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Is reliance on formal credentials (particularly examination certificates) to make selection decisions. It is a term with a critical edge: it suggests that paper qualifications are not a good indicator of competence and that it is not rational to rely upon them. Relevant practical experience or a rigorous test of competence may be a more reliable guide to future performance. A related idea is that of ‘credential inflation’: that increasingly advanced formal qualifications are required to perform jobs that are unchanging and which may have rather modest skill demands. For example, once school certificates would have allowed entry to managerial work in a large firm but increasingly a degree or even a postgraduate qualification is needed.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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