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  • Writer's pictureMSI Marketing

Are You Using Non-Traditional Talent In Your Talent Acquisition Strategy?

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

In the past, a college degree was an immediate requirement for white-collar jobs. However, this is no longer the case. Today, companies are looking for candidates with the skills and experience to get the job done, regardless of whether or not they have a degree.

This shift in talent acquisition strategy is opening up a brand-new talent pool for companies. Potential candidates who may not have a college degree but have the passion and commitment to broadening their careers can now apply for roles they may not have been considered for in the past.

What is a “non-traditional” candidate? Non-traditional candidates typically do not fit the ‘traditional’ job requirement mode. They do not follow the education/degree or career path that has historically been the Talent Acquisition and Hiring Manager mode. Interestingly, this cadre of talent has different experiences that can be game-changers, including studying outside the typical path, desiring to return to the workforce, or having unique backgrounds that add value to the company. Tech companies tend to acclimate faster to the ‘non-traditional’ candidate because they want access to better/more interesting skills. Broad-based skills are more appealing than holding a degree – various types of experiences open their talent pool – increasing the company’s health and employees’ experience.


Increasing the Talent Pool A key focus on utilizing ‘non-traditional’ talent is that it diminishes current talent shortages. Now Talent Acquisition has at least three search areas:

  • Traditional talent pools – degreed talent with an industry focus.

  • Talent Pool with a degree who wants to focus on a different industry.

  • Non-traditional pool – non-degreed with experience and skills that can morph into the industry.

  • All these talent pools bring diverse talent to the company supporting DEI initiatives.


First Steps In revising a company’s Talent Acquisition strategy to accommodate ‘non-traditional’ candidates, the following questions should be asked: What can be learned in evaluating the company’s hiring process?

  • What should be changed?

  • How will the company evaluate success? What skills and requirements are needed to do the role?

  • Why is a traditional degree required?

  • Can the role be learned?

  • What benefits do different skills bring to the role?

The Future of Work Companies need to expand and diversify their talent pipelines. Employees are increasingly interested in moving to roles outside their current areas of expertise. With the talent shortage, companies must set new hiring standards to include ‘non-traditional’ hires as hiring managers are less concerned with industry experience and technical skills. Candidates will be assessed on their ability to perform their role, not their credentials or prior work experience. It’s time to move away from old-school assumptions about qualifications that no longer work. Our Expertise MSI’s Consulting and Advisory Team supports the design and development of Talent Acquisition strategies that align to HR, Talent, and company goals. Our focus is helping organizations optimize and develop long range strategies for success.

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