GPA Matters

Yall may remember that my little brother graduated High School this year (and my little sister is graduating next year). With back to back graduations and my husbands siblings graduating a couple of years behind mine there has been a lot of chit-chat about grade point average lately. I also do a good amount of college recruiting for a technical company and we basically only consider students with a 3.5 or above, so we are always talking about GPA at work as well.

Ten years ago when I went to college no one told us to have a good GPA, they just told us to get our degree (I guess I didn’t even listen to those instructions). You may think that sounds silly and having a great GPA should be a given, but I think it should be emphasized to students that it’s expected. I cannot begin to count the students I’ve had to talk to at career fairs with less than a 3.0 GPA that seem totally shocked that it is a dis-qualifier (after all you don’t have any work experience, how else am I supposed to gauge what you are capable of?). Some of our kids must be getting the wrong message for this to still be an issue!

throne of lies gpa


At annual conference (#SHRM14) we were so graced with the presence of Tom Friedman (my least favorite general session speaker) and he harped on the idea that average is disappearing. Hopefully he cleared this up during the details, but I kept losing focus. First, it’s mathematically impossible for average to disappear. Average will always exist. Second, we will always be redefining average. Getting a degree (or some technical certification, etc.) used to be encouraged, now it’s required. It’s a tool to prepare you to do a job/enter a career. It is not a tool to set you apart from other applicants anymore, they have a degree too. This doesn’t mean average is disappearing it means expectations are changing. Now to set yourself apart you must have a great GPA along with some other accomplishments. I actually interviewed a candidate this week that is looking for at least 14k more than what he makes now because he believes “his degree should be worth that.” No. It’s not just the degree, it’s the grades, it’s the previous experience and so on. It really irked me that he thought his degree alone was a sufficient explanation.

Maybe I’m too hard on folks.

Author: Kristina H. Minyard, SHRM-CP, PHR

My goal is to challenge the way we view, measure, and utilize HR and recruiting in a positive and encouraging way. I love working in HR and value the network of HR professionals that I also call friends. I'm always learning from my fellow HR pros and find comfort in their expertise. I'm an active member of my local SHRM chapter (NASHRM) and a total HR enthusiast! My HR related knowledge is a mix of recruiting, retaining, engaging and just plain helping people discover their passion. I'm a follower of Christ, Wife, Mom, Corporate Recruiter, Blogger, problem solver, runner, Sports FANATIC & Razorback surviving amongst the [crimson] tide! You can find me on twitter & Instagram: @HRecruit Snapchat: kminny32 Google+: LinkedIn: Thoughts here (and on all my social media channels) are mine and do not represent the thoughts/beliefs of my employer. Why would I name my blog HR Pockets? Read about it in my first post years ago!!

3 thoughts on “GPA Matters”

  1. I think that as a recruiter, when you focus on GPA, you may end up short changing your organization on some real good talent, Google is a great example of an organization that has used other means of measuring potential talent. Another concern is disparate impact…it is generally accepted that non-minorities do better academically than minorities. If you have a cutoff score for college courses, can your org show that having such a cutoff point is job-related?

  2. Kris,

    Grades are good but not for all. usually, students that are only good at studies grab good grades and i’ve seen some of my batch mates struggling in their professional life although they had good grades. so, you can’t evaluate someone on behalf of their GPA and you know how many examples we have in the real life of college drop out billionaires.

    ps: i’ve graduated back in 2010.

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