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Two decades ago, the hiring process for most companies changed drastically. Almost overnight, the phenomenon of “inflation in degrees” gained momentum. Jobs that previously did not require candidates to complete higher education now had jobs that indicated that they even needed to be considered for the position.
Think of it this way: even though jobs hadn’t changed, companies began adding a title as a requirement to their job descriptions. Now, with the effects of the pandemic on job cuts, pressure on hiring managers to fill a large number of open positions has increased. Often, these managers now receive applications from people who do not meet the required educational qualifications listed in the job offers.
Since the 2008 economic recession, the method of hiring education first is in decline. In contrast, many companies are adopting competency-based recruitment strategies to deal with the influx of applicants who may not have the necessary educational qualifications. In the last year alone, LinkedIn has seen a 21% increase in job openings in the United States that include skills and responsibilities rather than qualifications and academic requirements. The question is: would a skills-based hiring strategy lead to better hiring decisions in your company?
Related: Hiring a generation without university degrees
Why a college degree is not always the answer
At TheSoul, we know that a college degree is not everything. Especially in today’s job market, where more and more employers are reducing qualification requirements for entry-level positions. The number of jobs that do not require a degree increased by about 40% in 2020 compared to 2019. Demand for higher-level jobs is also down: 46% less for intermediate-level jobs and 31% for jobs of high-level work.
Why is this the case? From your company to your hiring manager and your new employee, a skills-based hiring process creates a win-win situation for all parties involved. Potential employees who were previously overlooked will be able to follow rewarding career paths without having a degree, and your company will be better able to fill open positions.
If your company wants to start taking a competency-based approach to hiring, you need to consider its short- and long-term benefits. These benefits include:
1. Get access to a larger and more diverse talent group
Your company may lose hiring an exceptional candidate if you do not have the necessary education for the position. This happens when employers place too much importance on the qualifications of candidates, which can lead to hiring decisions being motivated by a phenomenon known as unconscious bias. As a result, companies blindly and immediately eliminate potential candidates for different positions.
As a result, your company will not have the opportunity to interview candidates who do not meet the educational requirements. This runs the risk of excluding people who might have been a great choice for the site and your business as a whole. Poor hiring decisions like these will restrict the talent group to choose from and, as a result, negatively affect your business.
Companies need to see hiring in a new way. Any candidate who adapts well to a company, has a strong work ethic and is willing to learn, it is worth hiring him, regardless of his training.
Companies like yours can match the playing field by evaluating potential new hires according to their skill sets rather than their formal education, allowing hiring managers to open positions to a diverse group of applicants. Overall, this increases the likelihood of a successful hiring process.
Related: How to make people, not resumes, your hiring priority
2. Relate the best employee to the most appropriate position
While many hiring managers want this to be the case, regardless of the applicant’s education, there is no guarantee that someone who has graduated from college will be successful in the business world.
In today’s work climate, companies no longer need to see a candidate’s college degree as an indicator of having the hard, soft skills needed to succeed in the position. From pre-employment tests to certifications and work history, there are many ways in which your company can directly verify a candidate’s technical skills without resorting to the unconscious bias of favoring degrees.
The goal of competency-based hiring is to emulate the experience of working in the position for which a potential employee is considered. For example, a copywriter may be subjected to written assessments tailored to the company to ensure a good match between the employee and the actual work involved.
By testing the job before committing to the job, candidates can get out of the hiring process if they don’t think they are a good choice for the job. That way, when a candidate is finally hired, they not only adapt better to the position, but also want to start and learn more about your company.
3. It allows greater loyalty and retention of employees
When you think long-term, you need to remember that people hired through skill-based hiring are more likely to stay longer in your business. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that employees without a traditional four-year degree stayed in their companies 34% more than those who had a degree.
At TheSoul, we are proud to state that we often hire applicants who have no degree. In our experience, headless candidates are as capable of learning the details of different job assignments as those with a degree. In addition, like us, you can offer your employees on-the-job training programs that keep them happier and more engaged as they continually improve. As a result, you will have a candidate who can be a vital asset to your business for a long time.
Related: Why the traditional 4-year degree no longer cuts it
By prioritizing skills over a candidate’s educational qualifications, you can ensure that your team has the potential to grow, adapt to challenges, and constantly push the boundaries of innovation in your industry.