[Learn more about alternative credentials: In Search for Qualified Workers, Maryland Drops Requirement for 4-Year Degree]
The SHRM report gives the following recommendations for better identifying job candidates who have the skills that organizations seek.
- Establish consensus among senior executives, hiring managers and HR professionals on how alternative credentials should be evaluated and used in hiring and upskilling.
- Identify tiered lists of credentials; define what the organization considers acceptable or valued; and share the lists with hiring managers, recruiters and credential providers. Use industry associations, credentialing organizations and frameworks, community colleges, and workforce boards as resources to understand the requirements embedded in the credentials.
- Include screening criteria in job descriptions to focus on skills and competencies. Start with vacancies that take a long time to fill or have high turnover and test the new hiring approach with those positions. Choose a population to focus on and find the best source of this talent, build in the accommodations required, and conduct internal training to help staff move from diversity to inclusion. Make it easy for the organization to adjust to one group and apply that learning to other groups.
- Confirm that your organization's applicant tracking system (ATS) can identify alternative credentials for all candidates.
- Adopt and track internal systems that acknowledge alternative credentials when screening applicants or evaluating candidates for promotions.
- Explore nontraditional ways for applicants to present and verify their skills. Start by asking your own employees who hold alternative credentials if and how they were able to communicate their skills during hiring.
- Educate and train HR professionals and hiring managers to make alternative credentials a part of inclusive hiring practices. Consider workshops for hiring managers and employees on how alternative credentials can be part of development and career progression.
- Research emerging and existing talent management technology that can match skills with job requirements for hiring and promoting people who hold alternative credentials—including tools such as the Veterans Job Matcher, which translates veterans' skills and experience obtained in noncivilian jobs.
- Share success stories and best practices of hiring people with alternative credentials.
Source: Making Alternative Credentials Work: A New Strategy for HR Professionals, SHRM, 2022.