In the age of cut-throat competition, students focus more on getting degrees from Ivy-League colleges. Hiring companies have made it a norm to select employees based on their certificates. But in an interview with Elon Musk in 2014, he had, surprisingly, put skills over degrees.
To most of us, getting a degree from a prestigious institute is a priority. Everyone who is studying in school dreams of getting a degree from their dream university. But is the degree everything? The owner of Tesla and SpaceX says no, it isn’t.
His clear message to all the students and hirers is to not obsess over degree. When asked in the interview what university degree does he look for in the applicant’s form, he said that he doesn’t look for any. According to him, a degree from a top university may show someone’s talent but it isn’t a pre-requisite.
He pointed out big names like Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs. All of them failed to graduate. And yet their names are set in history books. This shows that true talent does not need any certificate from a university. Musk puts skills over degrees and rightly so – as these big names prove it.
Even the companies are trying to save much hassle of going through loads of resumes. They are asking for a degree for posts where the previous position holders performed well without one. This has resulted in something called degree inflation. As a result, they end up paying about 30% more for the skills than they actually need to.
How to excel without any degree?
The managers of companies need to understand that demanding degrees is costing them more money. They are paying more and also missing out on great talents.
As AngelList noted, the attitude of Elon Musk regarding skills over degrees should encourage youngsters. Young students should realize that putting complete energy and concentration into grades is not good. Their skill is the one thing they need the most to thrive. How well one is skilled and how frequently they update their skills is much more important.
The co-founder of AngelList, Naval Ravikant, gave 3 advice to all the newbie-
1. What you study and how you study it is a lot more important than where and the duration of your study.
2. The Internet has the best of everything. It has the best teachers, books, and peers too.
3. If one has enough passion to learn, one will find that they have many tools to accomplish whatever they want.
Take this valuable advice from top entrepreneurs and focus more on learning. Getting a university degree isn’t everything, having skills is. If Elon Musk himself says that he puts skills over degrees, then you better believe it.
For Elon, there is one thing that shows clear evidence of exceptional ability.
It’s not about the degree – according to the Elon, there are 3 suggestions that recruiters should consider:
1. Solving a problem
Recruiters should give the candidates a day-to-day problem and ask them to solve it to see their critical skills.
By conducting a contest, recruiters should be able to find out the job potential of a candidate and zero in on their skills. Two effective things about this are that contests will help employees to keep themselves engaged and data reveals that companies hire outside the employee pool quite often. So, contests can bring out these hidden talents.
3. Skill tests
Rather than going for degrees, Musk believes that recruiters should conduct skill tests. That will bring dynamic to the company and also help in developing a skilled community too which values practical skills over degrees.
Hiring is not an easy job – and to get it right, you need to aim for clear evidence of exceptional ability in people.