Experience V's Uni Degree v's Certification - PART 1

I’ve found that one of the most frequently asked questions as a technical recruiter is how important is experience vs. a uni degree or industry certification.

For me years and quality of experience is what i look for first. If i have several candidates with similar experience a degree or certification can help them to stand out from the crowd.

It's important to remember that your CV gets you the interview once your in here it's all about YOU and that’s the most important thing.

As promised I've asked for some of the managers to comment;

Colin - Managing Consultant - Microsoft " From my perspective, experience is always a higher priority than qualification. The only time I consider qualification is when you have two people with the same experience that you need something to differentiate on. With respect to qualification, we have many people who apply for roles who are qualified to the wazoo who really don’t have the real life experience we need from them to make strong contributions out in the field. Once again though, if you need to differentiate between to similarly experienced people the qualification tells me that the individual has made an effort outside of his immediate job requirements – to some extent it demonstrates commitment and application."

Bill - ANZ Support Team Manager "University degree – if a person has a Uni degree there are two main things that I think about … a) s/he has the discipline to devote themselves to a course of study over a period of time and achieve a result, and b) hopefully the learning process established a solid platform from which to take large strides towards commencing his/her career.

Years of experience – this is a natural follow-on to my comment above … and is the backbone of whether I believe a person is qualified or not. If a person can show sufficient tenure in a similar position to the one being filled, and can clearly articulate how they’ve responded to, and learned from, different experiences, then they strengthen their candidacy.

Industry certification – the value of this element is entirely dependent on the reputation of the industry and the testing body … if, as a hiring manager, I feel the industry’s certification process has a recognized level of formality and rigour, then I’ll place value on a person having industry certification."

In the next couple of weeks I hope to have more responses from my managers, in the mean time I’d love to hear some of your thoughts.

Thanks JB