Are you having trouble finding talent that fits your company? Top talent could be clicking away from your job posts! When hiring for a given position, many hiring managers often default to the opinion that the candidate with the higher degree of education is the most qualified. “Bachelor’s degree or higher” is added to the list of candidate requirements. But is this causing your hiring managers to overlook well-rounded job candidates with real-world experience? Keep reading to learn more…
While many jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree as part of the vetting process, you could be missing out on high-performing job candidates. Classroom learning absolutely holds value when hiring, putting up an ironclad policy of a 4-year degree requirement will squash your business’s chance at making a possibly perfect connection with self-starting, entrepreneurial folks in the field who don’t hold a degree. Talented candidates with in-field experience, but less than a 4 year degree, will skip over your application when they see that a bachelor’s degree is a concrete requirement. Update your language to use terms like “Bachelor’s degree or equivalent,” or something inclusive of those who hold in-field experience, partial education, trade school certifications within the field. Candidates who are confident in their experience and skill set will feel inclined to apply; the best of those candidates will arrive prepared with metrics, milestones and references as proof of their in-field performance.
Hiring Based on Experience
Simply put, some jobs DO require a formal level of knowledge and specialized training, such as those in legal, medical, scientific, and educational fields. But for positions in fields like marketing, consulting, sales, retail, often times hiring managers will find struggles in the realm of communication and decision-making when hiring based only on years spent in education.
Consider the following example:
- Job candidate A who has a 4 year college degree with no real world experience.
- Job candidate B who does not have a college degree, but has a great reference and 4 years of in-field experience.
When hiring, managers vet candidates based on who is the lower-risk, better investment for our company. While both example candidates meet a certain criteria, take a moment to consider which is the lesser risk of the two hires. Corporate experience often holds more weight than the immediate value of a degree.
Strategic Thinkers & Entrepreneurs
Many candidates without the opportunity of formal college education often jump into office jobs, and and through ambition, initiative, and talent, build skills in day to day business operations, communication, and salesmanship. They work up to more advanced roles and are polished, professional candidates, ready for hire and can easily hit the ground running after a short orientation within the company. Whether it’s by strategically accumulating skills in a field on their own accord, or picking up sales and interpersonal skills, technical skills, or taking classes as their schedule permits, a good careerist will always learn as they work.
Is a 4-year degree necessary?
This is a question that goes on a case-by-case basis. There are the obvious fields, such as those that have someone’s life, education, or legal matters on the line, where a certain level of certification/schooling is fully required by law to practice in that field. But if you’re in the gray area and the knowledge accumulated by a degree isn’t a concrete requirement for high performance in the job position in question, then you should absolutely open up that filter in your stream of candidates.