That age old question that has plagued so many of us.
We spoke to Danielle O’Brien, an HR Business Lead with more than 17 years of experience in the field.
Here is what she had to say…….
Look, if you’re a doctor or midwife or a lawyer, then yes, absolutely. But I think to get a lot of jobs, it’s not necessary to have the right education or experience. I think there are a lot of things over what has now been a 17 year HR career for me, that I’ve learned in the field.
For example, if I went to University, they might have taught me how to release an employee. But it doesn’t mean anything until you’re sitting in a room looking face to face at someone and having to tell them that you no longer have a job for them, nothing can prepare you for that. And even over the 17 years I’ve been doing that, everybody reacts differently. And even people that maybe you thought would react in a certain way, react in a completely different way. So being able to deal with those circumstances, it comes from life experience. It comes from doing the job. It comes from practice, it comes from just exposing yourself to those situations.
I identify with the question because even with some of my friends, I hear them say, “oh, I can’t apply for this job because I don’t have this degree”, and I really see that it impacts their self confidence especially when I look at them and think they would be amazing at that job and they have all of the right competencies and the right skills to do it.
I think sometimes people need that confidence boost and need to move away from the fact that they didn’t study at University. And I think some people feel that it holds them back because they didn’t get a degree, which I think at a certain point of your life, after all the experience that you gain, it just becomes a piece of paper.
Also, I work with a lot of executive leaders, and I’ve seen really high performing leaders that didn’t have a degree or didn’t finish their degree. They don’t go around telling people that. But I knew it. There was one person in particular who was so talented and had built his career on the fact that he had all of the right soft skills. He could build relationships with people. He was driven. He was able to build trust with his clients. He was so hardworking, he just was able to get the job done. He was really goal orientated to bring results. He is a salesperson, so had a real hunter instinct. That’s not something that you get at University, that’s something that people are born with. You’re either a Hunter or you’re not.
So sometimes it’s just not relevant. It really comes down to the person being the right fit for the job, the person being the right fit for the company, the environment that they’re working in and the team. You know, is this someone you actually would want to be in your team that you have to go for lunch with on Fridays.
And all the teams I’ve worked in have become like families for me. So you want a person that you like to be in that team. So there’s a lot of different factors. I think when it comes to choosing the right person, I would encourage people not to be put off by the fact that they don’t necessarily have all of the experience or some of the experience or a degree behind them. Just get out there and apply. If you’re the right person, your recruiter will see that.
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