The companies and individuals I spoke to tended to split into 3 main groups regarding their attitudes to qualifications. Let’s call them yes, no, maybe. Remember, this question was mostly aimed at their attitudes towards graduate employees, so it doesn’t necessarily relate to their views on certifications. I’ve discussed that subject here.
Some companies care a lot about qualifications. This can be for several reasons.
- They consider themselves the best, so they only employ the best.
- If you don’t have the best grades it “proves” you don’t care about the subject.
- They get so many applicants they throw away every application that doesn’t meet certain criteria, just to make their lives easier. It’s part of their HR process.
Don’t bother applying to companies like this unless your grades are top notch. You are wasting your time and theirs. No matter how outstanding you think you are, your application is going straight for the bin.
Some companies don’t worry so much about qualifications, but maybe for different reasons than you might expect.
- Grades are irrelevant, it’s the person we care about.
- Everyone has great grades, so we look for other things.
- Grades mean nothing. We want experience.
- What have you done? What apps you’ve built? What open source contributions have you made? Community participation?
This might sound like the easy option at first, but actually most of these companies that “don’t care about qualifications” are harder to get a job with than those that care about grades. They are looking for standout individuals. Chances are the people they are looking for happen to have amazing grades anyway, as well as being well rounded and self-motivated types. When several thousand people apply for that job, what makes you stand out?
Most companies consider qualifications as part of the package, but it is not the deciding factor.
What Should You Do?
You should take the time to investigate the companies you are interested in. Contact their HR departments and find out their attitudes. It is incredibly lazy of you to just send an application without doing the research and expect to get an interview. Do some research to check they are the right company for you and you are the right person for them!
Check out the rest of this series here.