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We are currently enjoying the benefits of two connected business doctrines:

  • Core competencies: focus your energies on what you do best
  • Commoditise services: if something can be done on a simple fixed or unit cost basis, outsource it to someone else. If it can't, simplify it until it can.

So lowest cost, most efficient method of recruiting is to have a 'pick list' approach, and low skilled people following the pick list. Certifications are one element on that pick list.

Do industry certifications mean anything about someones competence? Almost invariably not.

Do recruiters rely on them? Almost invariably.

Is this a bad thing? Almost certainly.

Will complaining about it change a thing? Nope.

The fact is, recruiters don't want to get the 'best person for the job'. They want to shortlist the required number of candidates that are capable of getting the job (however badly they'd do it), so they can make their commission and move onto the next requirement. (I was openly told this by a recruiter in one of the biggest UK agencies only a few days ago by the way).

Similarly, non-outsourced recruiters just want to get someone who can fulfill the list of criteria they have, because that's what their job is.

This isn't universally true, but where senior management have embraced core competencies as a means for efficiency and cost savings, it does tend to be (and that's pretty damn widespread).

So thats the first problem: the jobs are in the hands of people who don't know anything about them (dragonchild being a rare exception). Certifications are one way of finding out whether someone can do the job (however badly).

The key phrase here is 'however badly', and that highlights the second problem: in most cases it doesn't matter to the recruiter or even the requirement owner if the person being recruited will do a bad job, because

a) the bad job is good enough

b) the bad job is cheap

c) probably no one will ever notice it's bad

d) your much vaunted quality process (which you spent a fortune devising and implementing) will ensure problems get intercepted.

Sure they'd both rather have a skilled person, and if the process happens to find one, that's great as long as it doesn't cost more. But if it just finds someone barely adequate, that's fine. Hence the popularity of certifications with recruiters.

Now if I could just find a job as 'departmental bad tempered cynic'....


"If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists in treating another human being as a thing."
John Brunner, "The Shockwave Rider".

In reply to Re: Certifications are dumb. by g0n
in thread Certifications are dumb. by dragonchild

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