I think we all tend to be a little snobbish when we set out to source candidates for jobs. We get a little picky when we write the job requirements: “Must have B.S. degree in xyz field with at least 5 years experience in same field, working with abc technology in xyz industry,” for example. Maybe it’s because we want to think a new hire must have impeccable credentials to get where we are?
Let me tell you a success story at our company to give you some food for thought. IT professionals are core to our success. Over the last 10 years, we’ve hired interns to help our IT department with repetitive tasks. Most of the interns have been students studying for a 2 year Associate’s degree in Information Technology at the local community college. The interns that were most successful during their internship, we turned around and hired as full-time programmers after graduation. No, they didn’t have a B.S. degree, nor did they have the “5 years of experience”, but they demonstrated to us through their internship that that they were able to be very successful in their job. And once they had been there for a year, we couldn’t tell the difference between the candidates with a B.S. degree and experience, and those with an Associate’s degree.
Try thinking outside the box a bit – what kind of skills does someone really need for that job? If analytical skills – maybe those can be measured with an assessment, instead of just assumed based on a degree. If mechanical skills, maybe you can find great candidates at the local trade/ technical school. If sales, maybe you can steal the great associates from the nearby department store. Not only are you saving money because you don’t have to use expensive sourcing methods, you’re matching qualified, if unconventional, candidates to good jobs, and that can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.