Guilds and Certification

Subject: Guilds and Certification
From: Richard Farley <rtfarley -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 21:57:44 -0700

Fellow TWers,

For some time I have followed the thread about certification and guilds as a
way to weed out the unwanted. Some feel that doing so would make the job
applicant screening process a little easier for the hiring manager. I feel
that any small gains in convenience would be outweighed by the damage done
by a system that could easily pass over talented help. Let me explain.

For years I worked in the electrical construction field. To send an
apprentice on a job without the supervision of a competent journeyman is
dangerous. When you are dealing with voltages that can remove body parts you
had better know how to coordinate differing skill levels. Yet, the required
8,000+ hours of training are no guarantee that the person will be a
competent journeyman. Some apprentices are worth more than their hours
indicate. Others, far less. What is particularly frustrating for a project
foreman, which I was, is to listen to the blowhards telling you that they
are "A Master Electrician." Usually the word electrician in that title could
have been replaced by the word "BS artist." This is an unfortunate reality
in nearly all walks of life. There were formal training programs in place to
insure that the apprentice learns the needed things during training, but the
training was only as worthwhile as the person receiving it.

No matter what criteria you put in place to set standards for professional
competence, there will be those who will get the qualifications and miss the
quality. Of course, there is the flip side when that fantastic junior TW is
passed over for the marginal, but certified, water cooler wizard. What's one
to do then? IMHO, trust your instincts about people. You don't take the
resume at face value, so don't expect the impressive list of certification
qualifications to be a magic mirror. Look at versatility, willingness,
flexibility. Try to spend some time in an email dialog with the person. Look
beyond the surface. You may uncover treasure. Sure, you may uncover
something else, but not very often.

How many "greats" were passed over by those who look only at the surface?

Thanks for listening

Richard Farley
rtfarley -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

"That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge,
and takes from him the least time." Colton (1780-1832)

Richard Farley
R. Farley Consulting - Technical Writing & Business Communication
2728 El Pasado Dr.
Modesto, CA 95354
rtfarley -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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