The New-Collar Workforce

By: Adam Vortherms

You only have to spend a few minutes combing through job postings to see that in today’s market, the vast majority of openings are looking for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. They often even ask for education beyond an undergraduate degree. The inclination is understandable—we often equate education with aptitude. But what about a candidate who is talented, experienced, and ready to go the extra mile for you…but does not have a degree? While looking to fill your company’s current openings, here are three reasons to consider hiring a qualified, experienced candidate who lacks a college education:

1. Limiting Your Candidate Pool Dulls Your Competitive Edge.

When filling an opening in your business, you want the best of the best. However, make sure to keep your definition of ‘best’ as broad as you can. By automatically dismissing an applicant due to their lacking a degree, you can be likewise dismissing a wealth of real-world knowledge. Take someone who has worked for years in the fluid power industry. This candidate is an industry expert with hands-on experience that can only be learned through practice versus understanding something in theory. What they lack in a degree they make up in an already established success record—and they have the numbers to prove it.

2. Shrink the Learning Curve.

While college graduates often come with a wide range of knowledge, this knowledge tends to be largely theoretical. Generally, the best you can hope for is that these degreed applicants completed an internship during their time at school. Experienced candidates know your market. They know the ins and outs of your business not in theory, but because they have been out and about putting it into practice. You will have to spend less time and resources training them, which means they are more likely to hit the ground running. Even further, these candidates come with an already built book of business. I’ve had personal experience with applicants who have worked for years selling to custom home builders. Networks in this field don’t appear overnight. When hiring an experienced candidate, you’re also hiring their connections and loyal customers. When hiring someone newly entering the market, you will also be investing time and money into their own development. Or someone with years of in-home selling experience. They are more comfortable using a structured sales presentation and closing on the first call which is something that can take years to master.

3. Diversify Your Workforce.

It’s a phenomenon that has been cheekily nicknamed as “new-collar” jobs, as it’s a practice that targets people with real world skills over theoretical book learning. A diverse workforce means that your company employs a wide range of people—people who bring with them new ideas, different approaches, and out of the box thinking. By diversifying your team, you can foster a

dynamic work environment and create a strong base for your company to stand upon going forward.

All of this isn’t to underwrite candidates entering the job market with a college degree. However, it is important not to write off the benefits of real-world working experience. As you seek a new member for your team, don’t dismiss applicants simply due to their lack of a formal education. Contact Grapevine Recruiting at (952)856-2371, or visit the contact page at our website.