Prediction: Companies Will Audition Talent, Not Recruit for Traditional Degrees

Status: Occurring

Prediction: Talent Will Matter, Degrees Will Not

Prediction 1: You will audition to land that job

“It’s clear employers have the leverage in a weak market. Many can even get free work done through their recruiting activities by asking recruits to prove they can do it first. GILD by Pac Labs offers a platform where tech job candidates compete in employer-sponsored challenges. Those who deliver the best work, get jobs. More and more companies can see proof of work before hiring, whether it is through competitions or structured environments

Econovation, 2011,p.76-77

Soon, you’ll get jobs by auditioning.

 – Keynotes – CFO Conference 2012 & Frost & Sullivan 2011

Today’s universities are yesterday’s record companies. Talent doesn’t have to come from one of the major “labels” (aka schools). We have the technology to implement mass-discovery. We can pre-qualify thousands of candidates for the right skills, motivation, and personality fit – at scale. This rewards effort and eliminates the need for expensive diplomas. Startups like HireArt are starting to do this already.

Unshackle The Debtors, Jan 2014

What’s Happening:

Employers eliminating Degrees

Others are arriving at this conclusion years after we saw it coming:

13. Companies will hire more candidates from nontraditional educational backgrounds.
“The workplace is constantly shifting and the market for talent in the tech industry is evolving even faster than most others. With skills and talent coming at a premium, managers are looking at non-traditional education programs such as coding bootcamps to fill developer positions, especially as debates around the value of a four-year degree rage on. Bootcamp students learn more immediately applicable skills for the workplace, and hiring managers are taking notice of the value. Some notable tech companies have even eliminated college degree requirements all together, opening the door for an influx of hires from non-traditional backgrounds.”–Loren Boyce, director of talent acquisition at DigitalOcean, a cloud platform for building modern applications, with a community that is more than 3.5 million developers strong and a $200 million run rate

Google, Apple and 13 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree, Sep 2018

1. Google
2. Ernst & Young (EY)
3. Penguin Random House
4. Costco Wholesale
5. Whole Foods
6. Hilton
7. Publix
8. Apple
9. Starbucks
10. Nordstrom
11. Home Depot
12. IBM
13. Bank of America
14. Chipotle
15. Lowe’s

Ernst & Young Stopped Requiring Degrees. Should You? 2015

“The U.K. offices of Ernst & Young have announced they will stop requiring degrees, but instead will offer online testing and search out talented individuals regardless of background. Why? They say there is no correlation between success at university and success in careers.”

America: Abandon Your Reverence for the Bachelor’s Degree 2015

“The programs are still relatively new, but early outcome data is encouraging. According to a 2014 impact evaluation, 75 percent of graduates were employed two years out, with average earnings ranging from more than $80,000 for graduates of the radiology programs to $27,000 for those earning an applied-management degree, with an average of $37,000 across all programs—comparable to the earnings of students graduating with traditional four-year degrees.”

Scaled, Skill-Based Auditioning

Tesla and LinkedIn Think Resumes Are Overrated. They Use These Neuroscience-Based Games Instead, Jun 2018

Pymetrics wants to replace resumes with online quizzes. Some big-name companies have been happy to oblige.

Polli might be biased, but she thinks that switching from resumes to assessment tests will be especially important in the age of AI and automation. As more workers are displaced and forced to look for new kinds of work, a test might become a company’s best hiring metric–and a candidate’s best chance of landing a job.

The results have been promising. Polli says that some companies have more than doubled the percentage of candidates they hire out of those they invite for in-person interviews. One-year retention rates have increased by between 30 and 60 percent. And companies are reporting that job performance has improved among newly hired candidates.

“Here’s how it works: A company posts a job on HackerRank’s portal, which also gives applicants access to a technical evaluation based on curriculum it creates. Once a test is completed, applicants know within five days if a company wants to move forward with its hiring process. HackerRank’s Vice President of Product, David Park, says it’s a powerful way to differentiate candidates. It also helps prospective employers hire on skill rather than pedigree. Facebook, for instance, can create a test that leans almost entirely on its Parse platform to know if an applicant is as well-versed as the company needs them to be.”

