Category Archives: interviewing

….the cost of not using a recruiter..

 

I guess all people businesses can tell some strange stories. Just this week I spoke to a friend of mine who has been a hiring authority over the past 15 years, as well as a great manager. He moved to a new company about a year ago and has been needing to hire a salesperson for nine months. I called him two or three times since he had gone to his new firm but never had the chance to speak with him.

He’s one of the most successful managers that I’ve dealt with in all the years I’ve been in this business. He hasn’t hired all that many people, but the ones he has have absolutely loved him because he’s helped them make more money than they ever have. Once I got them on the phone and found out he had been looking for a salesperson for nine months, I asked him why he didn’t call me. He explained that his corporate “recruiting department” won’t allow him to pay a fee and that they are supposed to be getting him good candidates. I asked him how many candidates you’d seen in nine months. (It’s not surprising that he may not have hired someone, because he’s very picky and very careful.) He told me that in nine months he had only seen three candidates.

He admitted that he was phenomenally frustrated. He was not going to hit his numbers this year because he was one salesperson short and since he was covering the vacant territory, he couldn’t help the other five salespeople that he had. Each salesperson’s quota is right at $1 million, and the vacant territory he was covering had only sold $450,000 with three weeks left in the year.

So, his company doesn’t want him to pay a $20,000 fee and yet they are willing to let a very experienced…expensive… first-line manager trying to manage five salespeople forfeit close to $450,000 in sales as well as become very, very, very frustrated with his company. He told me that he had told his boss that he absolutely had to find a salesperson before the new year began. He told his boss that he just didn’t think he could go on like this.

I often wonder how many managers out there go through this kind of frustration. My friend’s corporate recruiting function is in New York. There is absolutely no way…short of a miracle…that they would ever be able to find the same quality of candidate in Dallas as we could. I interview two to three candidates a day…and have for 45 years. I have more than 100,000 candidates in the database that I’ve interviewed face-to-face. How are three twenty-something year old recruiters in New York going to find a better candidate in Dallas then I would even though my client is very picky. I know that I can find him what he needs. Can you imagine how much money this is really costing them?

If my hiring authority has to go through the same agonizing experience at the beginning of the year, I imagine that I will have another excellent sales manager as a candidate. The cost of not paying a fee can be very high.

… Always court two or three candidates at the same time

all hiring authorities need to be aware that they should never focus on one great candidate to hire and not also keep at least two other candidates in the process.

This came to light…again… This week when after a whole six weeks of interviewing the one candidate they narrowed it down to our client made an offer, only to have the candidate turn the job down. Our client was so darn sure that the candidate would take the job, she quit interviewing our other candidates.

The number one candidate they were looking for gave them every reason in the world believe that he was going to take the job. We kept telling the VP that she should keep interviewing as well as keep the other two very well-qualified candidates in the process. We kept reinforcing our experience that it’s best to keep two or three candidates in the queue while pursuing a first choice. The VP said that she knew that’s what she ought to do… But didn’t do it.

The process, which was only supposed to take two weeks, had dragged on so long the best candidate, the one VP tried to hire, decided the company didn’t really know how to make a decision.The VP kept giving us all kinds of excuses as to why she could move faster, Including her one week of vacation, and that she was so darn busy, she knew she needed to move faster but just couldn’t. She didn’t even have time to call the other candidates and let them know that she was going to do her best to make a decision and that they were still in the running. In fact, she wouldn’t even give them the time of day, return their calls or their emails. She was just so darn sure her first choice was gonna take the job. There just didn’t seem to be a need to keep the of the other candidates hopeful.

We even told the VP that our (her) number one candidate was actively interviewing and other companiesso…me of ours and a couple of once he had found on his own. She gave us lipservice that she understood that but was just so busy she get to it when she could..

When she made the offer, the candidate hadn’t heard from her in a whole week. He wasn’t feeling loved or a high priority of the VP. When he turned it down he explained to her that she just simply hadn’t been in touch with him nor made him feel needed or wanted and felt like he needed to go to work for someone else.

Instead of being apologetic, she got mad. She couldn’t believe that he had “strung her along” by implying that he wanted the job and then didn’t take it. The candidate called us to explain that his gut was certainly right and that she showed her true colors. She was not somebody he really wanted to go to work for.

