You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

When Hiring, Bosses Choose Expertise Over Education In a new survey, business leaders place more importance on practical skills and knowledge rather than where a candidate got his or her degree

By Nina Zipkin

entrepreneur daily
Shutterstock

What do you look for in a job applicant? Whether they're creative, decisive, have a genuine enthusiasm for the work, or you're confident they'll fit right in, it's often a combination of qualities and circumstances that tip the scales in one candidate's direction.

But while it certainly pays to graduate from college or even earn an advanced degree, it turns out that a candidate's educational background may not influence a hiring decision as much as you might think.

Related: 25 Wacky Interview Questions That Work

In a recent Gallup survey, business leaders reported that a potential hire's expertise and skills in their field is more important than what they majored in or where they graduated from college.

Of the 623 leaders polled, 84 percent said that the amount of knowledge an applicant has is "very important" and 79 percent said that "applied skills" were very important, compared to the 28 percent and 9 percent who ascribed the most importance to a candidate's college major and alma mater respectively.

Related: 5 Attributes to Look for in High-Performing Employees

In a simultaneous survey of the American public about the same hiring factors, the 1,012 people polled generally agreed with business leaders that knowledge (80 percent) and skills (76 percent) were most important, but put they more weight on college major (47 percent) and school (30 percent).

The data, which was collected as part of Gallup's broader research about how higher education prepares students for the working world lines up with how big name companies like Google and others have described their hiring process.

Related: This Simple Strategy Will Make You the Top Candidate for Any Job

TELL US: What makes a potential hire stand out to you? Let us know in the comments.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Making a Change

Learn to Play Guitar Even if You Have No Previous Training for Just $20

Start with the beginner's crash course and learn how to play guitar in no time.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Here's One Thing Americans Would Take a Pay Cut For — Besides Remote Work

An Empower survey found a high percentage of respondents would take a pay cut for better retirement benefits and remote work options.