Rethink Candidate Potential, Win the War for Talent

Have you ever thought of hiring based on skills instead of college degrees? Why should you assess a job candidate’s potential more over what they have already accomplished?  

As hiring managers and employers, it is known that hiring top talent has always been a priority in the industry. This is especially true now amidst all the ever-changing preferences of job candidates and seasoned employees.  

With all these challenges, staffing industries are re-examining their hiring strategies to supply top talents to partner companies and organizations constantly. As employers and hiring managers, you may have invested in improving your firm’s technology stack or implemented more proactive marketing techniques in talent sourcing. You may have also added people to your hiring team to make your daily grind more efficient.  

While all these new strategies and methods are helpful for your firm. Consider revisiting the actual qualifications that you are looking for in hiring top talent. Essentially, the bottleneck may be in companies and staffing firms insisting on specific qualifications among job candidates which are no longer as important in this post-pandemic, 21st-century workplace. 

Skills Over Degrees: Leo’s Story 

Leo is a graphic designer with more than five years of working experience. He has an impressive portfolio and has competently branched out to dabble in UX/UI design. Desiring to advance his career, he submitted applications to top tech companies that he was sure needed his skill set.  

However, when hiring managers get into his application, he often fails to move further into the application process because of one qualification he lacks – Leo does not have a college degree.  

So many people are just like Leo. Many employers and hiring managers fail to see the “diamond in the rough” because of attributes that they insist candidates must have – such as university degrees, 5+ years of experience, and so on. No one will ever know what kind of output people like Leo can contribute to a company simply because they get disqualified from the get-go because they do NOT have a college degree.  

As an employer or hiring manager, must this always be the case?  

Potential Over Accomplishments in Today’s Workplace 

A groundbreaking study from the Harvard Business Review revealed a huge disconnect between having a university degree and being equipped with the appropriate skills to succeed in today’s world of work.  

The study mentioned that colleges and universities in the US are not prioritizing relevant job skills and career readiness. While employers make universities and colleges the gatekeepers for knowledge and skills and make this the cornerstone of their hiring process, many college graduates, as it turns out, still need to gain the right skills to succeed in the workplace despite being university graduates.  

What does this mean to you as a hiring manager or employer?  

Companies and staffing firms must realize that you cannot hold US colleges and universities accountable for ensuring that graduates have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform efficiently. Making the US education system the gatekeeper of skills and knowledge is already part of a bygone era that desperately needs a paradigm shift and a change in assessing job candidates.  

There needs to be greater credibility in refocusing on attributes other than education in hiring top talent. This is now the best time to remove the stigma of having or not having a college degree as a determinant of success in the workplace.  

Hence, this is the best time for hiring based on skills and creating equal opportunities for everyone by focusing on what job candidates can become once they join your company.  

For employers and hiring managers, 2023 is the best time to invest in your company’s talent, so start as soon as possible.  

Skills-Based Hiring  

If the pandemic taught us anything as far as work is concerned. It is the realization that industries and companies are slowly shifting towards having the right skills over academic performance alone. The post-pandemic world is the perfect opportunity to reshape your hiring strategies to attract top talent and keep your company afloat in this very competitive labor market. This paradigm shift is crucial to your company’s success.  

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 65.1 percent of Americans do not possess a college degree. In effect, if your company still insists on having a university degree for every job applicant, you are eliminating nearly two-thirds of the whole US workforce in your candidate sourcing. No wonder it is challenging to fill many roles because unemployed people who are not educated never have a fighting chance. If your company has more vacancies, you need a larger talent pool to fill those vacancies.  

Skills-based hiring helps you find the most suitable candidate because the focus is on the skills and competencies for a particular role. This allows you to do away with the misplaced confidence generally associated with college degrees. Instead, it gives employers and job candidates a realistic view of what to expect from an ideal candidate and the specific role that this candidate would fill.  

Investing in Talent 

A perfect complement to skills-based hiring is for your company to invest considerably in nurturing talent.  

With the Great Resignation still in full swing, companies face the challenge of hiring top talent and retaining their top employees.  

This is why you should significantly invest in training programs, modules, and short courses to upskill and reskill your employees continually. A recent survey revealed that 1 out of 5 employees are more likely to switch jobs in the next 12 months. Investing in your company’s existing talent would increase their engagement, motivation, and job fulfillment – making them less likely to leave the company.  

Aside from this, investing in training programs for your employees shows your commitment in making them more productive and efficient – all for your company and your employees’ mutual benefit.  

By realizing that top talent is not just found but may also be nurtured, cultivated, and improved, your organization benefits by having fewer bottlenecks in the hiring process and more chances at finding the most suitable talent.  

If Diversity Wins, The Company Wins 

A McKinsey survey revealed that companies in the top 25 for cultural and ethnic diversity were also 36 percent more profitable. Moreover, a related study from Glassdoor revealed that 76 percent of job candidates consider diversity a deciding factor in evaluating job offers. In comparison, 32 percent of them would automatically turn down an offer if diversity is lacking in a prospective company.  

These figures factor directly into your organization’s efforts in attracting and retaining top talent and keeping the company viable and profitable. College degrees don’t cut it for any company. Instead, hiring the right talent and honing their potential separates a thriving company from a stagnant one.  

Would you like to ensure that your next hire actively contributes to your company’s success? Work with Focus People in finding the talent that best defines a great company from a mediocre one. Reach out to us today! 

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