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Recruiting Talent: Skill Set Over Degree

For years you probably have heard that to get a good job you need to first go to college. However, while college is a wonderful training ground for many jobs it should not be the only deciding factor in the modern workplace. The pandemic and the recent labor shortage have caused a shift in thinking for many employers. The hiring process is dynamic and while resumes are a great place to start, they do not tell the story of what an employee brings to the job day in and day out, nor do they identify much more than the traditional credentials. Below we dive into why employees with certain skill sets might be more valuable to your team than an employee with a degree.

Skills or Degree? Think CriticallyWhen Hiring

We encourage employers to think critically and work towards the most diverse and skilled prospective talent for their workforce. Prescreening core skills and beginning with a conversation with potential employees is a great start toward the modern hiring process.

LinkedIn has embraced this thought process since March of 2021 through skills Path, an assessment of a match of the skills needed for a job versus a degree that may or may not apply to the position in need. Skills Path begins with a conversation with the employer identifying the specific skills needed for the role. From there, LinkedIn offers a skills assessment or short quiz for an applicant to demonstrate competency in the required skill. Upon successful completion of the assessment, LinkedIn then notifies a recruiter to schedule a conversation to advance the interview process. While it is still in a pilot phase, Skills Path has been embraced by several fortune 500 corporations including, Microsoft, Citrix, GAP Inc, Ralph Lauren, and Wayfair just to name a few.

Hiring the Best Fit for Your Team

Hiring is a complex process and no one system will get it right all the time. Overlooking millions of qualified applicants due to a single box labeled “degree” not being checked is limiting. It is also not the widest net you could use to grow a diverse and skilled workforce. If you are using a filtering process for new applicants, you may want to consider removing the need for a bachelor’s degree as a requirement for an interview. Many highly qualified employees are applying for jobs that may have taken the originally deemed “nontraditional route” to success.

STAR employees or Skills Through Alternative Routes is a theme coined by Opportunity@Workteam. Hats off to this team for providing the data to better understand the opportunity facing employers when considering the importance of a college degree. If your goal is to expand the talent and diversity of your workforce, it is difficult to deny the number of potential employees overlooked when focusing solely on a college degree as a prerequisite for work.



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