These certifications are a pain in my…

by Beth Holmes-Bozung, Principal

CertificationsI have the good fortune to lead the team who recruits and talks with people who are interested in joining our company. These conversations are often enjoyable — it’s fascinating to hear people’s stories, what got them to where they are. It’s great when they open up and share what drives them personally and what draws them to Safety Net.

Most of these interviews are for technical positions. As we go through the details of their skills and experience, I ask about industry certifications, like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA. Sometimes, there’s a long pause. I have heard many reasons why an individual doesn’t have them or doesn’t see value in them. Here’s a sampling:

  • “Microsoft designs those for people to fail. They’re a bunch of ‘gotcha’ questions.”
  • “I won’t use some of the stuff they cover. I don’t want to just memorize it for a test.”
  • “I just Google how to do things I’m not sure about.”
  • “That is just going to make recruiters seek me out, you know.” (That person didn’t get another interview.)
  • “My previous employers never required it.”
  • “I’ve failed before.” (Haven’t we all…)
  • “I’m busy.”

All of these are valid.  So, why do we require IT certifications anyway, especially when it costs the company thousands of dollars per person? It goes to some of the things we hold as core values.

As a company, we value hard work and achievement. Those who have done the work, who really learned the content and passed the exams, wear their acronyms proudly on their email signatures and business cards. (Some longtime employees have so many, we had to redesign their card to make more room!)

We believe in fairness. The staff members who have earned promotions into roles of greater responsibility put forth the effort to get the paper.

Certifications help make our clients’ lives easier. With them, clients have proof that our people know their stuff. Less vetting is required on their part.

We know that mastery of one’s job leads to even faster and better service to clients, and in turn, greater job satisfaction for our team members. Being highly competent lowers stress.

Candidates with certifications on their résumés stand out, and not just because of the body of knowledge an acronym represents. Any such thing seen through to completion – like a college degree – tells me something about that person. It gives me insight and evidence that this is someone who values learning, who sees things through, and may be goal-oriented. All of those traits are a great fit for our company culture.

Become a member of this team, and we will invest heavily in your training. You will have books, labs, videos, mentors, seminars, practice exams, sometimes even classroom instruction available to you. We will also hound you to do that which we know you are capable of, even when it’s a pain in the ass.

I’m proud of our company of achievers!