A few years ago, global accountancy giant Ernst & Young announced that it would remove academic credentials from their required qualifications in regards to their graduate, undergraduate and school-leaver programmes. Instead, the firm chose to base decisions off of candidate performance within strengths-based assessments and numerical tests. This announcement came after EY conducted research within their graduate pool and found that hiring decisions based upon performance in academia was too strict of an approach.

Other members of the prestigious ‘Big Four’ such as Deloitte, have also been careful to not rule out graduates based upon academic results alone. In order to avoid bias, Deloitte has ensured that interviewers do not view details of a candidates’ school or university during the process. Even a Senior VP at Google has been quoted as stating that academic marks should not be of use within the hiring process.

Could this be a wave of the future?

All recruiters have come across applicants that are well-qualified both on paper and in person, yet are lacking in the area of academic credentials. Are we right to discount these employees?

Of course, various factors come into play, such as the industry and type of role, and these should be seriously considered. However, in the ever-changing realm of business, firms must begin to pay attention to research and consider the evidence.

Studies have shown that testing and assessments may be more beneficial to consider as opposed to academic history, although tests are often conducted too late in the process, if even at all.

Implementing assessments early in the process can provide extra insurance against over-embellished CV’s or biased views that may come from a narrow academic focus. Over the last few years we’ve seen an influx in various new assessment tools as well as new assessment providers. The number of companies using psychometric testing has grown at a rate of around 10-15% annually.

Should early assessments fully replace consideration of academic criteria? Not necessarily. But we’d all be wise to consider the benefits of assessments and psychometric testing, and rethink bias related to academia, so as not to lose out on quality candidates that may have been right in front of us after all.

Within our robust recruitment process at Executive Connections we offer a range of psychometric testing on behalf of our clients. If you are interested in finding out more about any of the above services, if you are looking for a position within the Accountancy & Finance space, or are simply seeking advice please contact us on 01 661 87 40 or [email protected].