Did you know that considering equivalent experience is an option available to hiring units when filling positions? Hiring units can substitute the educational requirement with years of related work experience if defined in the job posting. If considering using this option, a statement must be stated in the Required Qualifications section of the job posting, with similar phrase such as “will consider an equivalent combination of relevant education and experience”. Without a statement, such as this one, candidates cannot be evaluated using an equivalency.
Below are relevant questions and answers to assist those considering experience in lieu of education.
Why to consider using the “equivalent experience” option?
You want to find the best candidates and diversify your candidate pool. Accepting equivalent experience is a very easy way to do that. Many available job seekers grew within their profession, but may not have been afforded the opportunity to pursue a formal education, for whatever reason. When you strictly require a degree, you are depriving yourself of these vastly experienced candidates.
What kinds of positions are appropriate for accepting equivalent experience?
Many of these positions are standard support staff and administrative/professional staff career opportunities. However, each opportunity is unique, and you may have circumstances in which accepting equivalent experience is not appropriate. For example, in the case of faculty, research and/or executive level positions, or where specific departmental attributes make it necessary to seek candidates with a formal education.
If I accept equivalent experience, will I get hundreds of job seekers submitting their resumes for my employment opportunity?
Accepting equivalent experience will likely increase the size of your candidate pool and your opportunities for finding the best available candidate. What it will not do is water-down your candidate pool. You will benefit from the added depth and choices available to you. If you find that your candidate pool gets too large, The EEO specialist, HR Generalist, or your HR Business Partner can assist you.
We're East Tennessee State University (ETSU), a higher education institution; shouldn't we prefer job seekers who have a higher education?
As a well-respected institution of higher education, we as employees, are committed to and value the benefits of a higher education. We also actively seek to diversify our workforce and select the best candidates for each open career opportunity. It would be incorrect to assume that candidates without a post-secondary education fail to offer valuable skills and experiences that would benefit the University. Limiting our candidate pools to only those with a higher education may not always be the best approach to fill our open positions.
When you have an open position to fill, think about your situation and whether or not accepting equivalent experience is appropriate. If you would like to accept equivalent experience, please contact your HR Business Partner (if it is not already a part of the approved position description) and they can assist with ensuring that the posting reflects the correct verbiage.
Educational Requirements and Equivalent Experience
When using the “equivalent experience” option, to determine if a potential applicant meets the required education and experience requirements as defined in the job posting, the following educational equivalencies are used as general guidelines, unless otherwise stated in the required qualifications of in the job posting:
|Educational Requirement||Equivalent Experience|
|High School Diploma/GED||None|
|Vocational/Technical/Trade Schools||One (1) year of related work experience (plus any additional required experience)|
|Associate Degree||Two (2) years of related work experience OR Two (2) years of college (plus any additional required)|
|Bachelor's Degree||Associate’s Degree/ Two years of College + Two (2) years of related work experience OR four (4) years of related work experience (plus any additional required experience)|
|Master’s Degree||Bachelor’s + Two (2) years of related work experience (plus any additional required experience)|
|JD (Jurist Doctorate)||See your HR Business Partner|
|ABD (All But Dissertation)||See your HR Business Partner|
|Doctoral Degree||See your HR Business Partner|
Full-time: All experience must be in a related field to be counted
Paid experience/internships are accepted as experience
Part-time, Graduate Assistance, Student Worker, Volunteer experience is NOT considered as years of experience unless otherwise stated in the job posting. Example: “Related part-time, student worker, graduate assistance experience may be considered”.
It is important to know, when using language to define the levels of experiences required, ETSU uses the following equivalents:
Experience = one (1) year
Considerable experience = three (3) years
Extensive experience = five (5) years
Example: If you say a position "requires considerable supervisory experience", candidates must have at least three years (3) of experience as a supervisor.
Please keep in mind your accreditation's. It is the responsibility of the hiring department and/or college to ensure all accreditation requirements are being met with all hires.
Hiring units can use the above stated educational equivalencies or can define their own, within reason, in the Required Qualifications in the job posting. Your HR Business Partner can assist if needed.
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