It’s no secret that degree holders generally get paid more than those without one.
But does the degree really define ability? Does the iron-clad four-year-degree requirement found in most companies’ hiring protocols still make sense in the modern business environment?
After all, if education was as influential a factor to one’s ability to succeed in business, then the world would not have so many self-made entrepreneurs who dropped out of college (and some, high school) running some of the most profitable corporations in the world.
The tech industry in particular is significantly dominated by founders without degrees. Some of the famous ones include Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Michael Dell of Dell, as well as the legendary Apple co-founding duo, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
At the end of the day, with or without a college degree, one’s performance in any given job ultimately comes down to their ability to keep learning new things and applying them in a smart way.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Candidates Without a College Degree
1. Ability to Learn – Some people learn best in a class, and others by doing. IT in particular has a lot to gain from tapping into the unique skills of self-taught programmers and gamers. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and Space X, is one of the best examples of a self-taught programmer and gamer who has gone on to do remarkable things. By only considering college graduates, you are missing out on a significant group of talented people who are best suited for learning on the job rather than in a classroom.
2. Cost of Education – According the latest stats, the average cost of a 4-year degree stands at $10,116 for public, in-state institutions; $22,577 for public, out-of-state institutions and $36,801 for private institutions. Many people simply cannot afford college due to socio-economic factors that are far beyond their control. This does not reflect on their natural brilliance and high aptitude for learning.
3. IT is Always Changing – A degree doesn’t guarantee a candidate’s ability to stay relevant to the job’s requirements. The nature of the technology landscape is that it is rapidly evolving and a degree without continuing education quickly turns obsolete. Therefore, it makes sense to hire someone without a degree as long as they have the aptitude and desire to keep updating their skills.
4. Limits Diversity – Hiring only university graduates is not beneficial for company diversity as it often recruits the same demographic. This is especially true given the historical inequality of access to college education along racial and gender lines.
5. Challenges Management – Hiring people without degrees pushes managers to become more flexible and evolved as leaders because it forces them to re-evaluate their own approaches to how they evaluate and educate their team members.
Hiring Based on Aptitude and Attitude
Here are three key things to keep in mind when hiring without a degree requirement:
1. Focus on Skills, Experience and Attitude
When filling a vacant position, it's important to find someone with the right skills and attitude – whether or not they have a college degree. The most important factor to take into consideration is how well the candidate fits into your company culture and if they have the right abilities and hands-on experience.
2. Pay Close Attention to Soft Skills
When interviewing candidates, it's crucial to make sure that you get the full picture of their abilities. This means that beyond the critical skills required for the job, you need to also evaluate the candidate’s soft skills and how well they performed in previous jobs.
For candidates with or without a college degree, it’s important to talk to their previous employers and get a sense of what it’s like to work with them in regards to teamwork, communication skills, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, work ethic and flexibility/adaptability.
3. Equal Pay
Tempting as it may be to leverage a lack of a degree to pay a candidate less, it is not only morally unacceptable but could also leave your company open to legal action. If you decide to hire an employee without a degree, you must pay them the same as candidates who did go to college.
They are not any less valuable than their degree earning peers. As long as a candidate is the right fit for your company and its needs, they should be paid equally.
Is your iron-clad four-year-degree requirement making you miss out on great talent?
Many top employers (including tech giants like IBM, Google and Apple) have in the past few years expanded their talent options by no longer requiring their applicants to have a college degree.
Yes, not all companies can afford to forgo the degree requirement for their vacancies but unless you’re looking to hire a doctor, CPA or lawyer, there’s room to be flexible in your recruitment requirements.
Let the professionals at ASB Resources guide your company in expanding your recruitment horizons in order to attract the best talent regardless of education. Schedule a call with one of our experts today!