Tip #946:  The Case for Ability and Experience, not Degrees

Do you hire people based on their proven ability to perform the job or just because they have an academic degree?

Certainly, attaining an academic degree indicates positive character traits, such as commitment and persistence to achieve a goal. However, degrees do not automatically make an individual better at what they do. The deciding factor should be whether they are able to deliver on what they know.

When I worked in Personnel for the State of Wisconsin, we could not limit recruitment to persons with degrees, unless a degree was statutorily required for a position. If a hiring supervisor desired someone with a degree, we could post that a degree was desired, but we also had to add that we would consider individuals with comparable training and experience. After all, people earn degrees based on the experience of those in the field.

I believe in degree programs and professional certifications that give you credit for what you have already achieved or can achieve on your job.

I have a dear friend who has been incredibly accomplished and effective in every area of employment in different industries over a long and illustrious career. As a manager, trainer, and employee, she is brilliant at what she does- and every organization that employs her is very conscious of the value she  brings to the company, their employees, their customers, and their bottom line.

She decided to seek a professional certification- and rather than validating her self-worth and proven expertise, the experience almost devastated her. The certification test was based on who did what, rather than how you use what you know.

As a hands on practitioner, the certification test was wrong for her. It didn’t measure what was important for success in her professional life.  It valued rote memorization over practical application- and, as far as I’m concerned, that is a poorly written test.

If you are seeking a degree or professional certification, please make sure that the content and the focus increase and measure your ability to apply what you learn.

If you are seeking to hire someone, please give them a chance to show you that they have done or can do what is required. Don’t let the lack of a degree bar the way.

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#job #business #humanresources #hiring #personaldevelopment #education

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