Hollywood is About Talent, So Is Education


Reality talent shows, like American Idol and America's Got Talent, have become popular avenues of those who want to make it big in Hollywood. These shows have become an avenue for even those without any talent to showcase themselves. The harsh reality is that if you don't have any talent, you are just shamed before national television but those with talent go to the next level with more chances to win the coveted prize. The same is true in education.

Years ago, Google's senior vice president of people operations Laszlo Bock was interviewed regarding Google's process of hiring and he said that test scores are worthless criteria for hiring because, according to him, there's "no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there's a slight correlation."
This makes sense as research on personnel psychology showed that work samples are five times more effective in indicating a person's capability than a university degree, three times than a job experience, and 50 times than unstructured interviews.

Spotting talent through work samples seems to be gaining popularity these days as employers use this as a yardstick to hire future employees. So if someone is a tech hopeful who wants to get into one of the Silicon Valley companies, he has a bigger chance of getting hired if he has a kick-ass code to show.

This method of hiring does not only happen in the tech industry but in others as well. Employers are now utilizing Portfolium, a network where students can showcase their presentations, problem sets, and papers along with competency, in spotting talent and hiring them - the same way a talent agent does in spotting raw talent in Hollywood.

An aspiring web designer will not interact with talent or hiring managers but with bots that evaluate their works and recommend what other virtual internships, projects, or coursework need to be completed in order to increase the chances of getting hired. Once these initial requirements are met, that's the time an actual human HR manager evaluates and considers the candidate for hiring. This reality does not only include those who are in the tech industry, but also those in the medicine, finance, architecture, and biotech industries.

If talent becomes the primary measuring stick for employment, will universities and colleges lose their importance? It can happen if universities disregard such realities. Therefore, educational institutions must embrace the idea of work samples and provide the environment for students to produce superior quality of work. If they fail to do so, they will see themselves abandoned as students find alternative ways that will meet the demands of high-growth employers who value talent rather than a college degree.

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