Skilled Trades Hiring

In today’s competitive job market, employers often rely on resumes as the primary tool for evaluating candidates. However, when it comes to hiring in the skilled trades industry, this traditional approach may not always be the most effective. In fact, relying solely on resumes can sometimes lead to missed opportunities and overlooked talent. Let’s take a closer look at why resumes fall short in the skilled trades hiring process and explore alternative methods for finding the right candidates.

, BlueRecruit

  1. Skills vs. Degrees: Unlike many white-collar professions where degrees hold significant weight, the skilled trades are all about hands-on experience and certifications. While a degree may be of value in some industries, it doesn’t necessarily reflect a candidate’s ability to perform the job effectively. In the skilled trades, what matters most is what you can do, and work an employee is legally authorized to perform (certifications).
  2. Limited Scope: Resumes typically follow a standard format, highlighting education, work experience, and skills. However, this format doesn’t always capture the full range of skills and experiences that are relevant in the skilled trades. For example, a candidate’s proficiency with specific tools and equipment, problem-solving abilities, and on-the-job training may not be adequately represented on a resume.
  3. Underrepresentation of Non-Traditional Candidates: Skilled trades are often seen as male-dominated fields, but there’s a wealth of talent among women, minorities, and individuals from non-traditional backgrounds. Unfortunately, resumes can perpetuate biases and overlook these candidates if they don’t fit the conventional mold. By relying solely on resumes, employers may miss out on diverse perspectives and valuable contributions to their teams. For example, at any given time roughly 38% of BlueRecruit Job Seekers are women and 14% are Veterans.
  4. Keyword Errors: Job boards primarily operate by attempting to match keywords within a resume with job posts. Well here is the problem, an Automotive Painter and an Exterior Residential Painter will likely both trigger that keyword, but of course their skillsets are vastly different. Yet another reason traditional resumes are ineffective for the unique qualification requirements of the skilled trades.

So, if resumes aren’t the answer, what’s the alternative? In the skilled trades industry, many employers are turning to more holistic approaches to hiring that go beyond the traditional resume. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Skills Assessments: Instead of relying solely on what candidates say they can do, put their skills to the test. Implementing hands-on skills assessments or practical tests can provide valuable insights into a candidate’s abilities and how they perform under pressure. A great way to measure skillsets is by including a “ride along” as part of the interview process.
  2. Behavioral Interviews: In addition to asking about past experiences, conduct behavioral interviews to assess how candidates approach problem-solving, communicate with team members, and handle challenging situations. This can give employers a better understanding of a candidate’s fit for the role and the company culture.
  3. Networking and Referrals: Tap into your professional network and encourage employee referrals. Often, the best candidates come through word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted colleagues and industry contacts.

By rethinking the traditional hiring process and embracing alternative methods for evaluating candidates, employers in the skilled trades industry can better identify top talent and build stronger, more diverse teams. It’s time to move beyond the limitations of resumes and unlock the full potential of skilled trades hiring.



To optimize your skilled trades hiring process, as stated, it’s crucial to explore alternative methods beyond traditional resumes. For a more in-depth understanding of how BlueRecruit optimizes your skilled trades hiring, Click Here.