June 19, 2018

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HR Certification

When I was last looking for an HR job I had a useful rule of thumb: if the job asks for a formal HR certification don't apply. My sense was that anyone who was concerned with the certification was looking for someone to manage administration and compliance, not HR issues.

Similarly, when hiring an HR person, a formal HR certification is something of a red flag in my book. I don't want to hire someone whose joy in life is compliance. I want someone whose joy in life is running a business. I'd be much more excited to see someone with a financial designation than an HR one.

Admittedly, I am stating a prejudice. There are good jobs in which a formal designation is requested and many good people who have earned a designation. However, the prejudice is rooted in something real -- the fear that the formal subject of HR is way out of line with the real needs of business.

I fear that an accredited HR manager is going to lecture me on complying with hiring regulations not help me hire great people. I fear that an accredited HR manager is going to send workers on team building sessions not help my plant manager cut cycle time. I fear the accredited HR manager is going to prepare sexual harassment guidelines not help men and women thrive together in the workplace.

Are my fears out of line or out of date? Perhaps. However, it's always good to probe an intuition, to see if there is something real underlying an instinctive reaction. Let me know your reaction.

-David Creelman