How Do I Tell My Boss to Stop Asking for College GPAs?

by Evil HR Lady on November 5, 2019

I’m a new HR person in a small business of 60 people. I’m posting a job description, and my boss wants me to use the same job posting template and application process the company has used in the past. I reviewed this template, only to find out that it requires applicants to submit their college GPAs and information about where they went to high school. These aren’t entry-level roles. How can I convince my boss that this approach will cause us to lose out on qualified candidates?

To read my answer, click here: How Do I Tell My Boss to Stop Asking for College GPAs?

Leave your own in the comments!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy Young November 5, 2019 at 4:45 pm

A likely reason the boss wants this information is to get a fix on candidates’ ages. That age discrimination is illegal is a superb reason to stop this odd practice.

I agree that seeking to understand WHY this practice exists is a good idea. There may be more benign ways to get the info this person wants.


Senatormeathooks November 5, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Requiring high school GPAs don’t make sense for a non-entry level position, and certainly not where they went to high school (which could be used as an indirect indicator of class or race based on geography). What kind of information about the candidate can those two data points offer? How does a high school GPA and high school name legitimately help properly assess a candidate, especially if they’ve graduated college already?

Try to help your boss articulate how this will help get him good non-entry level employees. Otherwise, the question is juvenile and can reflect negatively on the company – it makes it look like the company doesn’t know what it’s doing. I certainly wouldn’t apply to a company that wanted my high-school GPA, it’s inconsequential at this point in my career. If they’re making decisions based on grades I made when I was 16 years old, I question their competence in other areas.


Senatormeathooks November 5, 2019 at 5:49 pm

Quick edit – I meant to say “college” GPA instead of “high school” GPA, but the rest still stands as my opinion. Save for a few select industries that would someone make that information relevant, college GPA is not a useful data point in mid-career, and high school location is also unnecessary, unless 1) They want to look up the candidate on social media, 2.) They want a low-key way to figure out what potentially protected class a candidate might be in, as high school populations are more reflective of the immediate community demographics than college populations.


old_engineer November 5, 2019 at 5:50 pm

The last time I was asked for my GPA was when I was working my first job. Hated it, was applying elsewhere. GPA was low (too many reasons for this post), but I still got my engineering degree from Carnegie-Mellon. Seven years later I reapplied, got the job in the interview. For most of my career, most co-workers and external resources had Ph,Ds. I understood them better than they understood me. Final twist, I got back my resume from the initial application. I probably would have been hired.


MB November 5, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Not sure if you were nervous about how to start the conversation with your boss from your original email. In case that was still an unanswered bit, I’d suggest starting with something like:

“I wanted to chat with you for a few minutes about our job posting templates and some of the application requirements. I suspect we might be losing out on qualified candidates, and in today’s tight labor market, I wanted to get your thoughts on tweaking some things.”

Their end goal is probably the same as yours – to hire qualified people in the shortest amount of time possible, which is a good start. For resistant folks, I sometimes offer up an experiment like for the next 3 roles, let’s try it without the GPA and see if the results are any different. Sometimes it’s easier to sell it if they know we can go back to the original if it’s a bust.


Analyst Robot November 6, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Is HR expected to call applicant’s high schools and verify their GPA?
Frankly, I don’t even know my HS GPA. And I received my MS through an online program and have no GPA. I would be turned off by an application that asked for GPAs, but I wouldn’t be able to comply with the request even if I wanted to.


MariaRose November 7, 2019 at 9:07 pm

The first impression I got from this post was a question of where exactly is this company, that hasn’t updated itself to 2019 technology standards. Those GPAs aren’t an indication of job skils but merely a school skill, which the younger generation of new workers in today’s school setting merely gets a Pass grade which indicates nothing needed to access a potential employee’s job skills. Like EvilHR lady states, this HR person needs to have for jobs available for hiring new personnel.


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