Interviewed Raises A $2M Seed Round, Expands Beyond Basic Job Simulations 2015

“While originally targeting non-technical assessments for sales, customer service, or administrative positions, Interviewed has already expanded into new assessments to evaluate more specialized positions. One new assessment is financial modeling, where Interviewed’s software monitors how a candidate uses Excel to evaluate a data set.”

The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead. Here’s What the Top Companies Are Replacing It With 2017

“The data from Friedman’s research confirms that when we choose auditions versus interviews, we can create a far better approach to hiring people, and a better workplace that has the right people you want for your jobs and your culture.”

Angel List Engineer Testing 2017

“Apply to 100 top startups at once. Complete a code quiz and get introduced to top companies.”

MIT Has An Innovative Admissions Program to Expand its Applicant Pool 2015

The university announced on Wednesday that it was starting what it called an “inverted admissions” program in which students who excel in a series of free online courses—and a subsequent examination—will have better chances of being accepted into the school’s full master’s program.

A New Kind of Tech Job Emphasizes Skills, Not a College Degree 2017

“The skills-based concept is gaining momentum, with nonprofit organizations, schools, state governments and companies, typically in partnerships, beginning to roll out such efforts. On Wednesday, the approach received a strong corporate endorsement from Microsoft, which announced a grant of more than $25 million to help Skillful, a program to foster skills-oriented hiring, training and education. The initiative, led by the Markle Foundation, began last year in Colorado, and Microsoft’s grant will be used to expand it there and move it into other states.”

The Future of Recruiting Won’t Have Any Resumes, and Two More Predictions From an Expert, Jun 2018

Jennifer likes the idea of opening up internal training resources to potential candidates, in what she calls online “learning lounges.” Recruiters would be able to find talent that took the time to upskill and measure how they performed, giving a strong indicator of their suitability for the role.

In lieu of resumes, technology will allow recruiters to pick up on more behavioral signals from candidates about their skills, competencies, passions, traits, and career interests.


Prediction 2: Rise of alternative certifications for education, instead of traditional degrees

“Accenture and Andersen did this really well. The company’s philosophy was that field practitioners could teach new skills to colleagues better and faster than any school. Today, companies don’t need a campus. Internally, podcasts, articles, Skype and videos are easier than ever for employees to produce and distribute. Externally, there are plenty of corporate training companies and inexpensive online courses from startups like Udemy and Coursera. Equally important is crediting employees and job candidates for their modular, non-traditional education. A startup called Degreed is helping companies make that transition.”


“As more diverse, less indebted workers enter the market, certification authority will shift from schools to businesses. Today, a school’s culture and reputation “brand” each graduate to marketplace. Whether a student soaked up every morsel of knowledge or every ounce of beer, that diploma certifies ’em fresh, like the FDA does with beef. It’s only later in a career that knowledge and experience surpass school branding. Just watch VC’s trip over themselves to fund anyone who’s worked at Apple or Google – even if was in the cafeteria. The same thing can happen across the board as more students will be able to put GE or Pepsi or American Express on their resumes – sooner rather than tens of thousands of dollars later.”

Unshackle The Debtors, Jan 2014

What’s Happening

Modular education & alternative degrees are taking off. As skill sets rapidly go in and out of demand, corporations, institutions, are allowing individuals to choose their necessary, specified skills when and where they need through modular platforms and online institutions.

Edtech’s Next Big Disruption Is The College Degree 2015


“By 2020, the traditional degree will have made room on its pedestal for a new array of modern credentials that are currently gaining mainstream traction as viable measures of learning, ability and accomplishment.”

How Will Education Change in the Next 10 Years (2017–2026)? (Kahn Academy founder on future of education), 2017

“Competency Based Credentials

…I think that in 10 years, you will have globally recognized credentials that are independent of any individual academic institution. In order to achieve them, you need to prove skill competency, have great peer reviews, and have an impressive portfolio (I believe that you should have a portfolio regardless of what you want to do in life).”

Nanodegrees

Udacity Says It Can Teach Tech Skills to Millions, and Fast 2015

The nanodegree works like this: Last year, Udacity partnered with technology companies to create online courses geared toward teaching a set of discrete, highly prized technical skills — including mobile programming, data analysis and web development. Students who complete these courses are awarded the nanodegree, a credential that Udacity has worked with Google, AT&T and other companies to turn into a new form of workplace certification.

