If you want to win the war for talent, skills-based hiring must be a part of your strategy. Judging talent by degrees alone is not enough.

Most hiring managers will start the hiring process by creating a job description. And the typical job description has limitations. Unfortunately, most JD’s focus on educational expectations and industry-specific expertise only. Too often a hiring manager will exclude any potential candidate who cannot check both boxes. Little to nothing is mentioned about the skills required for the position.

Author Lou Adler suggests, “Most hiring problems can be eliminated by making one fundamental and simple change – replacing job descriptions with a list of performance objectives the new hire is expected to achieve.”

It’s crucial to know the performance objectives of the role to make a successful hire. Is the objective a hire for a newly created position? Or, is it a replacement position? If this is a replacement position, how did the predecessor perform? If she was a good performer, benchmarking against her skill-set is one step towards defining the performance objectives for the position. By knowing the performance objectives, defining the skill set required for the role becomes more clear.

To win the war for talent, implement skills-based hiring. Too much weight on educational expectations is risky business. Some leaders believe we have degree inflation.

Degree inflation in the USA

Harvard Business School conducted a study entitled, Dismissed by Degrees. They propose that there is a degree inflation issue in the USA.
Harvard shares an example of administrative assistants and production supervisors. The study indicated that most people holding those jobs don’t have a B.A. or B.S. Most new job postings for these positions list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. Such a degree requirement seems odd. Only 16% of current production supervisors have graduated from a four-year college, yet 67% of the openings for such positions call for a bachelor’s degree.

Successful people who never graduated from college

There are many people who have had success without formal education. Actually, some very successful people never graduated from college. Some recognizable names are Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and John D. Rockefeller. These example successful people focused on their skills and abilities. Degree or no degree, they have gotten things done and achieved. Many of these leaders have taken this belief of focusing on skills into their organizations.