Well, to continue the dialogue . . .
maneo wrote:No, risk is not proportional to the ranking of the school, even for purely entry level jobs.
What matters is how well the candidate made use of the opportunity provided by the school they attended. The hiring manager better be assessing this through smart interview questioning and not merely checking the ranking of the school.
There are at least two buts: (1) typically, higher ranked provide better opportunities
Higher ranked schools should be providing better opportunities - better professors (if they're not too busy publishing or succumbing to other bureaucratic BS), better facilities, better cohorts, higher expectations, etc.
However, when entitlement babies go to such schools those opportunities are often squandered.
Hence the counter-intuitive reactions of hiring managers like the one I mentioned.
Again, what matters is how well the candidate made use of the opportunities provided.
Note that this would be a basis for very smart questioning.
maneo wrote:The hiring manager better be assessing this through smart interview questioning and not merely checking the ranking of the school.
... and, (2) more importantly, such assessment is very difficult, requires skilled staff and is impractical to be done concerning entry level jobs.
If you want to have good people, such assessment is absolutely necessary.
Yes, it requires skilled staff - and that is the first place to start hiring smart.
It is not impractical for entry level jobs, unless you are giving up and resigning yourself to mediocrity and high turnover in those positions.
I remember an article on this in HBR
many years ago by TJ Rogers, in which he had an interesting view on and process for hiring (which he also presented in his book, No Excuses Management
): pre-screen, reference check, phone interview, face-to-face interview.
The supervisors for the positions being filled should be directly involved in the hiring.
You must not delegate hiring to HR, especially not if HR personnel are simply bureaucratic.
That will lead to mediocrity (and then you will deserve what you get).
maneo wrote:I knew a successful manager that preferred to hire those from Universiti Sains Malaysia than those from NUS.
He found that innate character was a better predictor of success and this is not something you get from a university. Those that came from kampungs and made it through the university had the grit needed to succeed.
I believe you, I know such cases first hand (I am probably such a case too) but It's impractical and if you deviate from anecdotal type of evidence and try to see more general picture, still among 1000 candidates from Harvard you will find more better skilled people than within a group of 1000 candidates from BYDHU (Buy Your Degree Here University). Or not?
Again, the questionable MBA degree was irrelevant to the position, so the comparison is also irrelevant.
However, when the degree is relevant and someone has a questionable degree, whether due to institution or relevance, then it is
time for smart questioning just in case they might be surprisingly good (and just made a bad choice early on, and hopefully got that out of their system).
While the probabilities of finding better people from Harvard would be ever in your favour, I would worry that a Murphy's corollary would hold, that you've got the one bad one in front of you.
(There is a rather infamous former US president that graduated from Yale and got an MBA from Harvard, yet didn't have the sense nor the ability to see past his own biases and subject questionable assertions to reasonable scrutiny for what was a very critical decision
By the way, if you had someone from Harvard in front of you, shouldn't you be asking why they are in front of you here in SG rather than in some high flying position elsewhere with much greater opportunities?
maneo wrote:[an irrelevant “fluff” MBA degree obtained 6 years before] is still irrelevant for a technical position.
You hire people, not robots to do the job. They will not only code, or design, or do whatever they suppose to do but also interact with other people. And you. They have to have a good level of commitment, be honest and posses some other old fashioned merits. If I see somebody flashing a shady degree to my eyes it is for me a warning sign despite of all his technical skills. Of course I will not disqualify anybody based on this but I will ask questions. If I have a chance.
It's good that you have an open enough mind to ask questions.
If you ask (in a non-judgemental and curious way) why the person chose that particular university, it should give a good window into how they think.
There are many possibilities, and you may find out that it was a practical choice, or you may find that the candidate may have regretted it after starting, but followed through anyway because he/she always follows through what is started. To be arbitrarily negative is to be very presumptuous about motive.