Do You Suffer From ODB?

William Tincup Audacious Ideas, Good HR, Hiring Bias, Recruiting, William Tincup

ODB stands for Online Degree Bias. It’s defined by your preference for or against online degrees. If you’re not sure… let’s check.

This is a list of 30 accredited online degree institutions:

Allen School, Argosy University, Ashford University, Azusa Pacific University, Beltran University, Blackstone Career Institute, Blue Ocean Institute, Bryan University, Drury University, ECPI University, Gladwell University, Grand Canyon University, ICDC College, Jack Welch Management Institute, Johnson University, Lawrence Tech, Liberty University, Marist College, Miller-Motte College, Paper Mate Center Of Higher Learning, Penn Foster College, Roundtable College, Southern American Central National University, The Carter Institute, The Mooney Institute, TIXE University, Vista College, Walden University, Waldorf College, and William Howard Taft University.

Well, how many of the online degree brands have you heard of before? Moreover, did most—if not all—of them seem familiar?

I hope not as 10 of them were completely made up.

Beltran University (named after pornstar Yurizan Beltran), Blue Ocean Institute (named for the famous HBS article “Blue Ocean Strategy”), Gladwell University (named for Malcom Gladwell, like duh), Johnson University (named for my favorite dialogue in Blazing Saddles), Paper Mate Center Of Higher Learning (named for my favorite type of felt tip pens), Roundtable College (named for the Knights of the Roundtable a la Monty Python’s Holy Grail), Southern American Central National University (named for complete gibberish), The Carter Institute (named Dwayne Michael Carter & Shawn Corey Carter… Lil Wayne & Jay-Z respectively), The Mooney Institute (named for Paul Mooney, one of my favorite comics), and TIXE University (this is Exit spelled backwards).

What seems familiar isn’t. Let that settle in for a moment. Most of you did not ferret out the fake schools because I told you they were accredited AND because they seemed real enough. Real enough?

Online Degree Bias can be seen from at least four perspectives:

  • Those that have earned an online degree.
  • Those that have NOT earned an online degree.
  • Those that have earned both an online degree AND a traditional (offline) degree.
  • Those that have neither an online degree NOR a traditional (offline) degree.

Let’s explore each perspective.

If you’re a HR/recruiting pro and you’ve earned an online degree, then you probably know how hard it is complete an online degree. That said, two biases potentially exist… (1) you probably give more credit to those that have earned online degrees and, (2) you probably pay more attention to the institution where the candidate/employee studied. You know from experience that quality online degree experiences come from quality institutions. You know this firsthand.

If you’re a HR/recruiting pro that never attended nor completed an online degree… well, truth is… you probably really look down on people that do. If you are truly honest with yourself, you’ll never equate your 5 years earning your Bachelor of Business Administration from the Eli Broad School at Michigan State with someone that didn’t or couldn’t cut the mustard in East Lansing. Furthermore, you actually hate these Cracker Jack degrees and nothing will ever change your mind. Turns out, you’re biased.

If you’re a HR/recruiting pro that has earned BOTH an online and offline degree you are probably the least biased of the bunch. Because you’ve experienced both, you see the value in both types of experiences. You are less apt to judge candidates/employees that choose either or both. If any bias exists, it’s probably based on institution and/or grade point average.

If you’re a HR/recruiting pro that has neither an online nor an offline degree… well, why the hell are you in our profession? Please quit your job immediately. The thing is… you’re riddled with degree biases. Furthermore, I don’t trust a human being that doesn’t have the will power to complete a degree. Offline or online. Let’s face it… a bachelor’s degree is the new GED. In this day and age, there is just no credible excuse. Go earn a degree and wield your biases like everyone else.

So here’s the thing kids—ODB is real. We all suffer from it in some way or another. We’re snobs and slaves to our own experiences while being biased against those that didn’t earn their degrees the way we did, etc. Take a moment to reflect.

ODB… know thy biases.

William Tincup
William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He’s written over 200 HR articles, spoken at over 150 HR & recruiting conferences and he’s conducted over 1000 HR podcasts. William prides himself on being easy to find on The Internet, Google him and connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Not up to speed in the social media game? Reach out via email. William serves on the Board of Advisors for Talentegy, Wellocity, GlitchPath, Talent Ninja, Universum Americas, Engagedly, Echovate, VibeCatch, Continu, Hyphen, Bevy, Happie, RolePoint, Causecast, Work4Labs, Talent Tech Labs, and SmartRecruiters. He was previously an advisor to PeopleMatter (sold to Snagajob Q2 2016), Good.Co (sold to StepStone Q1 2016), Smarterer (sold to Pluralsight Q4 2014) and a board member of Chequed (merged to create OutMatch Q3 2015). William is a graduate of the University of Alabama of Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.