Should you Require a College Degree?

by | Jan 10, 2017 | Hiring, Recruiting

You see it often, at the bottom of a job posting: Bachelor Degree required. Perhaps it is a staple on the job postings you publish for your company. Have you ever thought about why this is there and if it is really important?

Assumptions are not always accurate

This practice was likely started under the assumption that people with college degrees are smarter and harder working than those without. But, is this really true? I know many people with college degrees who I would not want working for me. Yet, there are other people with far less education who I look up to as experts in their fields. So, no, it is not a fair assumption that *everyone* with a college degree is smarter and more dedicated than *everyone* without their degree. Granted, it does help to weed out some less-than-ideal candidates, but it may also scare off someone who is completely qualified for a particular position.

It depends on the field

I tend to lean toward the general rule that a degree is not required for most jobs out there. However, I fully recognize that it is a necessity for some professions. For example, people in a position where they analyze the human psyche should definitely have studied Psychology. And I would not want someone treating me for a physical ailment if they have not received some type of medical degree. Do I care, though, if the website I am visiting was developed by someone with a web development degree? Or do I only care that they have the necessary skill and expertise to make my experience a positive one? And, when I go to complain to the manager of a restaurant, do I care what education they have completed, or am I only concerned that they have the customer service skills to show me understanding? The answer is simple: it depends on the field.

So, how do I know when to make an exception?

Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. I would recommend making the degree “preferred” rather than “required,” although I fully support not listing it at all. Be open minded and look at the skills and experience of the candidates. Pre-screening phone interviews are a good way to weed out anyone who might not be able to present themselves in an intelligent and professional manner.