“It’s what you know, not how you got it”

Over 20 years ago, SkillSurvey began pursuing the idea of ​​improving reference checking in hiring processes. Back then, the company launched the first ever digital reference checking platform SkillSurvey Reference. To date, the platform has been used by over 50 million applicants and over 4,500 employers.

While being more efficient is one of the primary goals of SkillSurvey’s work, making better hiring decisions and doing so in a compliant manner are the other two. When it comes to compliance, the career-focused business aims to reduce bias in hiring. SkillSurvey focuses on an individual’s relevant “soft skills” for a job rather than the other factors that can often influence decisions such as employment history, educational institution and demographic factors. Employers can assess job candidates based on their full potential, not just their connections.

From the perspective of Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governors University, “It’s what you know, not how you got it.” This idea resonates with Ray Bixler, the president of SkillSurvey, as he is determined to rid reference checking of any bias. Traditional reference checking, done through phone calls and reference letters, produces considerable bias. However, SkillSurvey’s platform strives to eliminate bias, and the company’s research shows no bias on the part of the platform towards any demographic group.

SkillSurvey’s platform also helps companies with their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. For example, the company provides a standardized methodology to enable consistent use across all candidates, offers a library of job-specific surveys that ensures only relevant information is requested, uses neutral language in behavioral items of the survey and validates behavioral work skills in relation to success in working in various employee groups and positions. The platform helps organizations hire people who are committed to working in an inclusive environment. Most importantly, all surveys measure the degree to which a candidate has demonstrated behaviors related to DEI promotion.

According to Bixler, the referral platform also helps level the playing field for candidates who work very hard but may not be good at interviews. He shared, “And let’s not forget that not everyone is an ‘interview star.’ A lot of people are introverted or not the most confident when interviewing for a new position. others, their references, sharing their successes can entice non-interviewing stars to push forward to get an offer.

In 2022, SkillSurvey launched a new platform for colleges and universities – SkillSurvey Career Readiness – which allows students to gather feedback from people they have worked with while completing an internship, apprenticeship or work project. similar. This feedback helps students and their institutions get hard data on their soft skills as perceived by their supervisors. According to Bixler, students who use the platform get “personalized insight into their professional skills and how their work behavior compares to other students nationwide, and gain a better understanding of how they are progressing in the areas most sought after by employers. compared to how they rate themselves in a self-assessment. »

The intention of the career readiness platform is to help students be better prepared for jobs as well as help others who may not have a college degree to showcase their skills general when considered for employment. Research shows that students who can successfully communicate the specific skills they learn through internships and other work-related opportunities are much more likely to find employment.

Bixler’s goal is “to help individuals post a ‘My Soft Skills’ report to their digital portfolios and other online profiles, such as LinkedIn, as another way to show they are ‘ready for career” from the point of view of people who have lived their experience. work.” Bixler added that “we also believe work experience matters more than a degree.”

It is essential that job candidates understand how to perform the specific work involved in a job – the “hard skills” – but research shows that it is having the “soft skills” that leads to successful jobs. employees. For example, a salesperson needs to be able to track their deals and forecast their pipeline, and a data analyst needs to know how to use software to analyze data. These are data. Yet it is the soft skills that matter most to an employee’s success. As Bixler shared, “How a person collaborates, communicates, and helps solve problems are the soft skills needed to work in today’s environment. Without strong soft skills, workers will fail in their work. “

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