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  • Michael Melendrez

Hire for Skills, Not College Degrees!

It’s no secret that degree inflation has made four year diplomas a prerequisite for jobs at all levels. Many founders and recruiters won’t even consider applicants who don’t show up with a degree in hand. Sound familiar?

It’s true that having a two or four year degree in any major shows discipline, work ethic, maturity and experience. However, a degree alone can’t tell you everything you need to know about a candidate. Skill-based hiring is an open minded approach that considers the whole person, not just their major when looking for a good fit.

Education-Based Hiring is Outdated

Unfortunately, some companies fall into a trap by setting degree requirements and prioritizing an applicant's education over other skills. Automated screening software makes it even easier to overlook candidates if they don’t check off the right degree box.

A “No MBA? We’re not interested!” approach will prolong your search for qualified people. If you have your heart set on an MBA and exclude applicants without that qualification, you might overlook someone with the skills, value and culture that you really need to transform your company. Worse still, you could end up with someone who is perfect on paper, but has a terrible personality or communication style that isn’t right for your team.

By flipping the script, and treating an applicant's personality and hard and soft skills as equal in value to their degree, you are going to build a stronger, and more diverse team.

The Benefits of Skill-Based Hiring

  • A larger, more diverse candidate pool

  • Find and hire quality candidates more quickly

  • Use competency assessments to compare candidates

  • Enjoy higher retention rates

  • Build a team that is unique

Don’t Forget, It’s a Candidate’s Market

It’s a candidate market which means job seekers are often fielding multiple interviews and job offers simultaneously! Competition for the best of the best is high, so you simply can’t afford to narrow your pool by disqualifying skilled applicants based solely on their degree.

If that is scary to you, consider that a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, found that only 27 percent of college graduates work in a field related to their major! The majority of those in the workforce are thriving without a degree directly related to their career. Go figure.

Ultimately, both employers and employees win when hiring is focused on skills and culture fit. After all, you don’t want to build a team of people who have exactly the same background or experience. That’s so boring!

Diversity promotes innovation and hiring people who think and work outside the box, or in this case college degree, is a savvy business move.


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