Diversity and inclusion should be a priority for your team in 2021 and beyond. Embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace is the right thing to do– and it’s also good for business. It will help your organization be more innovative, enable more effective problem-solving, reach wider markets, and attract and retain top talent. MP’s HR Services team shares an effective tactic to improve your talent acquisition strategy when it comes to creating a more inclusive culture: dropping required degrees.
Why Dropping Required Degrees Helps with Diversity and Inclusion
To embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace, part of the equation will have to be making more diverse hires. One surefire way to expand the candidate pool is to drop required degrees in your job postings. Many minority groups are not able to attend college or graduate school. The cost for schooling itself, not to mention preparation, applications, and testing, can all be prohibitively expensive. College, graduate programs, and other professional schooling are also part of a larger system that consistently discriminates against people with learning disabilities or cognitive differences like autism.
College or other professional degrees don’t always yield the best candidates. Many roles could be filled with candidates who have obtained extensive pertinent experience or skills elsewhere. Or, perhaps you might realize that a college degree isn’t even absolutely necessary to succeeding in a role. Employers can re-examine job postings and consider what skills, experience, and knowledge are needed for their open roles. Rewriting the job description with this in mind will make it easier to drop educational requirements. The candidate pool may actually be stronger if the job description is rewritten to focus on what a candidate needs to bring to the role, rather than relying on educational degrees to be shorthand for some very specific requirements.
There are some excellent examples of how recruiting without required educational degrees have worked out well for some employers. The first great example of this is military candidates. Military experience doesn’t always include higher education. However, it can be helpful for obtaining important skills and experience that would make a candidate an asset to their employer. People who serve in the military learn extensively about teamwork, responsibility, meeting expectations, clear communication, time management, and more. Employers who hire people with military experience are not only getting workers with excellent qualifications. They’re also adding people to their team with totally different life experiences and perspectives that may be able to add fresh perspectives and ideas.
Another example of how successful recruiting without required degrees is the variety of autism-oriented hiring programs. Many successful companies, including HP, Microsoft, and Lego, have all created programs to specifically recruit candidates with neurodiversity. Higher education can sometimes be an inaccessible or inhospitable environment for people on the autism spectrum. However, features of autism can be a source of strengths that are valuable for certain jobs like engineering, programming, and more. When programs like these drop their required degrees for individuals with autism, they open the door for candidates with special skills that they may never have met otherwise.
6 Tips for Recruiting Candidates Without College or Professional Degrees
When dropping required degrees from your job postings, it’s important to be strategic. Here are some tips to help employers communicate the needs of the role better and to identify a wider pool of candidates with a variety of qualifications.
- List the requested degree(s) or certifications, then put “or equivalent experience” in the job posting.
- Be open to candidates who have unpaid experience, such as leadership in clubs, community service, volunteer work, or internships.
- Identify the important skills and experience that will make a candidate successful. This might include hard and soft skills. Think about what made previous employees successful in this role.
- Have interviewers ask questions that focus on the hard and soft skills that a candidate may have gained in their experience outside conventional educational institutions.
- Ensure hiring managers review resumes based on the bullets and achievements, rather than just the degree or school name.
- Post jobs on websites that focus on diverse job seekers, such as Diversityjobs.com, blackcareers.org, veteranjobs.net, and more.
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