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Breaking the framework

Oct 03,2019
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LIM MI-JIN
The author is head of the fol:in team at the JoongAng Ilbo.

An IT start-up company, which was founded three years ago, does not consider educational background when hiring. There are 16 developers, who play key roles in the company. While some are Ph.D. holders, three are high school graduates. Two team leader-level developers entered college but did not graduate. A hiring manager at the company says he does not look at educational background, language scores or credentials.

Then what do they consider when hiring? Actually, their hiring process is more picky. What they value the most is experience — what candidates did before and what they learned from those experiences. Once they choose a candidate, they still remain cautious about offering a permanent position. After three months of an internship, the company decides whether to make an offer.

“We are more careful hiring a doctorate holder than a high-school graduate,” a hiring manager said. “A start-up company does not need someone who is good at doing as instructed. We suspect that someone who excelled in the existing educational system may be a typical model student.”

Then what qualities are needed by a start-up company? “We look for the ability to display creativity for a challenging problem, to find a middle ground through discussion when people have different opinions, and actively address issues without distinguishing their own duties and others’ duties. Many of these things cannot be learned at school.”

It is not a strange process. Most start-ups would say they are similar in prioritizing capability and experience over résumés.

Jang Young-hwa, CEO of Open Entship Center — which operates a joint start-up program connecting start-ups and job seekers — has seen people looking for jobs in their own ways for several years now.

An employee who got a job at the center after graduating from high school wanted to learn in the field rather than at college. He is now working as a fourth-year marketer. Another employee who founded a start-up club at a foreign language high school took time off from college and is undertaking internship programs at the IT start-up company. Jang said that in the old admission frame, 99 percent of applicants fell behind, but in the new framework, everyone can build and prove his or her competency.

Changes have started. It hasn’t spread across society yet. The hiring season for college graduates in the second half of the year has started. According to a survey by a recruiting platform, more than half, or 55.4 percent, of respondents said they were not confident of finding a job in the second half. I am frustrated that 61.1 percent of them said their résumé was not strong enough. I hope employers and job seekers will break the old framework.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 2, Page 28