Credentials: Helping or Hindering Hiring?

A few months ago, I shared my thoughts on rethinking recruiting given the labor shortage. How companies attract talent doesn’t appear to be aligned with today’s labor market. What matters to the talent pool has radically shifted, and some companies haven’t adapted. Today I read an article about rethinking job credentials given the shortage of workers. It touches on some of the things I’ve been thinking about. I don’t agree with everything, but it’s an interesting read.

Some of the smartest and most successful people I know have the fewest credentials. Some barely made it out of college (or didn’t graduate at all). They may not have been top of their class, but they’re action-oriented people who’ve made things happen. They’re constantly evaluating the world and adjusting their decisions and actions so they can achieve their goals. It’s anecdotal evidence, but it’s shaped how I think about this topic.

I don’t believe credentials predict one’s abilities. In some fields they’re vital (e.g., medicine). But lots of other fields and jobs don’t involve life and death or other high stakes. If someone has the personality type for a role (e.g., being outgoing if it’s a sales role), want to learn, and are given proper training, I believe they can excel even without credentials. I know many start-up founders (including myself) who gave uncredentialed people opportunities and found that those folks exceeded their expectations. If people are given an opportunity and set up to succeed, they can.

I’m excited to see how companies adjust their recruiting strategies. I like the idea of giving more people opportunities by removing hurdles AND training them properly.