What Happens If PMI Audits Your Experience?
The word "audit" sends chills through anyone, regardless of the situation. It doesn't matter the scenario. Luckily, one of the least scary audits is the PMP audit. If you get flagged for a random PMI audit, it's important that you do your due diligence — but it's actually not that bad.
First, let's address something. Despite what you might have read, the PMP audit is, in fact, completely random. It's not like the EC Council Ethical Hacker audit, which is decidedly not random. The PMI auditors just draw a name out of a hat (or however they do it), and you're flagged.
The consequences of failing an audit are troublesome, but not fatal. If you fail the audit process, you are unable to apply for one year, so it's important that you do it right the first time. Don't panic. Here's what you need to do.
Don't Ignore the Audit
Congrats! You're almost ready to be PMP-certified, and maybe add a few dollars to your paycheck. Don't let this formality get in the way. The absolute worst idea is to ignore the PMP audit — or any other audit, for that matter. The PMP audit is critical to your application success. The process takes about a week, so it won't take too much of your time. Ignoring the audit could mean that your application is denied, and that's the worst thing you want to do after studying for the exam.
You'll be asked to verify your work experience, education, and any continuing education credits. Collect this information and reply to the request at the time indicated by the auditor. Don't delay and don't ignore it, thinking that it will go away. Again, It's a critical aspect of the acceptance process.
You should always be honest because you have the experience, right? (Right?!) Just because you get audited doesn't meant PMI reviewers automatically think that your application is fraudulent. The entire process is random and the reviewers are just following procedure. Always be honest and consider this a part of your application, not an insinuation that your experience is fraudulent.
Lying to auditors could mean an immediate rejection and failure, so it's best to be honest. Collect documents, speak to your current managers, and contact any former colleagues to let them know that PMI auditors could be contacting them. If they're PMPs, they'll get it.
As with any background check, it's important that you're honest, yet, thorough. An auditor's job is to go through your documents to ensure that you're qualified for the PMP certification. You don't want to blow it based on a poor representation of your experience and educational documentation. After all, you're a project manager. You're used to being thorough and submitting exactly what stakeholders ask you to deliver.
For education verification, it's usually a good idea to have both photocopies and scanned PDFs of your college diploma or certifications. There are lots of reasons to have this information digitized — a PMI audit is just one of them.
Be honest and complete with your application and the audit is a breeze. You will probably need verification of your experience from your manager, so ask your manager or an HR person for documentation that can verify your background.
What Happens If You Can't Contact Your Old Team?
If you can't contact your old team, you might want to jump on LinkedIn to seek them out. It's these things right here that make how you leave an old job important. Ask the auditors if you have any questions. It's not the end of the world if you can't contact your old team. You just need to prove your experience in other ways. This could be current experience or projects you've done with other teams.
As an experienced professional, getting referrals is important for anything, including previous managers and staff. Find a manager willing to give you the reference that you need.
The key to an audit is to be honest and thorough. Submit the required documentation, and be prompt in doing so. It's not the end of the world, but you should take it seriously, like any other type of audit that you might face in your career.
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