Stop using degrees: there are better ways to screen candidates

The CIPD is calling for employers to focus on skills and potential rather than qualifications as a measure of capability amongst jobseekers.

We couldn’t agree more, that is why we have put together this post summarising their findings. We also know that just saying these things is easy, but actually doing something about it is another thing altogether. So in this post we have gone one step further and have outlined how you actually go about focusing on skills and potential to select the right talent.

The CIPD report in a nutshell:

The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, discovered that the majority of senior decision makers use qualifications as an easy way to just ‘sift’ large volumes of applications.

They state that this is concerning because, by having such a narrow focus on qualifications, employers could be missing out on key talent, exacerbating skills gaps, and reducing employment opportunities for people. Many of those surveyed (33%) acknowledge that university candidates are poorly prepared for the workplace. Yet they continue to use degrees as a filtering mechanism.

So why the disconnect?

Sifting vast quantities of applicants by degree qualifications used to work.

40 years ago only the top 5% went to university, so it was a good measure of success. But that was a long time ago. Now, in 2022, up to 40% go to university and a one size fits approach no longer works.
(Read our White Paper on Graduate hiring for more detail).

The good news is that the world has moved on and there are now much more sophisticated ways of finding people that match your job requirements. There are solutions that reveal Human and Hard Skills to properly understand whether a candidate is a good fit and able to execute the demands of the job.

Skills-based hiring: how to do it

The CIPD’s call to action comes at a time when the UK is facing a tight labour market and firms are struggling to find the skills they need. This means that skills-based hiring couldn’t be more vital and relevant, and thankfully there are tried and tested ways to do it.

At Cognisess we have spent the last 10 years developing a platform that matches people to jobs based on Human and Hard skills. The first platform on the market that comprehensively assesses all aspects of skill and is now used by over 300,000 people. It works by using Deep Learn Artificial Intelligence to probe what people are really capable of doing. It does this by properly understanding the language and nuance of skill.
(Read our guide on creating a skills-based organisation to find out how this cutting-edge AI tool works)

In addition to AI based skills mapping we also evaluate cognition, behaviour, values, and personality. This gives an understanding of not just the skills people can do today, but their potential to acquire new skills, and the type of work that will give them job satisfaction.

Our holistic platform gives employers a successful way to  meet the CIPD’s call to action and do comprehensive skills-based hiring at scale. With tried and tested technology, it is easy to use, affordable at scale, and can rapidly assess thousands of people. Also, our game-based assessments and ATS are easy and fun to use for candidates; enhancing your reputation as a company that cares about it’s people.

Please get in touch to find out more:

We’d love to tell you about how we are helping organisations from Coca Cola to Central Government to create a strategic approach to skill and rise above the skills gap.


Because in 2022 there really is no excuse for not acting on the CIPDs call for action to stop using degrees for candidate screening.

Because in 2022 there is no need to limit your pool of talent and be left wondering why your employees are leaving their jobs.

Because in 2022 the route to employee success is simply good skills-based jobs matching.

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© Cognisess Limited, 2021