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When can "A" levels be discounted?

By on 01.03.13 in Your Career

When hiring budgets are restricted - well, budgets in general - it always seems to be the case that a client's job seeker selection process becomes far lengthier and much more prescriptive. This manifests itself to us recruiters as clients taking a far more risk averse approach to CV sifting and selection and to, at times, the "safe choice"  "like-for-like" candidates being invited for interview as opposed to the best. 

I do understand how costly recruitment can be and that, in this market especially, the pressure is on to hire the right person first time, but is it fair to discount a contender with a good degree and some strong work experience because of his or her "A" level grades?  Surely if you have subsequently proved yourself at University and the work place, "O" and "A" level results shouldn't be that relevant.

I recently experienced one of my clients rejecting a really excellent candidate's CV out of hand as the A level results were not all "A" or "A*" grades - this when the candidate in question had an upper second degree and had been working and achieving for 5 years plus.

So, I'd be interested in hearing your views. If you aren't recruiting fresh graduates, should "A" levels be taken into account when considering job seeker suitability or is there a point when they can be discounted?