Certification, service go hand in hand Featured

8:00pm EDT October 26, 2007

Companies seeking candidates to fill open positions can do the hiring themselves or work with staffing firms to complete the process. If they choose the latter route, they have options. One is to work with firms that employ certified staffing professionals, rather than those that do not. There may not be any significant differences in the fees charged or the time consumed in the hiring process either way. However, there may be some in the quality of the services provided. That is because certified specialists offer significant benefits to clients that are a step above those provided by their noncertified counterparts.

Smart Business spoke with Dana Lee, CTS, to gain an understanding about the certification process that staffing specialists undergo and how the certification designation can benefit hiring companies.

What is the purpose of certification in the staffing industry?

Viewed as a whole, certification is a means of self-regulation for the staffing industry. On the individual level, it allows staffing professionals to expand their expertise in employment law, changing regulations, best business practices and ethical standards. Both of these purposes translate to more efficient services from staffing firms. Remember, certification is as important in the staffing industry as it is in any other professional field. For example, people who retain a professional to calculate their income taxes might be better off hiring a CPA rather than someone fresh out of an accounting class in college. That professional certification makes a lot of difference. The same holds true in the staffing industry.

How do staffing professionals earn their certifications?

After the initial required classroom training and testing, certification is ongoing. Staffing professionals are not only responsible for attaining initial certification but maintaining it as well. Certification can be earned through various national professional associations, such as the National Association of Personnel Services and the American Staffing Association. NAPS awards two designations of certification: the Certified Temporary Staffing Specialist (CTS) and the Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC). The ASA grants a Certified Staffing Professional Designation to enhance professionals’ competency and knowledge of labor and employment law.

Should clients look for certification designations when retaining hiring firms?

Actually, the firm you are working with will not hold the certification. It is the staffing professionals in the firm that are responsible for attaining their certification. Therefore, clients should be looking at the certified staff members’ profiles for certification designations when retaining staffing firms. You can begin by asking your staffing professional if he/she is certified. My suggestion is to deal exclusively with firms in which staff certification is a key objective. At Delta Dallas, we have found that getting and maintaining the knowledge required for certification makes a big difference in the day-to-day operations of the firm as a whole. In the end, certification becomes an asset to the staffing professional, the firm, and, ultimately, their clients and candidates.

What are the benefits of working with certified staffing professionals?

Above all, clients know they will be working with people who are dedicated to their profession. They have to earn their designations through rigorous training programs, testing and continuing education courses, so they are not likely to take lightly the responsibilities that are inherent to certification. Also, certified staffing professionals stay current on the latest trends, employment laws, human resources practices, etc., regarding job markets. Staffing specialists who have attained certification are generally among the most experienced personnel in the industry, in large part because of their dedication. Individuals who spend the time and effort to earn their certifications are not likely to leave their professions. So, in the end, you have a staffing professional who not only has experience but also has pertinent knowledge regarding the intricacies of the hiring process.

How can certified staffing specialists help clients?

Certified specialists can provide service at a deeper level than noncertified staffing personnel. Certified specialists can take on the role of a consultant. They are qualified to do more than simply fill an order, they can help their clients understand the relevant issues associated with the positions they are filling. This could include issues like EEOC regulations, best hiring practices, employment trends, ADA questions, FMLA concerns and more. A certified specialist will take all of these regulations into consideration when negotiating on behalf of a client. The client provides the requirements of the position and the certified specialist can guide his or her client through the hiring process in light of regulations and trends in each of these areas.

DANA LEE, CTS, is a senior associate with Delta Dallas and TAPC’s Top Producer for 2006. Reach her at (972) 788-2300 or dlee@deltadallas.com.