Although the VP was very frustrated and downright mad, she called us and wanted to get two of the other candidates she had interviewed back in the queue. One of these candidates couldn’t believe that she was calling him six weeks later to see if she would be interested in the job so she turned it down and the other candidate had gotten promoted where he was so decided to stay with his company.

The VP was so mad that she had to start all over that she was literally yelling at us for not keeping the other two candidates available. (Like we had control of that…right!). Yesterday, the VP got fired. She claimed that the CEO let her go because she bungled the interviewing and hiring of our candidate. We really doubt that that’s the only reason that she got fired. But, I’ll bet everything I own that she probably managed everything else she was responsible for the same way that she went about hiring and probably botched that stuff up too.

Regardless of her competency as a manager, the lesson is, that it’s always good to keep two or three candidates in the queue until you actually hire someone.

…i didn’t cause it, I can’t change it and I can’t cure it

this is one of the many mantras of Alcoholics Anonymous and it applies to many of the aspects of, especially, a job seekers emotional reaction to much of the rejection and refusal they receive in their quest. It’s so important to remember this mantra, because it reminds the job seeker what they can and can’t control.

Here are some of the things they don’t cause, they can’t change and they can’t cure:

  • Knowing that they are very qualified to perform on a job… If they can get the interview.
  • Not being able to get their resume read by people who would really understand.
  • Not being able to get an interview, even though they tried everything they can.
  • Not hearing anything From a prospective employer after applying.
  • Being told they would get in an interview and then never hearing from the company
  • being told they are a “great” candidate and then never hearing from the company
  • being told that they are “in strong consideration,” and never hearing anymore
  • being told they would be brought back as a “finalist” and then hearing nothing
  • being told they would receive an offer and then never hearing anything from the firm

Remember, as a job seeker you can only control your actions and your emotions. If you do your best to get lots of interviews and try to get into as many interviewing cycles as you possibly can, you won’t have to worry about what you can’t control or influence. Focus on the things that you can cause that you can change And that you can cure.

 

….”but you called me”

My candidate is a guy that I’ve known for almost 20 years. He’s been both a client of mine as well as a candidate. He has a decent opportunity where he is. But the first line management job he’s got Isn’t really ever going to go anywhere and the company he’s with doesn’t wish to grow.

When opportunities come along that are better than what he’s got, he and I discuss them. An opportunity came along for him to be able to do what he’s doing now but expand his span of control to two other offices. So, he decides it would be a good idea to interview with the client.

I reminded him that it is a management job and that I don’t see many of them during the year and he should do his best. He has a low keyed style to begin with, but he is really good at what he does. I warned him that there are two other candidates like him interviewing and that he needs to sell himself harder than he thinks (…he knows he is good).

He does a good enough job to make it through the first interview and the VP who interviewed him decides that he should take the candidate to the next interview. The guy’s track record is stellar, but he’s interviewing style is relatively placid. I can’t seem to get him to understand that getting a job and doing a job are two different things. He might be the most qualified of the three (and he is) but he still has to sell himself and let the employer know what he can do for them that the other candidates can’t.

In spite of all of my coaching, teaching and cajoling he goes into the second interview and even says to the hiring authority, “what you see is what you get. My track record speaks for itself.” And that’s the extent that he sold himself.

What’s amazing about this whole thing is that his track record is absolutely excellent and it’s better than any of the other candidates. But just because he tells the hiring authority that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t prove it with numbers and examples. He doesn’t. He gets around to explaining how successful he has been, but he doesn’t do it with a lot of enthusiasm, fervor or passion. He tells the hiring authority, literally, “what you see is what you get.”

The hiring authority understood exactly what our candidate was saying. But the reason the hiring authority was looking to hire someone is that he just fired the last branch manager because he wasn’t very passionate or enthusiastic. The previous manager did an okay job but never really felt passionate or communicated enthusiasm to those he managed.

Our client passed on our candidate. When I explained to our candidate that he just didn’t really sell himself very hard even though he was the most qualified. Frankly, it was rather painful to tell him, because the job was really a good one and even though they would probably hire one of our other candidates, we really wanted to see the guy get the opportunity, because he was good and deserved a great opportunity.

In his frustration of listening to what I was saying and that he wasn’t going to get a chance to move further, he said, “Tony, remember, you called me!” I reminded him that when he was hiring candidates, he looked for candidates who would actually sell themselves and do it enthusiastically. He kept saying that it was different with him, because “he wasn’t looking for a job. I called him!”

