Reference & Background Checks, Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

You’ve Got No Experience? You’re Hired!

With the war for talent raging and unemployment numbers at record lows, employers are doing everything they can to recruit top talent, but are some taking it too far?experience

According to The Wall Street Journal, some employers have resorted to hiring candidates who have “no experience.” As Kelsey Gee writes, “Employers say they are abandoning preferences for college degrees and specific skill sets to speed up hiring and broaden the pool of job candidates. Many companies added requirements to job postings after the recession, when millions were out of work and human[-]resources departments were stacked with résumés.”

5 Years of Experience Preferred … No More

Remember applying for jobs right out of college, when most companies were looking for 5 or more years of experience? Who has 5 years of experience after spending the last 10+ years in school? Apparently, that’s no longer the case. With Internet training and skill-building, job candidates are coming into the workforce with self-taught, hands-on learning experiences that weren’t obtained in an office or university setting. And due to this, the recruiting process is also changing.

According to Amy Glaser—Senior Vice President of staffing agency Adecco Group—one in four of the agency’s employer clients have made drastic changes to their recruiting process since the start of the year. Such changes include skipping background checks and drug tests, as well as removing higher degree preferences for specific roles.

With candidates in the driver’s seat, employers are left catering to them in order to fill role vacancies. Glaser says, “If a company requires a degree, two rounds of interviews and a test for hard skills, candidates can go down the street to another employer who will make them an offer that day.” Glaser adds that cutting job-credential requirements are more common in cities like Dallas, Texas, and Louisville, Kentucky, where unemployment is lowest. But is this “no skills required” trend a good idea?

As Gee writes, in early 2018, “job postings requesting a college degree fell to 30% from 32% in 2017.” The requisite “years of experience” has also dropped. “Only 23% of entry-level jobs now ask applicants for three or more years of experience, compared with 29% back in 2012,” according to Gee. Gee also explains that this “no skills” trend marks a sharp reversal in hiring policies in the aftermath of the Great Recession where employers could be pickier in who they hire, saying “job requirements were harder to track then, because many companies didn’t post positions publicly and many résumés weren’t delivered electronically.”

Recruiting Landscape Continues to Change

With experience out the window, and employers facing the most challenging labor market in decades, companies are getting more creative in the candidates they choose. Many employers are resorting to “down skilling,” which is basically opening the doors to high school students who learned a specific skill or trade through their schooling, instead of hiring someone with a 4-year college degree.

Gee explains how companies, like Amazon, Walmart, and Bank of America, have all turned to “down skilling” to help fill roles like warehouse stockers, bank tellers, and more. However, this shift isn’t for everyone, specifically positions that require high levels of technical expertise, such as information security, and other high-level roles. Which makes sense; you wouldn’t want a high school senior performing brain surgery the day after he or she graduates high school.

As for the tech industry, companies are quick to dismiss college credentials, reports Gee, “especially in emerging fields such as data analytics, where demand for talent has risen faster than universities can churn out new graduates.” Until colleges and universities can start teaching students the new world of work, employers will have to continue to get creative in their recruiting process.

Besides eliminating background checks, drug testing, and long interviewing processes, employers would be wise to improve their company brand, offer social responsibility opportunities, and highlight competitive wages and benefits to get candidates interested in their companies.

What creative ways have you used to get candidates in the door of your company? And do you agree that “no experience” is a good thing? Share your thoughts in our comment section, below.