Remote Work & Culture

What Is Skills-Based Hiring? And What Does It Mean for Remote Work Candidates & Team Members?

Picture this:

You’re searching for a job and come across a posting that seems awesome and you feel is the perfect match. You keep scrolling to read more. And that’s when you encounter the qualifications section.


It’s loaded with requirements for hyper-specific degrees or certifications, decades of experience and master-level proficiency in certain software.

“Well,” you think to yourself, “I guess that counts me out.”

Think again. 

In the hiring world of today, things are shifting – companies are focusing less on degree- and pedigree-based hiring and more on skills-based hiring and competency-based hiring.

So what does that mean for you, as a remote professional?

What is skills-based hiring?

Skills-based hiring focuses on your skills rather than your degrees, the schools you attended, your job titles, or even your industry experience. Instead, it focuses on the soft and transferable skills that might better determine your success at a company.

Pre-pandemic, pedigree-based hiring and degree-based hiring were so common that HR and recruitment teams onboarded technology to help them sift through resumes scanning for different requirements and terms – rejecting those that didn’t meet the lengthy (and, honestly, sometimes insane) list of qualifications.

But once COVID hit, 73% of U.S. domestic workers had some sort of negative job impact, from reduced hours to losing their job entirely. The employer market responded by focusing on skills as tons of Americans changed careers entirely.

Instead, it’s inclusive of otherwise qualified candidates who would’ve been excluded in the past due to their degree(s) – or lack thereof.

Now, this isn’t to say those accreditations you might have put a lot of time and energy into obtaining are no longer relevant.


Obviously, there are industries where minimum education requirements are legally mandated – like health care, education, and legal). But a degree is not a direct reflection of competence. For industries that can adopt a skills-based mindset, the talent pool won’t be so exclusive. It can expand, bringing in diverse candidates who may be just as, if not more, qualified as those who hold a certain degree or certification. A more level playing field for all!

What are the benefits of skills-based hiring for remote work-seekers or team members?

  • More opportunities are available to you. Did you know that up to 30 million in the U.S. have the skills to earn 70% more? Maybe that number includes you. That said, when companies focus on skills (rather than degrees), more meaningful, higher-wage opportunities open up for greater (and fair) career progression.
  • Increased focus on portable skills. Also known as transferable skills, these are what you’ve acquired from basically any role you’ve taken on – from volunteering to education, internships, and previous jobs. And they’re called “portable” for a reason because you can take them with you wherever you go, giving you a leg up – no matter how unmatched your skill set might be for a specific role. After all, it’s difficult to teach such portable skills like adaptability, resilience, emotional intelligence, communication, and critical thinking.
  • Improved company culture. Diversity and inclusion is important to company culture. And skills-based hiring can help give it a boost by increasing representation while also allowing you the chance to take in fresh insights from colleagues of vastly different backgrounds and experiences.
  • Ongoing opportunities to re-skill and skill-up. When companies adopt a skills-based mindset, it doesn’t start and end with the recruitment process. It should continue into onboarding and employee engagement. What does this mean for you? The chance to expand upon your existing skill set and knowledge and move up within a company.

What are the remote work skills you need to land an opportunity?

  • Digital Communication: It’s important to have clear, effective and polite digital communication skills when communicating remotely across different platforms, like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Familiarize yourself with these tools and how to use them so you can seamlessly integrate yourself into a remote team.
  • Organization: Many remote teams use platforms (see Tech-Savvy skill below) that streamline project management and communication. Stay organized on these platforms and implement a system of your own (whether digital – think a calendar, or tangible – like a planner or whiteboard) to keep track of all the moving parts and pieces of your remote job.
  • Tech-Savvy: This is somewhat of a no-brainer when it comes to integrating into the remote workforce. No matter the remote opportunity you’re looking for, you need to have a solid degree of tech-savviness. Common tools and software used by remote teams include: Asana, ClickUp and other task management platforms; Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, etc.); Grammarly; HubSpot; Slack; and Zoom.
  • Time Management: Finding success as a remote team member requires focus, dedication and solid time management. You must be motivated to create a clean, distraction-free workspace where you feel inspired. Check your digital team communication channels and frequently prioritize your to-do list. And experiment with a routine that works for you so you can find your ideal work-life balance.
  • Adaptable: Things can change quickly when you’re working in a tech-forward world. Companies are continually advancing and evolving their systems, software and strategy to stay ahead of the curve. Prove you have what it takes to learn new skills and tools and are open to change. You want to be someone your team can count on when hiccups arise. 

Obviously, there are many more skills you should be eager to add to your toolkit and build upon your existing expertise. However, we’ve found that when armed with the above (to start), remote team members really can thrive. 

Join forces with a company that puts your skills first, like Instant Teams.

We’re talking the talk and walking the walk when we say we’re “skills-focused.” From Directors to Managers to Team Leads to our full Remote Teams, we put skills, aptitude, and remote readiness above pedigree. Frequent moves and the demands of military life can make changing careers and translating your skills into new opportunities a challenge.

Want to start a career that isn’t focused on your work experience or employment gaps? We’ve reinvented the traditional resume to allow for a closer look into who you are and the value you bring to the remote work table.

Our exclusive skills-based matching technology focuses on you and your one-of-a-kind skills, pinpointing the best match out of the remote team positions we have available (hence why your list of relevant skills within your Story is so important!).