Obviously, the lesson here is that if you’re going to interview, it doesn’t matter whether I or any other recruiter “calls you.” The person that’s doing the hiring is comparing you with any other candidate and how or why you got there, doesn’t matter. If you don’t sell yourself because you think it makes a difference who called you you’re grossly mistaken. You have to sell yourself as though you were actively looking for a job

 

…the ‘other side of the crazy coin’

Last week I wrote about some of the crazy instances of what people do from both the candidate as well as the hiring authority situations. There are lots of folks that also do it right:

  • The candidate who presented a 30 – 60 – 90 day plan of what he would do in the first three months of the job if he got it.
  • The candidate that had called the competitors, dealers and customers of the company he was interviewing with. He also called previous employees as well as some present employees.  He had taken excellent notes and offered a “report” to the hiring authority. (The hiring authority said it was so well done that he sent it two levels up in his company.)
  • The candidate who sold his features, advantages and benefits so clearly that the hiring authority said it was the best presentation that he had ever seen.
  • The candidate who ended the interview by asking the employer, “Have I made it clear about my experience and abilities… Do you have any questions that I might need to clarify? How do I stack up with the other candidates you’ve interviewed?…and ..What do I need to do to get the job?” (he got hired!)
  • The candidate who was persistent enough with the hiring authority that, even though he was told that he came in third in the initial interviewing process, kept calling the hiring authority, sending him emails as to why he was the best candidate they could hire. The hiring authority got tired of the first two candidates putting him off and not being enthusiastic about the job, picked up the phone and simply hired the candidate who wanted it most.

And a few hiring authorities who also do it right:

  • The hiring authority who interviewed for candidates on Monday, had two candidates back on Wednesday to go through a number of interviews in the company and hired one on Friday.
  • The hiring company whose managers who did the interviewing (all four of them) asked the same questions of all of the candidates (all four of them) making it very easy for all of them to compare the quality of the candidates and have a clear system of hiring and everyone knew.
  • The vice president who called every candidate back, exactly as she said she would. She gave them excellent feedback on how they interviewed and, for the ones she was not going to pursue, let them down gracefully. She kept the door open for two of the candidates on down the line.
  • The hiring authority who admitted that he wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking for and admitted it. He simply asked us to send him the five best candidates we had and he will interview them, relying on our judgment, since we see so many candidates and have a better comparison than most any hiring authority.

People might be crazy, but sometimes they overcome their own craziness and manage their business competently.

…”God is great…beer is good…and people are crazy!” …Billy Currinngton

I love this song and I find myself humming it or singing it quite often. It expresses to a T the kind of things that we see on a weekly basis in our company. Candidates want to know why they don’t get hired… Just this week we had in our organization:

  • a female candidate use the F bomb in an interview
  • the candidate showed up 20 minutes late for an interview, and never apologized or even acknowledged it
  • a candidate who overwhelmed the client we sent him to with his cologne
  • a candidate immediately sat down at the interview with a notebook, and before the employer could say anything started asking a series of questions like: “How much does this job pay… What are the hours… Can you describe the benefits…and can I work from home?” And when we asked him after the interview where he came up with these questions, he said that he read it in an interviewing book.
  • a candidate who, after seven minutes of waiting, announced to the admin that she was tired of waiting and left the interview
  • a candidate who stood up in the middle of an interview with the hiring authority and stated that he was “overqualified” for the job and walked out
  • the candidate who claims that he just didn’t have time to look on the internet to look up the company and he really knew nothing about them

Now, please remember that not all of our candidates are really this challenged. Our company gets close to 100 people a week an interview. So, when you consider the low ratio of stupid things that people do, these things may not have that much of an impact. But it’s just that these kinds of ridiculous things happen daily and it keeps candidates from getting hired.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions that it’s always the candidate who screws up the interview, let me share with you some of the things that employers did this week in interviewing some of our candidates:

  • One of our illustrious clients asked the candidate, “Just exactly what are you interviewing for?”
  • Another one spent 10 minutes telling the candidate why you would want to work at the company
  • Another hiring authority told one of our candidates that he was the 15th candidate that he and interviewed and that his company really didn’t know what they were looking for
  • One hiring authority asked the candidate how old she was
  • Another hiring authority told the candidate he was just too old to be working in a place like that…that he wouldn’t fit in culturally.
  • Another hiring authority was 45 minutes late for the interview and told the candidate that he (the employer) had “a hard stop in 10 minutes.”

