When Hiring, What is More Important: Academic or Vocational Qualifications?

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When Hiring, What is More Important: Academic or Vocational Qualifications?

Trying to find the perfect fit for your open position can seem like a daunting task. With endless resumes, it can be hard to narrow down which candidates are the best fit for your team. Are academic or vocational qualifications a better indicator of potential success? Depending on what you’re looking for, there are pros and cons to both.

Academic Qualifications

Academics have long been used to determine whether a candidate is qualified for a position. A degree not only provides you with extensive knowledge on a certain subject, but also provides you with well-rounded insight into other subjects. With the average major, the course of study consists of at least 36 credit hours in a specific field. This allows a student to truly explore all aspects and immerse themselves in the subject.

Even with all the knowledge that comes with obtaining a degree, there is often one thing missing: real-world experience. Although a degree can give you the knowledge needed to enter the workforce, it doesn’t grant you the capability to perform a job well. Things like demeanor, personality, ambition, and work ethic cannot be learned through a degree but rather rely on personal traits and experiences.

Vocational Qualifications

As mentioned before, not everything useful is learned in a classroom. Practical and personal skills come naturally for some and are learned on the job for others. Although someone may be highly qualified academically, they may not be a good cultural fit for your team. Previous work-related achievements can be a greater indication of future success than the grades someone earned while in college. If a candidate was a leader in their previous role, there is a good chance they will bring that drive for success to your company.

Even with natural skills and success in previous roles, be prepared to invest time into candidates without an academic background. On the job training in areas such as technology or procedures may be necessary if your new hire has not been previously exposed. Although it may take longer to get this new hire on board, their previous successes will surely roll over into new ones.

When hiring, there are so many aspects of a potential candidate that you should take into consideration. Whether they graduated from a renowned university or were the lead on a successful project at their former company, academic and vocational skills are important. Although one is not more crucial than the other, it is important to gauge what skills your future candidate needs to be successful. If you need help finding the perfect fit, Skywalk Group can help.