance on skills-based practices and helps employers identify the skills they need for a role within companies and to recognize those skills in candidates, particularly workers without traditional academic credentials, such as a bachelor’s degree, who may otherwise be overlooked.

Earn SHRM Credit

The Skillful Talent Series trainings are certified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). We recommend completing the entire series beginning with session 101. Each training workshop is 2.0 PDCs for SHRM-CP(r) or SHRM-SCP(r). Professionals who attend all four training workshops can receive a total of eight credits towards their 60 hours of professional development credits (PDCs).

Skillful Talent Series Trainings

101: Attract the Right Talent

  • Learn skills-based hiring practices
  • Design job descriptions around competencies needed for the job
  • Broaden your talent pools to all qualified applicants
  • Reduce hidden bias in your hiring process
  • Source and recruit the right talent for your needs

102: Candidate Evaluation

  • Avoid filtering out qualified candidates in the screening process
  • Create interview questions to uncover candidates’ hard and soft skills
  • Select and design an assessment to accurately evaluate candidates’ skills

103: Selection and Onboarding

  • Create guidelines for your selection process to identify and reduce bias
  • Select the best candidate based on their skills
  • Design an effective onboarding program to decrease new hire training time
  • Onboard your new hire and equip them with the tools and skills they need to succeed

104: Employee Retention

  • Identify what skills your new hire has, and what skills they need
  • Set up a training program to upskill new and current employees
  • Create transparent and inclusive advancement opportunities for employees

To learn more about the Indiana Skillful Talent Series or to schedule the trainings, contact Emily Del Real at edelreal@purdue.edu or 765-496-3431.