People are crazy!

 

 

…. being “overqualified”

John is been out of work for nine months. He just plain can’t understand why the whole world has not beaten down his door to hire him. For 12 years his company was telling him how wonderful he was, they were promoting him and giving him all kinds of plaques, raises and honors because he was such a great employee. His company was sold. His job was redundant and so they laid him off. Nice severance, they still laid him off.

As with many people who have even reasonable, if not, stellar careers, John thought all he would have to do is let the world know that he was available to be hired and it would stop spinning until he found a new job. Well, it doesn’t work that way.

John has found that there are very few jobs for an executive vice president. Companies rarely hire those kind of people “off the street.” 99% of the time a job like this is obtained just the way John attained it, by performing and getting promoted.

John went through all of his contacts and competitors only to hear that he was “overqualified”for the opportunities that they had available. They just didn’t need an executive vice president. He did have three interviews in that nine months…even for positions close to the level that he was. He was competing with nine other candidates in one instance, seven others in another instance and didn’t even ask how many others in the third opportunity. Unfortunately, he never got beyond the first interview with any of the companies. In two instances the people who interviewed him were kind enough to explain to him that the reason he didn’t get hired had nothing to do with anything he did or didn’t do, it was simply that there were other candidates they felt were better suited for the job.

John was at wits end and didn’t know what to do. One answer is pretty simple. Dumb down your resume and seek opportunities that are one or two steps below where you’ve been. Set your ego aside and forget the idea that “I’m so good, there has got to be at least one opportunity out there that I can get,” and go after just about any job you can find within reason.

We recommended that to John as well as explaining to him that when he interviews he has to sell himself differently than normal candidates. He has to be able to say to individuals he is interviewing with something along the line of:

“I realize that I have attained positions that are higher than this one I am interviewing for.             But I have found that if I like the job I’m doing and I like the people that I’m doing it with               and I’m being fairly compensated the future will take care of itself because I am a                           performer. (Whatever position he is applying for he needs to explain). I’ve been in the                    shoes of this position before and I have performed very well. I know if I perform well, I                   don’t have to worry about where it’s going to take me. Level of job that I’ve had before is             one that people mostly grow into. If the opportunity is there, I may very well be able to do           that, but now, I do need a job and even though I might appear to be overqualified                           I can do an excellent job for you and you are the kind of company that I would like to go to           work for.”

John can elaborate on this type of conversation. That is the essence of what he needs to say as well as saying it with believable humilityIf John, however, says this with any kind of false pride or insincerity he won’t get hired. Anything along the line of, “well, I guess I’d take this job if I was offered it since I can’t find anything else, but geewhiz I worked so hard to become an executive VP it is hard to imagine that there’s not a job out there like that for me…” he will shoot himself in the foot and he might as well not have even showed up for the interview.

Now, the biggest issue that’s running through an employer’s head is this, “if I hire this guy and he gets a call two months from now from someone who is looking for an executive VP, he’s going to leave.”

Before the prospective employer voices this concern…and he or she will, John has to say something along this line:

“I’m sure you might be wondering about the possibility of someone that I have                                 apply to in the past calling me sometime in the future and offering the chance to                           speak with them about an executive VP level job. The truth is that people…and                               especially myself… If they are happy at what they’re doing, like the people and the                        company they work for And are being compensated fairly, don’t just go off                                      and interview for another position. Interviewing and looking for a job is a very painful                   and emotionally difficult thing to do. Look at my track record, I’ve stayed at  every                           company I have worked with for XXXXX number of years. I just don’t interview                                 or leave companies on a whim. If I am fortunate enough to go to work here, I                                   will be a great employee for a long period of time.”

John needs to say this convincingly, with emotion and without hesitation. He can elaborate on this idea. The truth is that if people do like what they’re doing and like that people are doing it with and like the company they’re doing it with and are fairly compensated they don’t just truck off and interview at the drop of a hat. How do I know? I’m a recruiter! I call people all the time to see if they’d be interested in changing jobs. If they are within 70% happy with what they’re doing and who they are doing it with, they basically tell me to, go pound salt. One of the last things that people like doing is looking for a job. If they’re happy doing what they’re doing they just don’t go off an interview because a guy like me calls them.

Now it may take a little more convincing than these few sentences, but you get the idea. Every good leader knows how to be a good follower.

