There has long been a debate among hiring professionals over which is better: a college degree or real-world experience. And the answer is, usually, “it depends.” There are lots of occasions where a degree is necessary, but there are just as many where someone with real-world experience is just as beneficial. If you want to know whether you should be hiring for potential and practical skills, here are a few things to consider.
Entry Level vs. Skilled Position
The experience needed may be as simple as determining if the role is more entry-level, and therefore teachable, or skilled. However, skill can come from more than just education. Someone who did take a chance early in their career to gain a real-world position may have as much experience as someone who graduated with a related degree. If a person needs to gain experience, an entry-level position may be fine. If they bring experience to the table, it may not matter if they’ve obtained a degree.
When Credentials Matter
Of course, there are plenty of positions where the right credential is essential. For example, you can’t hire a nurse without verifying they have the proper education and licensing. If you need someone in your accounting department who is already a CPA, you probably can’t consider a candidate without this credential.
The Advantages of Practical Skills
However, there are plenty of industries where practical skills can outweigh education. For example, information technology is a hands-on job. While having certifications or a degree can be helpful, hiring someone who has experience in specific aspects of IT may be the best option available for you. It’s also important to note that education doesn’t always mean practical skills.
Hiring for Potential
You may also be hiring for some positions where neither experience nor education is the top priority. Circling back to entry-level roles, hiring someone with potential rather than exact experience can provide you with an eager employee who can learn your processes and procedures without bringing bad habits to the table.
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