Archive for June 10, 2004

Universities To Blame For Credentialism?

June 10, 2004

It’s all everybody else’s fault:

EMPLOYERS are sick and tired of graduates who cannot function in the workplace, and university funding should be linked to ensuring students complete a graduate skills test, Education Minister Brendan Nelson has warned.

In an interview with The Australian, Dr Nelson has flagged plans to force universities to publish the results of the tests, revealing how many of their graduates are ready to go to work.

Why should universities do the recruiter’s job for them? If your recruiting department is continually hiring people who aren’t capable of the job, perhaps it’s time to take a look in your own backyard.

Do you test people for skills they will need in the job, or do you take a look at their degree and them give them one of those stupid fucking questionaires that ask things like “Describe a time when you had a problem and solved it.” or “Describe what you’d do in a situation if you had a problem with your boss.”

Newsflash, morons: People study up on that shit and regurgitate canned answers. There are plenty of people around who will teach a course on how to pass it. It’s not much of a secret.

The reality is that most university degrees are an absolute waste of time and money, and that employers have nobody but themselves to blame for that. Twenty years of recruiting based on credentials rather than ability have led to the degree factories that churn out graduates with no skills.

Here’s a novel approach that you might like to try out: When recruiting for a position, set the applicant some tasks that reflect some things he or she will actually be doing in the job. You know, like replacing the toner in the printer, or showing the brainless-but-tenured personal assistant how to use the “fill down” feature in Excel. The applicant who does the best at these job-related tasks is going to be the person most suited for the job. Not the one with the most degrees.

The fact is that the emperor of tertiary education has no clothes. Unless you are recruiting an actual accountant or financial analyst, there’s nothing you learn in a 3 year business degree that couldn’t be better learned on-the-job in 2 weeks.

If you insist on recruiting graduates, then you must be prepared for the fact that they are not going to be any more skilled than your average 17 year old school leaver. The only real difference is that you’ll have to pay them more, because they have rather large HECS debts.

The solution is pretty simple, really. Judge applicants on their merits rather than their credentials, and you’ll be more successful. Not to mention that taxpayers would be saved umpteen millions of dollars each year by way of not having to pay for useless degrees.