Why the Ivy League Poster Boy May Not Be Your Ideal Candidate by Indrek Lepik on Jul 25, 2017

Hiring based on educational background seems like a no-nonsense way to filter out the candidates that aren’t qualified for the job. In reality, however, you’re missing out on talent and may end up with people who lack the skills that you need.

So let’s paint a picture here. You have an opening for a position, you consider the skills needed, and for good measure you say that the candidate needs at least a bachelor’s degree (a simple, quantifiable obstacle, that eliminates some unqualified applicants). 

Now, this is more prevalent in mature industries or bigger corporations, but if you’re dealing with thousands of applications, you need some sort of objective metric that weeds out the people you don’t have time to interview, hence the degree, right?

But consider this as well, the US alone has close to five thousand so-called degree-granting institutions. And while you can sort through those with the help of different top-whatever lists, getting adequate information on all of the colleges from around the world is near impossible. Furthermore, the ever-rising academic inflation (both in terms of the number of people with degrees and the costs of acquiring those degrees) means that more and more young — but talented — people simply choose to abstain.

So knowing that, what does a potential team member’s educational background actually give you? Probably the socio-economic status of their family, the knowledge that they can push through at least 2-4 years of following orders, and more often than not their field of interest. But you’re looking for a skill set, not a poster boy or a girl. This isn’t to say that a degree is meaningless in terms of ability, but that it’s simply not good enough of a metric to base recruitment on.

When it comes down to basics, you need a person who has the skills that you’re looking for. As simple as that, nothing more, nothing less. That’s why we — at Hundred5 — developed a tool, that lets us do just that — find the people with the skill set that we’re after.

Skill-based recruitment was born out of necessity but has saved us time and energy in getting the people we need in our team. Sure, you have to know what you want, otherwise, it’s kind of hard to test someone, but therein lies the beauty of it all. When you’re searching for skill, you’re not blinded and you don’t discriminate.

Does a 4-year bachelor’s degree in marketing translate to witty and eloquent copy? Or on the contrary, experience as a stand-up comedian? On paper, it’s hard to tell, but when you test for it, you’ll surely find out.

The skills that a company needs are there on the market, but the untapped source for them lies in the knowledge, that many of those skills are hidden behind layers of ultimately irrelevant qualities.

This is how we’ve been able to hire 40+ people and thereby triple our team in three years. Now sign up for Hundred5 and take your recruitment process to the next level.

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