Student Success Blog For Educators


March 07, 2017

Your hiring managers are WRONG to select students by alma mater & GPA

Hiring managers spend thousands of hours each year hunting for the next “perfect” candidate, especially through connections that provide access to eager college and university students. Recent or soon-to-be graduates seem to be the crème of the crop for some recruiters, and rightfully so. They bring a fresh perspective to the job and the company as a whole, not to mention the fact they have yet to be jaded by previous poor-fitting job experiences. To reach these prospective employees, focusing on a target school and a no-less-than GPA number has long been the norm. Unfortunately, basing a hire’s potential on his alma mater or GPA doesn’t work out well for most hiring managers.

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Why the Draw to School and Grades?

Most are quick to admit that seeing a student’s high GPA from a prestigious school gets a resume put at the top of the candidate list. The theory boils down to this: if a student can be a high performer in a competitive, notably challenging school environment like an Ivy League university, they are sure to be a high performer in the professional world. The traditional metrics used to assess a student’s capabilities point to future success, but in all reality, alma mater and GPA hardly do potential hires – or hiring managers – justice.

A Shift to Evidence-based Hiring

As hiring managers, if you want to understand more about how a recent grad will fit the bill, put the school and GPA noted on his or her resume to the side. First, targeting only prestigious or high-ranking college and universities for potential hires leaves out swathes of students and recent graduates who could be the ideal fit for an organization. Prestige does not always lead to quality in the hiring process, and not considering students and grads from other, lesser-known or lower-ranking universities will leave your candidate pool devastatingly shallow.

Focusing on GPA creates the same unfortunate results. Although a minimum GPA requirement gives a recognizable floor for hiring managers to use as they sift through resumes, the metric does little more than show an individual can complete tasks assigned to them. GPA is only a determining factor in classroom performance – not real-world performance.

To get out of the muck of hiring ill-fit candidates based on outdated metrics, hiring managers need to implement evidence-based hiring. Through this process, reviewing a student or recent graduate’s actual work, showcased through a digital portfolio, is a better determinant of what he or she will be able to accomplish on the job. Evidence-based hiring tools like Portfolium give hiring managers the keen ability to understand better how students learn, how they apply abstract concepts and theories to real-life situations, and the skills and unique talents they possess. Moving away from alma mater and GPA-based hiring toward assessments of a candidate’s actual abilities is more likely to produce positive outcomes for students and organizations alike.

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