Uncharted Waters

Nov 2 2015   3:10PM GMT

Larceny By Trick

Matt Heusser Matt Heusser Profile: Matt Heusser

Tags:
Larceny

PMP LogoDid you hear about the woman who faked pregnancy in order to get financial support? She’s headed to prison for 18 months. The crime is larceny by trick: She convinced people to give her money based on a lie.

Back in IT, you don’t have to  look far for a similar story; it might be as simple as the guy down the hall who claims a fake degree, a fake certification, or experiences he did not have on his resume in order to get a job.

Let’s start there. Specifically, someone who claims on LinkedIn to have the Project Manager Professional, or PMP designation, but doesn’t show up in the registry. Now it is possible the person’s registration expired, or he has the name spelled wrong. You want to be careful, so you contact the Project Management Institute Directly.

Then things get weird.

What follows is actual uncut correspondence I had with the PMI. It is not a joke. I have cut and pasted the emails in reverse order for readability.


If someone publicly claims to have a PMP (say, linkedin) but does not show up on the registry, is there some way you can confirm that person actually has a PMP – or, perhaps, did but it was expired?

thank you,
Matthew Heusser,
Managing Principal, Excelon Development

Dear Matt,

Greetings. Our online credential registry only shows the active credential holders and the retired candidates. If they are under suspension or expired their name will not be listed in the registry.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care.

Sincerely,

S. Jaganath
Customer Care Associate
Project Management Institute


Yes –  I’d like to confirm if someone who publicly claims to have the certificate actually earned it at any time.

Is there some way to do so?

Matthew Heusser,
Managing Principal, Excelon Development
http://www.xndev.com

Dear Matt,

Greetings. Our online credential registry only shows the active credential holders and the retired candidates. If they are under suspension or expired their name will not be listed in the registry.If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care.

Sincerely,

S. Jaganath
Customer Care Associate
Project Management Institute


Yes –  I’d like to confirm if someone who publicly claims to have the certificate actually earned it at any time.

Is there some way to do so?


Greetings,

Thank you for contacting PMI Customer Care.

You will need to send a letter our certification department that is signed by the potential credential holder so that we may investigate.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care.

Sincerely,

M. Parks
Customer Care


If someone is fraudulently claiming to be PMP certified, they won’t sign the letter.

Is there no simple way to confirm a credential that someone claims publicly? Say it is on their linkedin, or resume, and I am considering interviewing them.

Greetings,Thank you for contacting Customer Care at the Project Management Institute.

There is a certification registry online in which you can verify if someone is a PMI credential holder. To search the certification registry online please visit http://www.pmi.org/certification/credential-registry.aspx.

Please note: Credential holders can opt out of appearing in the online registry.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care.

Sincerely,

N. Nock

Customer Care
Project Management Institute


“There is a certification registry online in which you can verify if someone is a PMI credential holder. To search the certification registry online please visit http://www.pmi.org/certification/credential-registry.aspx.

Please note: Credential holders can opt out of appearing in the online registry. “

—–> Let me be clear: I want to be certain if someone has the cert now, ever earned it (and it expired), or has opted out. It would seem to be that if they display the cert on a public website (linkedin) then you should be able to confirm this.


Greetings,

Thank you for contacting Customer Care at the Project Management Institute.

We received your inquiry about the Certification status of a possible credential holder.  You are able to check the status of an active or retired credential holder by searching our certification registry (http://www.pmi.org/certification/credential-registry.aspx).  Please note that credential holders are able to opt out of the registry due to privacy concerns.

Also, we do have a process that allows a potential employer to verify the credential status of a possible credential holder.  This requires an authorization from the potential employee to release information about the information provided on a potential resume or application.

If you believe that someone is misrepresenting themselves as a PMP, you are also able to submit an ethics complaint, during which PMI will investigate whether someone is intentionally misrepresenting themselves as a credential holder.

More information about the Ethics violation processes may be found by visiting http://www.pmi.org/About-Us/Ethics/Ethics-Complaints.aspx.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care.

Sincerely,

D. Mushrush


Do we really need a form this complex if someone claims to be a PMP on linkedin and isn’t? Can’t you just look at it?


Greetings,

Thank you for contacting Customer Care at the Project Management Institute.

The Project Management Institute takes ethics violations seriously and we would require the form to be completed in order to complete any further investigation. Without this additional information, PMI will not be able to further investigation this person’s status. We thank you for requesting guidance in the Ethics process.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Care.


Lessons Learned

It’s easy for me to complain about the PMI; they have essentially painted a large target on their back. The reality is that they operate like a business, and a “sting” or search operation to find fraudulent PMP’s would cost a lot of time, money, possibly have legal repercussions, and not buy them much. Even just responding to every one-sentence complaint could cause them a great deal of problems – and what recourse do they have? Expelling the member from the PMI won’t do much; I suspect most scammers aren’t even members of the PMI. Tell the employer? They might open them up to even more legal issues. So the PMI creates a few hoops, including pages of documentation, for you to fill out and scan, in order to demonstrate that you are a reasonably vested party. I suppose that is okay.

I can still criticize customer support from the PMI, for not bothering to read emails and re-directing me to the thing I already said wouldn’t work (there are a couple more redundant emails in that chain to booth) – but the real insight isn’t about the PMI at all.

It’s about me.

Why do I care so much?

The reality of my situation is that I am coming to the end of a two-continent, three-country, five-locations speaking tour. I am tired. Most of the speaking was for travel, to “expand” the business. I have a handful of proposals to move forward, our existing work to move forward, family that hasn’t seen me in far too long, an inbox that is too full, and office that is, well, you’ve seen my office.

This isn’t a complaint about the PMI, although it started out that way … it is a wake up call.

I have work to do, and I suspect, you might too.

It’s time to stand up, shake it off, and move forward.

Let’s get going.

4  Comments on this Post

 
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  • TOxner

    Integrity of resumes or LinkedIn profiles will always be a forum where one can easily stretch the truth or out-and-out lie.   Whether its a Certification or a "Hey, I architected this nifty tool" resume bullet point, there is only so much checking a potential employer can do. 

    I think a bigger question is, what do you do if you find out they lied?  Reputations are not easily rebuild and as we all know, the world is a very small place.

    P.S.  Thanks for the reminder that i need to update my name with PMI :)

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  • ncberns
    If this weren't so sad and real, it would be hysterical. Nah, it's that funny anyway.

    I've had similar problems with LinkedIn providing their canned response over and over, until finally some switch flips and my inquiry gets elevated to problem and gets a job number. Then, about a week later, they thank my for inquiry, apologize for my problems and then send the same canned response.....
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  • Matt Heusser
    For what it's worth folks, Tessa is not being ironical. She earned her PMP, logo and all.

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  • hugson
    Of course, the really sad thing about all this is that the possession of this, or any other, certificate doesn't begin to demonstrate that the person in question really is capable of doing the job. All it shows is that, at some point in time, the person was able to satisfy some [possibly arcane] set of criteria to obtain a certification of some competence or other that may or may not be of material relevance.

    When I, in both technical and managerial roles, led a smallish team I was little interested in paper qualifications. We were all competent enough to be able to establish whether the interviewee was going to make a useful contribution. The only bad hiring (and subsequent firing) I ever made was of someone who came with an excellent industry-wide reputation, who certainly possessed all the paper qualifications anyone might ever ask for and who turned out to be entirely useless,
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