Are degrees pointless in recruitment?

Have you ever met anyone that wanted to be a recruiter ‘when they grew up’?

Me neither.

As a student, the first thing you know about recruitment is the sight of a couple of stands at a university careers fair. Either that or you found your job online. One of the 5000 ‘trainee recruitment consultant’ roles on a job board that promised £50k OTE on a £15k base salary.

Most of us ‘fell into’ recruitment, and lets be honest – went to university for the ‘life skills’, or to tick a box.

There are many companies that still require a tick in a box for you to apply, but the same ones aren’t willing to consider those with a drive to work from a young age, who haven’t partied their life away for the last three years.

It’s a bit of a misnomer when you think about it – especially in recruitment, where companies want to hire the financially motivated, career hungry, ambitious types- surely skipping university when it is an option is a great thing!

Degrees, in general, seem to be less highly regarded for your career than they were a few years back.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, has been quoted as saying that while good grades don’t hurt, they’re “worthless as a criteria for hiring.

Ernst and Young have gone further in saying that there’s ‘no evidence’ that University equals success.

In recruitment the same thing is starting to happen. Companies are more willing to consider applicants who don’t have a degree, but do show the ambition to succeed. If you come across well with drive and personality, you’ve got a good shot at landing a role with a reputable brand, even if they say they want a degree on their website.

La Fosse Associates, for example, have published a blog highlighting 10 Reasons that starting your career early is beneficial compared with going to university.

Many successful entrepreneurs dropped out of university, and it’s not really that different!

There’s no degree in recruitment (I stand mistaken…), and even if there was, most people will agree that three months on the job will teach you much more than a degree about what it takes to be successful.

Successful recruiters have backgrounds in every subject under the sun. It’s the entrepreneurial drive, motivation and relentless ambition that usually weeds out the ones who aren’t cut for it pretty early on – it’s not an easy job, and success is so evident.

Degrees in business studies, psychology, marketing and so on will have aspects that might help out initially. Where some people can justify their degree is in more technical recruitment sectors, true executive search or if they require foreign languages.

If you are working with senior lawyers or computer scientists, an in depth understanding of the industry and tools through study can offer a huge amount of creditability.

As the industry continues to change, and degrees become more and more expensive, the likelihood is that we’ll continue to see more junior recruiters, and without degrees. How do you feel this will change the industry? Did your degree make you a more ‘successful’ recruiter?