Philip Nel On Recruiting Humanities Majors For Business


Philip Nel is an American scholar and professor of English at Kansas State University. He is widely respected for his in depth analyses of children’s books. So why in the world should a recruiter like yourself be interested in him? Because you may be intrigued by a recent blog post of his entitled “Humanities Majors Learn More.” This post will highlight the possible benefits of hiring a liberal arts major specific to you, a human resources professional. The points discussed will provide you with useful insight that will change your hiring practices for the better, helping you find a better pool of talent so that you can hire the best person for the job.

Skills Learned by Humanities Majors

Humanities majors typically emphasize the importance of writing as a tool to improve higher order skills such as critical thinking and complex reasoning. In fact, students who major in liberal arts have been proven to learn the most in college. Research indicates higher gains in these skills from liberal arts majors like english, history and philosophy than peers with degrees in business or communications. It can no longer be assumed that a graduate with a degree in business is the best option for you to recruit, as his peers in the humanities may have better command of skills critical for success in the workplace.

How These Skills Translate to the Workplace

You know the importance of hiring individuals who are able to think critically, as they are more likely to be able to succeed in their chosen field. The mastery of critical thinking and complex reasoning provides a potential employee with the tools needed to solve any problem that may arise on their own, be it social or technical. Prospective employees who have honed their skills of critical thinking and complex reasoning are less likely to slow down operations by asking for help for any little issue. This makes humanities majors the perfect candidates for consideration in any workplace, as they come out of college having already mastered these skills.

What About Lack of Experience

Lack of experience may seem like a critical flaw to liberal arts prospects but it should not be considered as a defining factor in recruitment business decisions. Another added bonus to the higher thinking skills mastered by liberal arts majors is that it usually is indicative of their quickness to learn and ability to self teach. Of course you would not want to hire a history major to manage payroll for 2,000 employees, but there are many other, less technical positions that could be considered. Management positions, for example, could be such a consideration, as the ability to reason comes in handy when dealing with many different individuals and personalities. If you focus less on the lack of specific workplace experience and more on the skills liberal arts majors do possess, you may be surprised by the quality of the pool to be considered. By further considering a candidate that previously would not have been given more than a passing glance, you may find that their ability to write, read, think and reason critically makes them the best person for the job despite lack of experience.

Prior to this post, you may not have ever heard of Philip Nel or considered the positive effects his insight could have on your hiring processes. As Philip Nel himself would surely agree, never judge a book by its cover. Consider the above points before you pass on another candidate with a degree in liberal arts. You may find that their mastery of critical thinking and complex reasoning outweigh the possible disadvantage of lack of experience. If you give individuals with a degree in the humanities a chance, you may have a better talent pool to recruit from and be better able to hire the best person for your company.

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