Certification – To Be or Not to Be?

The MD of Panka was confronted with the challenge of hiring a staff to Head the Human Resources Department of the organization. His ideal candidate would have to bring changes to the organization through transformation and delivery of better value. The search had been on for a while, but the company successfully narrowed down to four (4) candidates who aptly qualified for the job. The interview was scheduled for the candidates and focus was on the main goal of delivery of value propositions.  

Kimba was the first candidate to meet with the MD. She had six (6) years’ experience, CIPM & CIPD qualified, and very intelligent. She came across as the right candidate because she demonstrated sound knowledge about the job role. Her pay request was slightly higher than the budgeted amount. The MD was willing to negotiate anyway just to bring Kimba on board. The MD was hopeful after discussing with Kimba, but he was yet to meet other candidates.

Funso was the next candidate to meet the MD for an interview. Funso had no professional qualification but has a master’s degree in Human Resources from a university in the United States. He had 10 years’ experience and international exposure. He is well known in the industry as a catalyst for business through Human Capital Management. Funso seems a good candidate too. 

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Emmanuel, the next candidate, is a member of CIPM, NITAD, SHRM, CIPD, and IAF. Good professional records, but was employed in a one-man business and had 4 years’ experience. His interaction with the MD made earned him some ratings as others. Now, the MD’s confusion deepens. All candidates appear very qualified, but he has to make a choice. Emmanuel’s disposition and professional finesse were commendable. 

His last candidate was Helena. This candidate is well known in the industry and has worked with a couple of big names. She has no professional qualifications but a known “Thought Leader”. Her contribution to the HR’ space is evident to everyone and her track-record is unmatched. She had won local and global awards for outstanding works and contributions. The MD appeared quite excited about these qualities but more confused. Helena possesses all the qualities; except for professional qualifications. 

The MD decided to seek an expert’s opinion on which of the candidate to pick. He was advised based on his needs, culture and value propositions. He ended up picking Helena. But wait a minute, she had no professional qualifications. Why Helena? She seems not to have the right credentials but appears to be the most result-oriented. Would she need this qualification in the future?

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There are four categories of employees in the workplace.  See the diagram below to explain.

Category A

  • Experienced
  • Possess professional qualifications

Category B

  • Experienced
  • No professional Qualifications

Category C

  • Not experienced
  • Professional Qualifications

Category D

  • Not experienced
  • No professional qualification

Category A

This could be called the “Highly Rated” category. Candidate with required experience and qualifications appear as the best fit. By experience, I do not mean just years of experience only, but also quality of experience. Balancing experience with qualifications defines someone’s value propositions. However, possessing good qualifications as well as years of experience does not categorically place you above others. You need to prove your value. 

Category B

Experienced individuals without professional qualifications seem valuable on account of the quality of experience. The reason for not processing professional qualifications could be personal or otherwise. The context which is of premium value here is achieving results. Would this work in all professions? I don’t think years of experience will qualify an accountant to sign audited financials. In essence, the requirements for statutory obligations will determine the relevance of this category. It is pertinent to move from this level to the next upper level which is balance the experience with a professional qualification. 

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Category C

People with no requisite experience, but having professional qualification(s) are considered to demonstrate commitment to growing a career in that profession. Qualifications may not replace experience, but it is fundamental in some career pursuits. This is where such people need to go for an externship to acquire the necessary experience to put them on a better rating scale. 

Category D

Lack of experience and lack of professional qualification(s) places a person at the bottom of the value chain. It could be a place good to start career pursuit, but goals must be clearly defined. The journey to gaining experience and acquiring professional qualifications should be part of life plans and goals. People in the category are expected to make as much sacrifice as possible to mount higher in the journey of life. 

Certification: To be or not to be? It depends on 

  1. Stages in career growth and development
  2. Industry regulation or professional standards
  3. What an organization wants to achieve
  4. Internal policy, culture, and orientation
  5. Personal career design and conviction. 

In my opinion, it may not be important to be, but it is necessary. There is always in investing in your careers through certifications. The decision is always yours. 

Adeyemi Ajayi | MD/CEO, Exitum Consulting | Lagos

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