Yesterday I read a fantastic post by Chris Fields
entitled Dumb it Down which talks about how some employers are threatened by educated people and recruiters suggest that candidates Dumb it Down. Chris is right to say to those employers to “Go walk off a short pier”. We all want our kids to be educated, go to great schools and strive for the highest level of success that is possible. Having said that “street smarts and attitude” will beat the MBA and PHD nerd every time. Now if you have street smarts attitude and are an MBA and PHD nerd or non nerd let’s talk job and numbers right now.
I remember working for a company in the late 90’s that would only hire PHD candidates for their fiber optics research roles at a time when the labor market was extremely competitive and where there were very little PHD candidates available. It took some convincing but when I was able to get leadership focused on hiring non-PHD students for key roles they found for the most part that those candidates were more business and sales focused and more a-tuned to the customer market vs. PHD students that were “pie in the sky” focused. Where we had struggled in the past to develop great products that customers wanted, we were now hitting the sweet spot.
Let’s face it, degrees matter but candidates without degrees can be superstars and rockstars. Many of them are entrepreneurs, innovators that chase their dream and are relentless in their desire to achieve.
So look beyond the “degree” look to the core of the individual and the skills they bring to your business. You might be surprised that their value proposition might far surpass what a PHD or MBA student might bring. Tell me your story.