Professional Positions Available! College Degree NOT Required!

Surprise! The newest trend in professional recruiting is that candidates don’t need an actual college degree!

Yeah, you know that thing you automatically put into your job description before you add anything else. So, you’re hiring a manager of project development, what degree is that? You need a Business Analyst, what school do you want them to come from? Does a head of recruitment have a degree in HR or Business?  How about none of the above!

In the past year, more and more employers on the world stage have come out and made a pretty radical decision to no longer require candidates to have degrees. Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and Penguin Random House are three recent organizations that have all eliminated formal education as a requirement to get a job with their organization.

So, why is this happening?

This all started in IT. Giant tech companies around the world couldn’t find enough IT talent. When they looked at why, one major reason was that HR was requiring candidates to have college degrees. Many of the best IT candidates weren’t even old enough to go to college! Also, many of the skills they needed for their IT talent weren’t being taught on campus, but being picked up in parents’ basements on laptops, mostly being self-taught.

From there, other parts of the business started looking at what IT was doing to solve their talent shortage. If IT could find great talent that doesn’t have a degree, what other parts of businesses could do the same? This doesn’t say college campuses are dry of talent; all it says is, why the heck would we ignore a giant part of the population that might already be brilliant, but decided not to go to university and get a degree? In fact, some might argue the ones who didn’t go spend six figures to get a degree might be more brilliant!

I sat in on a presentation that the head of HR for Penguin Random House, Neil Morrisson, gave where his team proved through their extensive hiring analytics that degrees had no correlation, in their environment, to the quality of hire and performance level in their organization. Yes, you read that correctly. Deloitte and E&Y had similar conclusions.

What all of these organizations are finding is that using college education as your primary filter is too encompassing to your selection process. Basically, we’ve gotten so refined in our screening processes on the top side that we miss great talent that wasn’t allowed to get through into the later stages.

I’ve asked the question to organizations that have made this decision, does this mean my degree doesn’t get me ready to work at your company? All of them came right back at me with, “Tim, tell us, how much of your college degree do you use right now in your job?” To be honest, it’s a very low percentage. That was their point. For most people it’s a very low percentage, yet you still require it and use it as your primary knockout screen.

This trend is not going to stop. Talent is getting harder and harder to find, which means organizations will begin to look at what others are doing. Not using college education as a screener is one tool. Non-traditional forms of education and self-paced learning are another. In the end, we all need talent, and much of that talent we need to come to our organization, trained and ready to work.

So, is your organization eliminating the need for candidates to have a formal college degree to work for you? Hit me in the comments!

Fistful of Talent partners with great HR and TA technology companies that are changing the face of recruitment. Udacity is one of our Sponsors in the Nanodgree space that is changing how we all hire talent. Udacity is building a new pipeline of tech talent to fill in-demand roles in fields such as web & mobile development, data analysis, and machine learning. Udacity candidates have completed rigorous Nanodegree programs, co-created by industry-leading companies like Google and Facebook, to ensure that they develop the most cutting-edge skill sets.  Candidates are pre-vetted through these programs based on comprehensive code reviews and their completion of real-world projects, which can be used to demonstrate their skills to hiring managers. Visit https://www.udacity.com/hire-talent to find your next great hire.

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Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at www.timsackett.com. Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.

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