Hiring for Skills vs. Studies

May 24, 2019

What do Ashling Team’s CEO Colleen Lennox and IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty have in common? The viewpoint that cybersecurity skills should be more highly valued (than studies). 

In a recent Dice article, Rometty discussed that tech employers should focus more on skills, than on degrees. And Lennox agrees, emphasizing that although ‘experience’ obviously varies, employers should weigh work history more heavily.

“The caliber of experience is what’s critical,” says Lennox. “Work ethic, job hopping, and career progression characterize the depth and breadth of a professional’s experience and what should be more closely considered and valued.”

Drawing from nearly three decades of experience specializing in placing and procuring infotech and infosec professionals, Lennox explains that when reviewing resumes and online profiles, your eyes first hit the experience section.

“Inevitably, you come across a fantastic candidate, who’s experience is spot-on for a specific position, but she/he doesn’t have a degree, so then you have to eliminate that person from consideration. It’s a shame,” Lennox says.

“In the cybersecurity industry, it’s shortsighted to pass-up people based upon their completion of a degree. Unfortunately, many companies are still universally applying hiring standards and requirements across all jobs and departments,” continues Lennox. 

“However, information security is a rapidly-evolving, growing industry wherein education can’t yet keep up and, therefore, isn’t commensurate with relevant experience,” she continues.

Lennox notes that many of the companies with which Ashling Team partners— leaders in the healthcare, finance and consulting industries— will forgo a degree based upon the caliber, depth and specificity of a person’s experience.


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