One of the great recruitment debates is experience vs. qualifications. Which is better? In truth, there’s never a winner as both are highly valuable in candidates. Obviously, experience tells you that somebody has done this job before and knows the ropes. But, education/qualifications can be just as valuable.
The trick is learning how to look at qualifications when hiring employees. This lets you figure out if they add any weight to an application, or if they are just there for the sake of it. Here are some tips to help you:
The level of qualifications basically refers to how advanced they are. A high school diploma is one level, then a college degree or higher education equivalent is another, and so on. Then you have other qualifications above this, like Masters, Ed. D and Ph. D. Generally speaking, the higher the level, the more valuable the qualifications are. It shows the individual has undergone many years of intense study and must have gained lots of knowledge along the way. It’s usually easy to determine the level of a qualification, but it can get trickier towards the higher end of the scale. There’s an article by Bradley University that can help distinguish between two very similar qualifications - Ed. D and Ph. D. This might help you figure out which one is more valuable in an application.
Of course, understanding the qualifications let you compare candidates with similar applications. If two people have the same experience and a similar education - but one has a Masters while the other has a regular degree in the same subject, then the Master’s student has an edge.
The relevancy of the qualifications is more important than the level. Someone could have a Ph. D in chemistry, but how would that help them in a role as a marketing manager? It’s an outstanding educational achievement, but it doesn’t relate to the role at all.
Don’t be drawn in by qualifications if they serve no purpose for the job at hand. Many applicants just add their education on their resume because they want to make it look more impressive due to a lack of experience.
It’s always smart to ask questions about any qualifications. Mainly, ask what the candidate had to do. This can give you an insight into how much work they put in. It also shows you if they did relevant work/studies to the role.
For example, someone with a marketing degree may have had to create their own strategy as part of a final exam. Or, they spent a semester learning about digital marketing and new technologies. By gaining a deeper understanding of a qualification, it can teach you far more about a candidate.
To summarize: ask yourself these three questions whenever you see qualifications listed on an application. This will let you see if they hold any weight, or if they are just there to fill up some space.
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