This presentation doesn’t work all the time, but it does work more often than not. Overqualified people can find a job!

 

 

 

…no expectations

Dan Ariely, the behavior economist who teaches at Duke and has written a number of books, was asked in his write-in article in the Wall Street Journal White a few week ago about what the most important quality that would help a marriage survive. His answer was to have “no expectations.” Those of us who had been married for a long period of time really understand this sage advice.

The same could be said for a job search. However, based on my experience I would amend this concept just a bit…even maybe marriage. The The biggest problem most job seekers is that they have an expectations Just about everything regarding their job search. They expect that when they see a job posting they know they can do, they will get interviewed and likely get hired. When they apply to hundreds of job opportunities they expect to get interviews. They expect to get interviews when they call their friends. They expect  to find a job easily, in a short period of time. They expect to do amazingly well on interviews. They expect to get hired when they interview and often get better money and title. They have way too many expectations.

Rarely do any of these expectations ever pan out. This is one of the greatest shocks of most job searches. And the whole problem is that people have expectations.

There is a place for expectations. And it has to do with what a candidate should expect of themselves in the job search process. A job seeker has to expect the search is going to be hard. They have to expect that they had better take massive, massive action to get interviews …with great intensity. They have to expect to make more contacts about their job search than they ever imagined. They had best expect to perform well on interviews…and get lost of them. They have to expect that they have absolutely nothing until they have a job offer….that they like.

Notice that all these expectations are about themselves and no one else. Where job seekers always run into problems is when they have expectations about other people. Interesting, isn’t it…that is probably true about marriage also.

…”lying?!! But everybody’s doing it… look at Hillary”

This is what I heard from a candidate this week. And this wasn’t some entry-level kid. This was a 20 year veteran who been an EVP at a well-known company. He was complaining because one of our clients was considering him for a regional VP job and just plain stopped when they found out that he lied. He worked at a company for about six months a number of years ago and didn’t have it on his resume. It was 10 years ago and he figured that it didn’t have anything to do with his most recent career so he left off his resume. It so happens that one of the people working at our client company recognized his resume, said that he knew him because they had worked together a number of years ago at the company… that wasn’t on his resume. Our client interpreted this as lying, which in the strictest sense, it was. So, unfortunately, they passed on him.

It was devastating to all of us, including our client firm’s CEO. Most everyone had their heart set on hiring this guy and he had his heart set on taking the job. I have started my 43rd year in this profession and I have to admit that I’m still torn about this kind of thing. Being educated from childhood by Benedictine nuns, Augustinian and Jesuit priests, I’ve always been taught to never lie. (Of course, the Jesuits would probably also consider the philosophical relativity of lying.) Even Sister Mary Peter, In third grade told us that, “if somebody comes to the door and asks if your mother is home and she’s not, you can tell them that she is, but she just can’t come to the door right now.” Or, when we were in seventh or eighth grade and read The Diary of Anne Frank  and discussed in religion class a hypothetical question, “What would you say to the Nazi trooper who came to the door and asked if there were any Jewish people in your house.” Of course we would lie.

Regarding getting a job, I have known thousands of candidates over the years who eliminated short stints on their resumes, took sole credit for accomplishments their team actually accomplished, fudged on their title, embellished on their performance, elongated the time they were at a particular company, lied about the amount of money they made, who they knew, their name change (I still will never understand the why of this), their marital status, whether or not they had a drivers license, an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, where they were born, how long they have been married, how long it took them to graduate from college, languages they were fluent in, their golf handicap, why they left their last job and the jobs before that, where they lived, the number of DWIs they’ve received, the ages of their children… Well, I’m sure you get the idea. Some people lie about important stuff as well as the most inconsequential, ridiculous stuff you ever heard of.

In spite of modern technology that can verify just about any fact, candidates still lie about things like having a degree when they don’t, length of time spent at a job, titles and some of their last positions etc. This is crazy! One phone call can reveal, for instance, if a person has a degree from any school. Why would someone lie about this? It can be “fact checked” so easily. The resume a candidate sent over the Internet three years ago is likely to be somewhere out there in cyberspace. If that same person’s resume is a lot different today than it was three years ago, the candidate will be eliminated if it is discovered. It’s that simple

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no right answer for this dilemma. The most moralist among us would justify lying under certain circumstances. Regarding a job search though, the job seeker needs to realize that they are going to be held to a higher standard than Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and all of the rest of the politicians who lie/embellish/stretch the truth/deny what they said/forget/reframe.

