Survey: Skills Based Approach, Validating Skills

During every employment evaluation, a potential employer has to validate your skills based on what you report on your resume. The most common probe is through references by asking them about their experiences with you. In addition, your years of experience with a skill is another commonly used indicator. However, with a professional website, it is much easier to share samples of your work – coursework, publications, or a portfolio. With a skills based approach, the last step is to find ways to validate your skills and then present them.

According to the survey, Skills Based Approach, the highest ranked way to validate a skill is through a sample of work (1.81) and this not surprising for a couple of reasons. First, evaluating a sample of work is completely unbiased. It is possible to review a sample of work and draw your own conclusions; there is no circumstantial evaluation by a reference or professor. Second, samples of work add dimensions to an employment evaluation not available with a standard resume.  I can think of a few examples: a linguist can share a video while they are conversing; an artist or graphic designer can share a portfolio of their work; and a financial analyst can share a catalogue of papers they wrote. And there are many more examples, almost every type of professional career creates some type of work sample.

Many respondents (21%) ranked “certificate from a third-party” first or second. Before the survey, I thought this would be the highest ranked method of verifying a skill set. However, after going through the results of the survey, I realized that the use of certifications is concentrated in certain areas: IT, finance, and accounting.  This explains why some respondents ranked it high, but most respondents ranked it low.

In one question on the survey, I asked whether “years of experience” or “application of a skill” is a better indication of someone’s level of expertise of a skill. Most of the respondents (70.94%) favored the “application of skill” over “years of experience”, though a few respondents (16.24%) “strongly favor” years of experience.

Years Vs Application of Skill
Years Vs Application of Skill

Survey: Employers Seeking Employees, Overview

I designed a survey to get a better understanding about the tendency and circumstance of employers seeking employees by targeting them in web services – a key ingredient for the effectiveness of a pull approach; where you “pull” a potential employer to your professional website. For a pilot study, I distributed the survey anonymously to 92 human resource professionals.  I wrote a five blog series: a general overview of the pilot study (this blog), a short analysis on web services being usedwhether hiring professionals actively search for candidates, the media respondents are willing to use in their evaluation, and how a professional website can be used in the process.

The answer to the question – are employers seeking employees by targeting them in web services – is sometimes and it is becoming more common, though the traditional methods of finding employment remain most important. The respondents are predominately using LinkedIn, MonsterJobs, Career Builder, and Google and 39.1% of them thought the effectiveness of these web services was only average.

All of the respondents are willing to review various types of media while evaluating a potential candidate; the most commonly accepted media includes a professional website, video resume, portfolio, publications, and coursework.

Most of the respondents, 77.2%, agreed that searching on a skill set is an effective way to find a candidate. One suggestion was to have more uniformity with the presentation of a skill set, so there is little variation with the same basic skill (i.e. website development and website design). From the open-ended responses, the general theme is searching on a skill set is the most effective starting point in finding candidates for employment.

The traditional approach, finding and applying to job listings, ranked as the most important factor in getting employed. Social media engagement and professional networking was slightly higher than personal branding, of course there is some overlap between the two. Writing a blog was the lowest ranked factor; though, 12 of the respondents gave “writing a blog” a first or second ranking.

Finding Employment
Finding Employment

Here is some information about my sample.  

  • 92 HR professionals, all in the United States
  • 92.4% of the respondents are over 30 years old and the largest segment (41.9%) is between 45-60; the yardstick set by LinkedIn is 42 years old (the average age of a LinkedIn user).
  • 58.1% of the respondents are women
  • 79.6% have a college degree
  • Over 20 different industries and services are respresented