Becoming a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)
By Bridget Quigg, PayScale.com
If you work in HR and want to find a way to advance your career, why not earn a Certified Compensation Professional certificate? This certification, offered by World at Work, requires you to pass nine tests and, as their website states, is a “mark of expertise and excellence in all areas of compensation.” Right now, several staff members at PayScale are working to earn their CCPs. We took a moment to interview one of them about how her process is going.
We spoke with Laura Beth, an implementation specialist at PayScale, who is in the process of earning a CCP. Learn about her educational and professional background, what motivated her to pursue a CCP and how the process is going.
Q: Let’s start at the beginning, professionally. What is your educational background?
A: I have a bachelor’s degree in Humanities with an emphasis in Organizational Communications and a second major in Organizational Psychology.
Q: Where you intending to go into human resources when you were in college or is this something that you figured out later?
A: Towards the end of college is when I figured out that I wanted to go into recruiting, the recruiting side of HR.
Q: How did you find out about recruiting?
A: I had a really good friend in college who was doing recruiting and said that I would be good at it. So, when I was doing WSU (Washington State University) classes online I was also working in loss prevention in retail and worked fairly closely with HR. So, I saw another aspect of HR.
Q: Why did this friend say that you would be good at recruiting?
A: Because I am a people person.
Q: When you worked in recruiting, were you interested in learning more about the compensation side of things or was it something that came up later?
A: It was definitely something where I wished I knew more because of the first recruiting job I had. I was basically told, “Okay, here is the box and here is what you can offer people. If they have this education level and this experience level, they get this amount. If they have no experience and no education level, they get this amount.” So, that’s when I became really interested in how the compensation is put together.
Q: What have you been doing for PayScale?
A: I have been doing implementations which means teaching people how use our product, how to get their information into the system, how to analyze their data and encouraging them to choose smart pay practices.
Q: When did you decide you were going to go for a CCP?
A: I think it was my second week at PayScale when I was informed that the company was going to pay for us to get our CCPs.
Q: Were you told about why the company values it?
A: I wasn’t, but I was told that our CEO (Mike Metzger) wanted the process to be completed and done here at the company by PayScale employees on a more regular basis so it’s done more quickly than it has been in the past. When they first offered it, it was about a two or two and a half year process. Now, it’s a more accelerated process with us taking a test every month for nine months.
Q: Are you getting time during the workday to study?
A: We are now, we weren’t before. It’s actual scheduled time now.
Q: How is it going?
A: Well. I’ve taken two tests so far and our third one is scheduled for June. They are extremely long, cumbersome tests. There are 90 questions, multiple choice. You’re given about four hours, an afternoon, to complete them. For an individual who has extreme test anxiety, it is not exactly an enjoyable process.
Q: How high do you need to score?
A: You have to get a 75 percent on the test. You just have to pass them.
Q: What’s your hope for your career once you have this certification?
A: I think that it will definitely give me a better understanding of compensation overall, a better understanding of our product and how people can use our product to form compensation philosophies that fit their company’s needs.
Q: Is getting into specialize compensation consulting more of a goal now?
A: I think that it is knowledge that I am interested in attaining but maybe not a career path I would head down.
Q: So, you like human resources in general.
A: Yes, I am more interested in the recruiting aspect of human resources. I like to help people find jobs. I like helping people find the right person for the right job. It’s very satisfying when you get to know your hiring managers and help them form their team.
Q: Any last advice to those considering a CCP?
A: Figure out a study plan and be open to the different types of methodologies within the World at Work CCP. Try to think of situations and companies where you could apply those methodologies or different approaches to compensation.
Q: Do you think that earning a CCP is valuable? Would you encourage people to do it?
A: I definitely think it is valuable and would encourage people to do it, especially those people interested in the compensation portion of HR. You learn the basics and you learn the intricacies. Compensation is a huge piece of HR so it’s definitely beneficial.
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