Seek Intelligence over Education
his one is for all the human resources professionals and hiring managers out there. Why did you begin your HR career? Did you love serving people? Did you thrive in communication?
Human resources can be an extremely rewarding department to work for. You are at the forefront of seeking talent. You will help new hires get adjusted. You are often the first decision maker during the beginning portion of the hiring process.
When the job search is posted, and the applications start pouring in, I really do understand the need for efficiency. You need to know who these people are, and why they are worthy of the job you have pressure to fill. However, I have seen this need for efficiency shift into an unparalleled check-box mentality. Online applications force potential employees to categorize themselves by way of experience, education level and more. If an applicant doesn’t check the right boxes or have the right keywords on their resume, they are not considered for the position. More times than not, the check-box-mentality disqualifies applicants without a college degree.
The question I’d like to pose to you today is: How can you determine willingness-to-learn, positive attitude, motivation and humility from an online application?
The answer is: you can’t.
Corporate talent seekers have developed a priority list for these things. Education first, experience second and if you have a good personality, that’s an added bonus. By sticking to these priorities, organizations limit their selection of candidates to the approximate 35% of working adults with at least a bachelor’s degree.*
Do you remember why you began your HR career? Was it for the likely and honorable reason that you wanted to help people?
If it was, help PEOPLE. Prioritize their personality in the hiring process. Reformat it to categorize strong work ethic, personality and drive over the level of formal education that person holds a diploma for. By doing so you are:
If an applicant feels like they will be discounted for a position due to their level of formal education, they might try to hide their lack thereof. This candidate might have experience that qualifies them for the position 10 times over. Highlighting that your company encourages education in a non-traditional sense opens the door to many more qualified people that could fit your exact job description. If the candidate receives a job offer, it also begins their journey with the company by telling them that they are worthy as a person.
Diving deep into candidate’s abilities
In today’s workforce, candidates don’t stay with companies as long as they used to. Their skills list and experience repertoire are likely highly diverse. Even if the candidate doesn’t have a college degree, are they making up for it in their experience? Personally, I felt motivated to work even harder than the guy with the degree because I lacked one. This attitude pressured me to gain as much relevant experience as possible and has paid off.
Seeking Intelligence over Education
Part of me wonders if the current business world will look back and realize that the rigid higher education structure isn’t the best way to teach people. Some of the smartest and brightest people I’ve met don’t have a diploma framed on their wall. Some people with strings of acronyms behind their names struggle to think for themselves. The point is, you can’t tell by a checked box on an online application, you need to meet the person to see if what they hold is strictly higher education or clear-cut intelligence. In my experience, someone pursuing what they need to know, rather than believing they know it already is much more valuable in the long run.
Recognizing professionals as people
Even if they don’t get the job, giving a diverse group a chance to help you achieve your original goal as an HR professional. You have helped people as people. You’ve given them equal opportunity to showcase their talent in a personal way. In rearranging your hiring process, your company can acknowledge future employees are worthy of its time regardless of the “boxes” they check.