Hiring | Internship requires candidate with 'impossible' levels of experience

Internship requires candidate with 'impossible' levels of experience

When recruiting for a role, employers are likely to want as many skills and as much previous work experience as a candidate can offer. Not only will this make them a more valuable hire, it is likely to have huge benefits for the employer’s business.

However, when looking to fill an internship, jobseekers may assume that, as an internship is considered as an entry-level job, the candidate expectations would be lowered.

However, this wasn’t the case in the slightest in this instance.

An anonymous user on Reddit shared their experience of an overly-demanding employer looking for ‘impossible’ levels of work experience in order to be considered. Successful applicants for an internship were required to have between five and ten-years’ work experience situated within a similar field of the role that they would be taking up.

In addition to that, successful applicants must have worked on “multinational environments and complex organisations”, maintain a “background in engineering and finance”, as well as “proven experience in the initiation and negotiating of commercial transactions with Key Accounts”. Barely the usual expectations for an entry-level job.

The job advert also expressed the need for candidates who are fluent in English and Spanish – proficiency in “every other language is a plus”.

Will Grashoff, Managing Director at recruitment agency OX Seven, exclusively told HR Grapevine that it’s increasingly common to see ‘indirect age discrimination’ on job adverts, which require candidates to have ‘impossible’ reels of experience for entry-level jobs. He added:

“Anyone who is advertising a role should stick to non-specific years of experience on adverts to avoid any potential protected characteristic discrimination claims.”

Under the 2010 Equality Act, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone – including candidates in a recruitment process – due to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. And remembering the legalities when hiring new members of staff should remain a top priority for HR.

“In my opinion, people learn at different rates, so having ‘x’ number of years’ experience is not always a reliable way of benchmarking and comparing candidates,” Grashoff added.

In this instance, the employers seem to view previous experience as the most important component of hiring an intern, rather than focussing on what the successful candidate could bring to the table.

Forbes.com highlighted the benefits of hiring interns with arguably less experience as a good way to improve business going forwards.

The publication explained that employers should view any internship as a trial period that could lead to full time employment if the candidate shows impressive improvement and a development of their skillsets. As a result, the company’s expectations and work ethic will be engrained into them early on which would make them an ideal candidate going forwards.

Additionally, interns are likely to yield new perspectives on organisational challenges that will provide a fresh mentality that may be beneficial to firms looking to make significant changes.

The key takeaway for HR is to not turn any candidates away for not having enough experience. Instead, they should be using their existing skillsets as a way to illustrate their potential going forwards.

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