Is it time to ease your hiring requirements?


When unemployment peaked after the 2008 recession, companies could afford to inflate job requirements to find the perfect fit. But today's super-tight labor market has more employers lowering the bar to broaden their candidate pool and speed up hiring.

One "down skilling" trend: removal of college degree requirements.

Google, Apple and IBM are among the companies that no longer require applicants to hold college degrees, according a list compiled by job-search site Glassdoor. Terminix, which added a college prerequisite for its branch managers in 2009, decided earlier this year to reverse course and make degrees "preferred" but not mandatory.

Today, 30% of job postings call for a college degree, down from 34% six years ago, according to Burning Glass Technologies' analysis of 15 million online ads (see chart).

Long work-history requirements are also being relaxed. This year, only 23% of entry-level jobs ask applicants for three or more years of experience, compared with 29% in 2012.

"It makes no sense to cling to old hiring practices when we live and work in a whole new world," says Danny Iny, author of the book, Leveraged Learning. "Not only are there plenty of smart young people out there who are choosing not to follow the traditional path, those who do follow it often don't have the skills employers need."

Iny says employers too often use college degrees as a "psychological shortcut" to sort out good candidates. That may have made sense when 5% held college degrees in 1900, but not today when nearly 40% of working Americans have degrees.

The solution? Iny suggests:

Shift your mindset to override the "degree" signal. Take a close look at what really leads to success in your workplace, then revise your job postings to reflect the stuff that...

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