Can Digital ‘Badges’ and ‘Nanodegrees’ Protect Job Seekers From a First-Round Knockout? (Chronicle)

November 25, 2014

By Steve Kolowich

Hiring managers look at each résumé for an average of six seconds, according to a 2012 study by TheLadders, a job-hunting website.

In those six seconds, the recruiter looks at the applicant’s name, information about current and previous jobs, and education. Then a quick yes or no, and it’s on to the next one.

The study, which enjoyed another round of publicity last month, after Business Insider made a video about its findings, raised the question about how much candidates’ education—that is, what they learned, rather than where they went—matters when it comes to making it past the early rounds of vetting.

Critics have argued that a college degree does not say much about a candidate’s abilities apart from the ability to get into, and graduate from, a particular college. Employers themselves complain that a college degree doesn’t predict whether a graduate will make a good employee. Purveyors of alternative credentials have rushed to fill the gap, designing “badges”and “nanodegrees” that are more specific about what skills applicants actually possess.

And yet—how much more information can applicants really hope to get across if a recruiter is spending only a few seconds sizing them up?

[full article here.]

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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