Focus on Skills Rather Than Titles in Hiring

Susan Hall
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Hiring managers tell me that job candidates are too concerned with titles.

Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, says in a post at Harvard Business Review that too often employers are, too. He suggests that companies can be creating their own skills gap by parsing candidates based on their previous job titles.

In a CareerBuilder study of 2,000 companies, 55 percent of hiring managers who said they can’t find qualified candidates for open positions also said they typically hire people who have held the same title as the open position. Meanwhile, among those who report less trouble finding the right candidate, 42 percent restrict their hiring based on previous job titles.

The difference of 13 percentage points suggests that some of the hiring pain is self-inflicted, Ferguson says, adding:

“While useful internally, many job titles are very general, and don't necessarily say much about a candidate's experience or qualifications. … Just as we said you should train people who are almost there, you need to increase your scope so that you can find as many almost-there candidates as possible.”

Focus instead on the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the position, he says.

”If you can only get a job by having had that job, how can you move forward? It's a paradox that companies can help fix,” he says.



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