Even though certification is a strong means to evaluate an individual’s ability to apply knowledge to practice, it’s always a good practice to find out the specific reason your clients ask for it in a job description. Some of the reasons why they prefer to engage with certified candidates may include:
Vendor Partnership: Your client may have a partnership with a software vendor where your client’s organization is required to have one or two personnel with certain certifications, as is the case with Microsoft partnerships, or your client may be in an industry that requires certified employees in order to maintain their license to practice.
Proven Success Traits: A second reason may be that your client has identified “certification” as a good trait in current employees and want to ensure they follow the same success measures in future employees.
Another reason may be that the client organization just wants to ensure that the candidate has done due diligence in certain technical expertise. Speaking from experience, I have the Microsoft Certified Database Administrator MCDBA in SQL Server and the MCBMSP Microsoft Certified Business Management Solutions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM; Though the study and practice were a little challenging, I’m happy I did them because I gained foundational skills from the process of training and studying for these exams that I probably would not have had otherwise.
Whatever the reasons for an organization’s need for certification, you do want to know these reasons. If there are no special reasons, then the job requisition may be better served if this requirement is removed. For candidates that have this certification, it’s a foot in the door for them, but there are candidates who do not have the certification but have in-depth experience in all the other requirements who are really turned off by an organization’s need for certification. Here is how you frame your question to receive the answer you seek (if you have direct access to the hiring manager).
Is there a specific need for the certification requirement in your job description that I should know of? Do you need it to prove the competency of the candidate, or do you have a software vendor partnership requirement that will be fulfilled with a certified employee?”