Can Finding Untraditional Candidates Spur Economic Growth?
Is America’s “skills gap” insurmountable? Bryon Auguste, the CEO and co-founder of Opportunity@Work, a non-profit organization expanding access to technology career opportunities, believes employers just need to look for talent in unexpected places.
He spoke about the problems with today’s hiring practices at the recent Workday Opportunity Onramps conference, a workforce development conference with a mission to connect driven individuals from diverse backgrounds with unfilled jobs. “Today, a company may get 800 resumes, but only wants to interview six people,” he told the crowd. “Through the automated keyword searches of a resume—including academic degrees and work history—it’s decided who a company will take the time to consider for a job. Applicants don’t have the opportunity beyond that to share their backgrounds and skills in meaningful ways.”
What about people who might have the skills, but didn’t get them in a traditional way?
He says that choosing candidates is largely determined by people’s work history, and that many people are getting caught in “resume screen.”
Degrees from recognized schools are always a golden ticket, but “What about people who might have the skills, but didn’t get them in a traditional way?” he asks.
He says he created TechHire.Careers, a online site that gives candidates performance tasks to judge their aptitude for certain professions.
“These skills challenges enable job seekers that would normally be screened out by an algorithm to demonstrate they can do the job,” he says. The organization also hosts mocks job interviews, and gives targeted feedback.
“While there are many things we ought to do to move this country forward, there is nothing really more important than giving every person a shot to transfer their effort into progress, and their learning into earning,” Auguste says. “People aren’t just mouths to feed; they are potential, energy, creativity, effort, and work.”