Online education is at a crossroads. On the one hand, internet degree programs have lowered costs and extended access to college to millions of new students. But on the other hand, a wave disreputable companies has flooded the market with less than legitimate education options. That presents a real challenge for hiring managers – how do you determine if a candidate with an online degree is adequately prepared for the role you need to fill? Here’s a few tips:
Check the Alma Mater Out
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to evaluate the quality of an online degree program with just a little bit of research. First, check that the institution is accredited, and that the accreditation is legitimate. Many institutions will claim to meet the rigorous standard necessary to earn accreditation, but only those accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (USDE) should be trusted. Be especially weary of schools that claim to be “state-licensed” or “state-approved.”
Ask the Right Interview Questions
Asking a candidate to describe their college experience isn’t typically a part of the interview process, but in this case it should be. Find out what kind of classes the candidate took, what kind of assignments they completed, how the online classes were structured, and what was required to graduate. It should be fairly obvious how well the institution engaged the student, plus you learn something about the candidate’s communication skills.
Focus on the Soft Skills
One of the best things about online programs is that they can be completed from almost anywhere, and on a fairly flexible schedule. And while this is good for students, particularly non-traditional students, it doesn’t perfectly mimic the atmosphere of a traditional class room where students are expected to collaborate on projects, engage in productive discussions, and behave with a professional level of decorum. Before you commit to a candidate with an online degree, make sure they have the soft skills necessary to be a contributing member of your office. Candidates who have been through quality online programs should have no problem demonstrating the professional aspects of their personality.
As a final takeaway, remember that online education becomes more popular and common every year, and finding qualified candidates is always a challenge. You may be tempted to write these candidates off entirely, but you might be disqualifying your next best employee as a result. Do your due diligence and it really is possible to hire an online graduate with confidence. Find more smart staffing strategies by working with JH Technical Services for jobs in Pittsburgh and more!