Forum: Look beyond academic credentials when hiring to unveil hidden talent

The recent announcement of LinkedIn's pilot initiative for job seekers in Singapore that links skills to job roles is a step in the right direction (New hiring scheme to focus on skills, not qualifications, Aug 15).

It moves towards recognising and promoting career advancement via skills development rather than educational credentials.

Businesses currently tend to hire based on educational qualifications, as these are easy to verify and ensure that potential hires meet minimum requirements.

While it might seem like an easy way to narrow down the candidate pool, employers could be overlooking some of their best candidates.

Think about it - not everyone has access to higher education, owing to financial constraints or personal issues.

For example, if you are hiring someone to help you build a Web application, it probably will not matter if they have a Master of Business Administration; what will matter is whether or not they know how to program.

Someone may not have finished school but could have great innate programming abilities that make them perfect for a programmer role.

In these types of scenarios, it can be more effective to hire based on skills than educational credentials.

There are also several factors that make for a good employee other than an Ivy League education - communication skills, experience with software programs and attitude, to name just a few.

Hence, it does not make sense to use educational background as a gatekeeper for employment.

In fact, the skills required for most jobs in the digital economy are transferable regardless of education level.

Furthermore, by hiring based on skills and not education, employers can select individuals from diverse populations.

They may even discover someone truly extraordinary within these groups, who is capable of performing higher-level work than their educational qualifications would suggest.

Choong Deng Xiang

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