As A Recruiter, What Do You Value More ... Education or Experience?

Today, it is a rare job advertisement that doesn’t ask for a college diploma or university degree.  I’ve even seen positions at not much more than minimum wage stating that a degree is a job requirement. Hmmm, I wonder what their turnover rate is like?!?

But in the final analysis, is it education or experience that clinches the hiring decision?

From my experience, if the position does not require a lot of experience,  education will be considered a primary factor.  This is because many candidates may be applying directly out of university and may not have much, if any, actual work experience.  The only way to assess their potential for success in the position is to explore their educational experience.

For those candidates bringing a rich experience of achievement, education becomes less important, at least for me. If they have established that they can do the job, present themselves well, have the required communication skills, fit with the organization/team, have a winning attitude, and are able to demonstrate proven results through confirmed references, then they are a prime candidate in my book.

Whether a good candidate brings a university degree or not, the education I'm most interested in is what are they learning now?  If they can demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning that brings value to the business, then that tells me they understand the competitive nature of business and are prepared to invest their time and personal resources into ongoing development that positions them to succeed now and into the future.  And considering that while we are initially hiring for today, every organization is looking for talent with a long term shelf life.

If you do a lot of recruiting and hiring, what's your take on the education/experience question?

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