Certiport Coverage


Needed: New Ways To Validate Skills
By Eldon Lechtenberg

March 1, 2009


ou've probably heard this one before.

Two job candidates walk into a printing shop to apply for a job. Based on their resumés, both seem to be equally qualified in most every way. Who should be hired?

In baseball, the tie goes to the runner. Overtime ensures a winner in basketball. Even in thumb wrestling you have to figure someone will give in eventually. But in hiring? It's no Joke: The tie-breaker is usually the gut.

This is the same gut responsible for poor hiring decisions made since the movable press launched the printing business. Aside from the wasted time and effort, bad hiring and promotion decisions can have devastating financial repercussions. Some experts estimate that losses can range anywhere from 20 to 200 percent of a sub-par employee's salary.

Unfortunately, all too often, the gut misses the boat when it comes to identifying the most proficient job candidates. Let me suggest a better way to break the hiring deadlock: Certification.

Though newer to the creative side of business, certification has long been the answer to ensure proficiency in the IT world. Unlike resumés that can be misleading or downright false, certification offers concrete proof that job candidates can do what they say they can. A certification exam is based on standards developed by a governing or professional body to incorporate all of the most relevant knowledge and skills required to effectively execute particular functions.

In partnership with Adobe, Certiport launched the Adobe Certified Associate program that validates the entry-level digital communications skills of certificate holders in Adobe Flash, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop. The program that includes plug-and- play curricula, practices tests, and unlimited certification exams is available to thousands of high schools and higher education institutions across the country and around the world.

Students who enter the workforce with an Adobe Certified Associate credential will have more than a passing knowledge of Adobe applications—they'll be proficient users of the software printing businesses depend on. By developing skills that are in synch with actual workforce needs, students exhibit the traits that are positive indicators of future job performance and success.

To take advantage of a program that simplifies hiring decisions, printing companies need to reposition themselves to attract certified talent. Getting certified job applicants is as easy asking for them. In job postings and interviews, you can state Adobe Certified Associate applicants are preferred for the position. With schools you have a regular employment connection with, you can suggest they implement the Adobe Certified Associate program to raise and standardize the skill level of their graduates.

Now, let's go back to the gut one last time. Let's say your printing shop just received some after-hours instructions from a major account on a job that needs to be completed by early the next day. With the clock literally ticking in the background, you realize you'll need someone with Adobe expertise to complete the changes before you can initiate the printing. Do you want the certified employee or the non-certified one to make the alterations? What does your gut say?

Author Information

Lechtenberg is Adobe program manager for Certiport, the worldwide certification program administrator for Adobe software products in high schools and post- secondary schools.