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July 19, 2013
Does Education Trump Experience?
There will always be some good candidates who don't have a college education. Should you even consider them?
On one front, you can pay them a lower salary and can teach them the fundamentals of your business without book knowledge getting in the way. On the other hand, they might fall short with some qualities college graduates tend to have.
Here are the main things to consider when deciding if you will hire someone with only a high school diploma:
Education Versus Experience
The first consideration is deciding what education versus experience is worth to you.
Someone without a college degree may have plenty of work experience. College doesn’t always indicate a person’s level of hands-on expertise. Recent college graduates have the education and knowledge, but may be looking for their first job, and could be very green in a variety of ways.
Depending on the type of position, there are times when hiring the candidate with more experience is a wiser move, but many companies have policies against that, or at least a preexisting prejudice against those who didn't continue their educations beyond high school.
Paying a Higher Salary
If you are hiring someone who has gone to college, you’re going to be paying a higher salary. In some cases, you pay up to 50 percent more for a college graduate than you do for someone who has only gone to high school.
If you’re a smaller business with both flexibility and a small budget, hiring someone who is experienced but doesn't have a degree can offer an incredible return on investment.
Being Able to Train from the Beginning
One thing employers tend to forget is that the mentality of a college graduate is different than someone who doesn’t have experience or a degree.
College graduates, especially recent grads, are often married to what they learned in school, which sometimes involves a great deal of theoretical information that does not necessarily work in the real world. Someone who is less academic can be more willing to learn the way you train them to from the very beginning.
If you still don’t feel comfortable hiring someone who doesn’t have a college degree, you could hire them as temp-to-perm employees. This lets you first see how they operate, whether they are motivated and learn quickly, and are a right fit for your company. If not, you don’t need to worry about the complicated process of laying them off. But if they work out well, you can hire them as a permanent, full-time employee.

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Tina Samuels writes for a variety of websites, including Intelius.com. Among the subjects she covers are small business payroll, social media, and merchant accounts. When not working, you can find her relaxing at home in Georgia.
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