I have to tell people “don’t lie.” It probably isn’t going to do much good, people will lie anyhow. Just remember that employers are looking for just as many reasons not to hire you as they are to hire you. If anyone lies about anything in their job search, a prospective employer has no choice but to eliminate that candidate. It has nothing to do with the candidate’s ability to do the job or not. It has to do with the fact that if the candidate is hired in spite of the known lies, a hiring authority will be held responsible for an inept, downright stupid decision to hire a liar.

I can understand people feeling like the risk is worth running. The job someone had for three months 10 years ago probably won’t make one bit of difference in person’s performance on the job they are seeking today.  The same might go for a DWI a person got 15 years ago. Does it make a difference on how people perform if they have a degree? I know a number of very high level managers in the city who lied about having a degree, even the schools they attend. They do a hell of a job. But there’s still liars.

It’s pretty sad that we will accept outright lying from our politicians and be appalled by those who may “embellish” about their grade point in college. That’s reality! Cursing it doesn’t matter one iota.

Don’t lie.

…some of the myths of hiring

Our company has experienced ten recessions and expansions in employment since 1952. In many ways, they’re alike in the sense that the economy is more difficult and hiring slows only to be followed by an expansion. We all know objectively that these expansions and contractions are always going to happen. None of us know when. The mistake most of us make is to “read our own press clippings” and think that we’re smart enough and wise enough to outsmart and outrun a downturn in the economy. If we survived two or three recessions we realize that, as one of our ex-presidents successfully campaigned, “It’s the economy, stupid.” A good economy masks many sins.

Here are some myths about hiring that many hiring authorities use as criteria for hiring. The most successful hiring authorities realize that these are myths:

We’re really good at hiring.” Numerous studies show that the typical employment interviewing process is only 57% effective in predicting subsequent employees’ success. That’s only 7% better than flipping a coin.

“We’re so busy; we just don’t have time to screen candidates. Someone else needs to screen the best candidates.” And of course, everyone doing the screening knows exactly what “best” is, even if the HR person doing the screening has only been on the job three weeks or it’s somebody’s admin trying to “take a load off the boss.”

“We never make a mistake hiring.” You’re either a liar or you’ve never hired anyone.

“Don’t send us anybody resembling the last person who didn’t work out. We want to avoid anyone who is too short, too fat, too old, a woman, a man, had a degree,  didn’t have a degree, had too much experience, didn’t have enough experience, (or whatever the reason why we think that person didn’t make it.) It couldn’t be that we just made a mistake and so did they.

“We have a proven system for hiring. I’m just not sure what it is this week.” These “systems” seem to change with every management change.

“The more money we pay, the better candidate we can hire.” We do get what we pay for. However, it takes more than just money to attract a good candidate.

“Hiring good people is one of our highest priorities. That’s why it’s taken six or seven weeks to get through the process.” Do the paychecks show up this way too? What quality candidate is going to wait for this? Your actions are speaking so loudly that the candidate can’t hear your words.

“We need young people because they’re highly energetic.” People who have energy have energy. It has nothing to do with their age.

“We need someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.” The question should be about the quality of the experience.  Some people have one year of experience ten times and it doesn’t mean their ten years of experience is better.

“MBAs are better.” American society has deemed that more education makes a person better. It simply isn’t so.

“Why would someone with an MBA, a Ph.D., and a graduate degree want this job? A person with that much education is overqualified.” Unless it’s a scientific or academic position, (and even then, the degree level has nothing to do with capabilities), it’s hard to prove any degree causes someone to be underqualified or overqualified for any position. Let the candidate decide.

“We have to have a degree.” Ditto to the above. There are some professions, such as accounting, engineering, and scientific research, where a degree indicates an inclination toward and proficiency in a particular profession. Companies often require a degree to avoid having to interview more candidates than they wish and to let someone else, i.e. the school, “certify” the candidate. There are an amazing number of apprenticeships that companies can develop that can do the same thing.

“No online degrees. Only degrees from top-tier schools, and no foreign universities.” Within a few years, every university in America will offer online degrees. Some studies show that online students are more diligent and hard-working than classroom students. The question should be: “What did you learn?” A degree from a foreign university like Oxford might also be ok!

“People with high GPAs are smart.” Maybe book smart, but that doesn’t always translate into common sense and diligence.

Next Week: the other fifteen…