A Smart Way to Skip College in Pursuit of a Job 2014

AT&T will accept the NanoDegree as a credential for entry-level jobs (and is hoping to persuade other companies to accept it, too) and has reserved 100 internship slots for its graduates. Udacity is also creating NanoDegrees with other companies.

Accredible Partners With Udacity To Provide Context To Nanodegrees 2015

Accredible, which provides online credentials as a service, is announcing a partnership today to provide digital certificates for Udacity’s burgeoning nanodegree program. The startup has created an API that pulls data from existing online learning platforms — in this case Udacity — and creates an online certificate that summarizes the student’s behavior and learning in a course.”

Silicon Valley Turns Its Eye to Education 2015
Coursera earns revenue by selling verified certificates to students who complete its courses.

Tech Certification Evolves

A new pathway to roles in IT Support, Jan 2018

Today, we’re launching the Google IT Support Professional Certificate hosted on Coursera—a first-of-its-kind online program to prepare people for roles in IT support. With no previous experience required, beginning learners can become entry-level job ready in eight to 12 months. This program is part of Grow with Google, our initiative to help people get the skills they need to find a job.

Coding Bootcamps Are Replacing Computer Science Degrees 2015

“Course Report’s 2015 Bootcamp Market Size Study estimates that coding bootcamps will train “an estimated 16,056 graduates in 2015, up from 6,740 in 2014.” If their prediction is correct, coding bootcamps will have trained about a third of the number of 2013’s computer science graduates (50,962).* And Course Report estimates a drop to 48,700 computer science grads in 2014.”

Did LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda just kill the ed tech space?, 2015
Connects modular certification provider Lynda with LinkedIn’s recruiting business.

Education Becomes More Modular

The Future of MIT Education Looks More Global, Modular, and Flexible 2014

Lifelong Training Is the Future of Work 2017

“As technology changed faster and in more unpredictable ways, Vinge predicted, society’s notion of education would evolve as well, becoming an institution dedicated not to preparing legions of young people for a single job, but to helping workers constantly adapt.”

How 3 Innovative Companies Are Rethinking Learning at Work, 2018

The Inspirus approach involves microlearning. “Microlearning consists of short, five-minute bursts of content available via mobile devices that can be easily blended into a workday, and that empowers the user to learn anywhere at any time,” Harkins says. “Our clients are realizing that employees don’t have as much time to attend a training class or take an hourlong online course.”

You Can Now Take an Entire MBA Course Online for Free 2015
This is the first true disaggregation of certification from education that’s reflected in pricing:

While all the classes for the MBA will be available online, those who want an actual MBA from the University of Illinois, not just a certificate, will have to apply for admission to the full iMBA program and pay about $20,000 in tuition.

Price aside, Coursera says the iMBA program is unique because it will let students “stack” credentials, meaning they can pile on courses in certain skills that may help them advance in their careers or even find new jobs.

“It’s a completely innovative way of aggregating credentials, which really allows people to consume what they want, when they want it,” says Daphne Koller, president of Coursera. “If you want to learn digital marketing, you can sign up for that specialization; if you want to learn about business negotiation, you can do that; and if you want the full MBA, you’re on the path for that as well.”

The Log-On Degree, Mar 2015

ASU has linked up with Starbucks, a coffee chain, to provide online degrees for company staff.

The notion that online degrees are inferior is starting to fade. Top-notch universities such as Pennsylvania State and Columbia now offer them in many subjects. Georgia Tech has had an online-only master’s degree in computer science since 2014, which it considers just as good as its campus version. Minerva, a “virtual” university based in San Francisco, offers online seminars to students who hop from city to city gaining work and cultural experience.

“Freeing universities from their geographical constraints might mean that undergraduates at, say, Ohio State could collect an extra course-credit or two from Harvard. That could increase choice for students and create new revenue streams for the universities with the best digital offerings.”

More personalization and automation

Ending the Classroom Factory Model: How Technology Will Personalize Education 2015

This Robot Tutor Will Make Personalizing Education Easy 2015

What’s Next?