Re: Resumes/certification

Subject: Re: Resumes/certification
From: Ben Kovitz <bkovitz -at- IGS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 1996 13:58:00 PST

K Watkins wrote:

> Drifting into the certification thread: One of my hires was very
> successful, the other was a disaster. The disaster had a degree in
> technical communication; the successful one did not. The disaster had
> directly relevant experience; the successful one was less on target.
> Resumes, certificates, tests, interviews, even writing samples (which may
> may not have been edited or formatted by others) the end I suspect
> still the luck of the draw, for both the employer and the employee.

> I don't like the idea of certification. I can easily imagine a
> certification process which excellent technical writers could have
> passing. I can also easily imagine a certification process which would
> allow writers who make me cringe to claim expertise. So far I can't
> one which avoids both Scylla and Charybdis.

I agree. I have never found a substitute for sitting down and talking with
for a few minutes. I would never trust the results of some standardized
test, at
least not until human beings come out in standardized models.

One other note very relevant to the hiring process: Get *samples of the
work*. That'll tell you one of the three things you most need to know to
make an
intelligent hiring decision:

Does the candidate do good work?

The other two things are:

Will the candidate fit in *at this company*?


Does the candidate have the background knowledge needed for this

Obviously, to tell if the candidate is the sort of person you can work with,
need to sit down and talk. As for background knowledge, you can usually get
some idea of that from the person's work history, and again you can tell a
(if you're skillful) by talking with the person.

You'll also need to know something about work habits, but I despair of
any way to find this out other than the hard way, or by talking to personal
of yours who know the candidate. References whom you don't know personally
are pretty useless, except for occasionally weeding out a crank.

I think all this shows that certification is rather superfluous, if not
obstructive to hiring the best that you can get.

Ben Kovitz (speaking only for himself)

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