By: Pranav Ramesh

Skill-based vs. Performance-based Job Descriptions: Do the Differences Matter?

Over 60% of job candidates state that talent acquisitors do not properly communicate what they look for in a perfect applicant. This makes finding the best talent and matching it with the right job posting the biggest challenge a company can face. If you want to start on the right foot with a detailed job description that attracts the right job seekers, you must decide between using a performance-based or skill-based job description.  

What is the difference between a Skill-based and Performance-based job?

Let’s start by taking a look at each job type and seeing what job titles usually fit either a skill-based job description or are designed for performance-based hiring. 

What Is A Skill-Based Job? 

A skill-based job relies solely on the skills and aptitudes of an employee. In this field, both hard and soft skills are equally important and provide the basis for hiring a skill-based job seeker. 

Skill-based recruiters look for an ideal personality type that makes a good match with the company culture and the job responsibilities. 

Examples of skill-based job titles are business managers, social media specialists, lifestyle coaches, graphic designers, and so on. People working in these areas develop personality traits that perfectly fit the job summary and usually advance in their jobs based on their level of skills improvement.  

What Is A Performance-Based Job?  

Performance-based hiring managers do not look for a certain career path in their candidates’ profiles, nor do they try to build an ideal candidate persona. Instead, they break the work into multiple objectives and simply invite the candidates to talk about similar objectives that they’ve reached.  

This is why performance-based jobs can include every job title from construction worker to architect and public relations officer to crisis management diplomat. It all depends on what the human resources manager values the most when looking for the right talent. 

Are skills the determining factor when looking over resumes? Or are you looking for past and ability to fulfill performance objectives? Find out the differences below and learn how to write a great job description. 

What Are The Key Differences Between Skill-Based And Performance-Based Job Descriptions?  

Structure 

A skill-based job description is well-structured. It usually includes a brief introduction of the company culture, an explanation of the role, a bullet list of the skills needed to carry out the job duties, and the benefits gained from becoming an employee. 

A performance-based job description is more free-flowing and depends heavily on the performance objectives of the hiring managers. This job posting has compelling titles, is usually written as stories, and asks the candidates direct questions about what they have done. 

Orientation 

Hiring managers using skill-based job descriptions aim to create an applicant pool that has a desired set of skills and the proven ability to further develop them. Then, they pick out those whose personality fits best with the responsibilities of the job. The end goal of a skill-based job description is to attract talent that is, theoretically, perfectly equipped to fill in the vacancy. 

Performance-based hiring is straightforward with its goals. This type of job post sets out the exact tasks that need to be carried out, an explanation of how they fit into the company mission, and the percentage of time needed to complete the essential job duties. The orientation, in this case, is to bring in qualified candidates that can and want to perform the stated objectives. 

Requirements 

When it comes to the differences in requirements, it’s best to look at specific job description examples: 

A skill-based job description might read: 

  • Basic knowledge of the SAP system, 
  • Critical thinking and adaptability skills, 
  • Ability to work in a team etc. 

Whereas a performance-based hiring manager will look for: 

  • Successfully manage a team of salespeople, 
  • Design, refine, and carry out one personal project quarterly, 
  • Reduce turnover rates by 5% in the sales team etc. 

Voice 

In terms of overall flow and tone of voice, you’ll notice a skill-based job description is written in friendly language. It also offers brief explanations, making sure to attract the candidates with some general soft skills, while still clearly stating the required abilities. 

On the other hand, a performance-based job description may sound demanding and limiting, given how clearly the objectives are stated. These job posts are written in a neutral tone and provide detailed metrics of how the tasks should be carried out. 

Which Is More Effective: Skill-Based Or Performance-Based Job Descriptions? 

Skill-based hiring brings in a diverse candidate pool by not requiring a specific education level or degree, but rather a desired set of skills. The candidates that are convinced to apply are usually a good match for the job responsibilities and once hired, they tend to stay more in the company and upskill themselves. According to LinkedIn data retention was higher by 34% amongst people without a traditional four-year degree and who were recruited based on their skills. 

With performance-based hiring, these advantages remain — retention is high and the applicant pool is diverse, but some other advantages are added. By clearly stating the performance objectives, hiring managers stay focused on the end goal and applicants are typically high-achievers who like to carry out tasks successfully, making them the perfect match for the job.  

Looking for more? 

If you are still undecided and want to write a good job description that will attract the best candidates, check out our blog for more information. Or contact us here and let Gabi Labs, our  AI-powered recruiting engine, take your recruitment strategy to the next level.