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Challenging Traditional Job Requirements to Broaden Candidate Eligibility

For Charlie Hatton, a U.S. military veteran who joined PSE&G as a project quality assurance/quality control specialist in 2015, showing how his military experience could transfer to a specific role was initially difficult.

“I applied for a job that I thought I was a good fit for, although I realized that the person screening the resumes might not agree because of my military background,” Hatton said. “It turned out I was right, and I didn’t get the interview.”

After that experience, Hatton reached out to PSEG’s Accelerated Mobility team. Launched in 2020, the program seeks to broaden the candidate pool eligible for roles within PSEG and help employees achieve their career goals.

A key part of the program is reviewing job descriptions before they are posted to analyze and, often, adjust education and job experience requirements that may unnecessarily limit the scope of qualified candidates. For example, some roles historically required a bachelor’s degree.

Prior to posting, the program team works with the hiring manager to determine if the degree requirements can be broadened or if candidates can qualify for the role with experience in lieu of a degree.

“In the past, we may have required a very specific degree or experience in the job description for a posted role,” said Joyce Heckman, director of Talent Acquisition and lead for the Accelerated Mobility program. “We realized that this was too limiting. By changing how we approach job qualifications, we are enabling more individuals to be considered.”

The program also supports employees through the hiring process. After Hatton was turned down for the interview, through the Accelerated Mobility program he received 1:1 coaching and guidance on how to strengthen his resume and translate his military experience into concrete skills relevant to a hiring manager. He also participated in an interview prep webinar. The result: The next time he applied for a position, he got the interview – and the job.

Learn more about SHRM Foundation’s Skilled Credentials at Work initiative and the value skilled credentials can bring to your workplace and building a diverse workforce here. Gain insights, the business case and starting points for implementing a skills-based hiring strategy in your workplace.


This real-life story is from PSEG's 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report and is reused with permission.


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