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