Employer
Published 28 August, 2020

Is Educational Qualification Still Relevant and Reliable as a Hiring Screen? (5 minutes read)

According to a survey, around 50% of job applications are rejected because a candidate does not fit the qualifications requirement of a firm, irrespective of skills and experience. Many companies place the highest importance to qualifications, or a pedigree institute when it comes to hiring. However, qualifications may simply be an attractive book cover, and as they say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. To fairly judge a book, and form an impression about it, one has to dwell deeper. Similarly, a candidate brings more to the table than just his educational background, like presentational skills, vocational skills, hobbies, and overall personality.

This doesn’t mean qualification has no role to play. It establishes that the candidate sitting in front of you has studied hard, and gained knowledge in his/her field of expertise. But a hiring company misses their mark when they prioritize qualification and overlooks the underlying fact that the application of knowledge comes from the problem- solving skills of a candidate.

Hence, restricting to degree when it comes to hiring can rob an organisation from acquiring top talent. With recent popularity of online education, people don’t limit themselves to just what they have studied in their respective educational institutes. For example- A coder can be good even if he/she doesn’t have an IT background. Plethora of online educational websites have made this change possible, and listed below ae a few of them:

  1. Unacademy- It is one of India’s largest learning platforms, initially started as a Youtube channel. The varied courses offered on this popular platform varies from study material for students preparing for civil services, bank jobs etc, to personality development skills like English, programming, campus placements, and many more.
  1. Udemy- Udemy has gained popularity mainly due to the endless content it offers. Apart from offering courses on traditional subjects, Udemy’s goal is to disrupt and democratize the education system with courses like hand weaving and clowning.
  1. edX- It is one of the best providers of college-level online courses. Most of the courses on edX can be taken for free. edX offers over 2,500 courses on different subjects including Biology & Life Sciences, Architecture, Chemistry, Art & Culture, Electronics, Education & Teacher Training, Medicine, Food & Nutrition, Physics, Science, Music, Law, History, Language, and Environmental Studies. Most courses are available in English, but there are also some courses in Chinese, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, etc.
  1. Coursera- It is an online learning platform that offers university-level courses and certification programs. The courses are taught by instructors from top companies and universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Princeton. There are courses available in many languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and more. Some of the courses' topics are Arts and Humanities, Business, Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Health, Math and Logic, Personal Development.

In present times, the difference can be felt as according to a survey conducted by TimesJob, 53% of the hiring managers think that being skilled is more important in order to get a job, whereas qualifications were given the least importance. This is why various online platforms have emerged which offers skill assessment services. 82% of companies use some form of candidate assessment testing, and hence these platforms help people to get placed by polishing their skills, irrespective of their qualifications.

  1. Mettl Mettl is an online platform that conducts tests to measure candidates' abilities in various domains, making it a talent measurement expert. The Mettl platform assists in administrating assessments that evaluate knowledge, skills, way of thinking and behaviour at the workplace.
  1. CodejudgeCodejudge is a fast growing startup that helps developers demonstrate their skills by building micro projects and getting fast-tracked job offers basis their performance on the platform.
  1. Project Euler- It provides a large collection of challenges in the domain of computer science and mathematics. The challenges typically involve writing a small program to figure out the solution to a clever mathematical formula or equation, such as finding the sum of digits of all numbers preceding each number in a series.
  1. GitHub - This is a platform where technology professionals can showcase their body of work. It also has various other uses like code storing etc.
  1. Behance - This is a platform for design professionals. Irrespective of one’s education, an impressive profile on Behance goes a long way in paving the way for great job opportunities for candidates in the design and UI/UX space.
  1. Kaggle – This is like the GitHub for analytics and data science professionals.

Apart from assessing candidates on hard skills, it is imperative to have a reliable process to assess softer skills and non negotiables like ethics, people centricity ,team skills , decision making etc.

There is a very powerful video on YouTube where few of the most successful people explain why one doesn’t need to have a college degree in order to be successful in the business world. To checkout the video please click here

The thing to keep in mind is that the selected candidate should be a good fit for the company’s culture and also be able to take it forward. While qualifications can get a candidate inside, they may not help in his/her survival in the organisation if he/she lacks the required skills, experience, or the temperament for a particular environment.

Moreover, greater emphasis on qualifications can encourage malpractices, which may be unintended on the candidate’s part. For example – misrepresentation of educational background in one’s resume as the candidate strongly believes that he/she is right for the position and possesses the required skills but due to the rigid qualification policy of the company, has no other choice expect to lie.

The idea of paying less attention to degrees may seem far- fetched, but it isn’t very far from home. 

Glassdoor recently compiled a list of top employers who are expanding their options by hiring applicants without college degrees. Google, IBM, Penguin Random House, Apple, Hilton, are some of the big names included in this list. What they are looking for instead of qualifications is hands on experience in the fields they are hiring for.

Apart from showing a new way to the hiring industry by taking a modern approach, these companies have managed to create a buzz which has evidently made them stand out in front of their competitors.

Hence, when it comes to building a healthy reputation of your company, “acceptance” and “openness” is the way to go.

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