Firstly, you should understand that you cannot avoid a PMP audit, because the selection of a candidate is a random process and only the PMI knows how it works.
According to the PMI,
“All applications are subject to an audit, although only a percentage of applications are selected for an audit. The selection of an application for audit is random.”
You should not be afraid of an audit, because failing an audit will not sentence you to a life of imprisonment.
However, that does not mean that you should invite the PMI to audit you. I believe there are some red flags, which may trigger selection and make you more prone to an audit. I believe that if you make some mistakes on your PMP application form, this raises a flag, and you may be selected for an audit.
If you have made any mistakes in filling out your experience, this may be a red flag, and you may get selected for an audit. For example, if you provide any overlapping or any gaps in your experience, you may be called for an audit.
There are many ways to earn the 35 contact hours, and one of them is through a PMI Registered Education Provider (REP). There will be no issues if you get your training through a REP. However, if you have earned them by any other means, PMI may audit you to verify your claim.
Please note: I’m not saying that you must earn your contact hours through a REP; you can earn them in any way recognized by the PMI. However, sometimes, aspirants think that a particular activity qualifies for contact hours, but in reality they do not. In this case, if you are selected for an audit, you will fail it.
In the job responsibilities section, if you provide many activities that are not related to project management, the PMI may ask you to clarify by auditing you.
There should be proof that you are experienced in all project management phases in your job responsibilities section.
The PMP certification is for professionals working in project management; therefore, PMI has to check if you are.
Numbers of Hours per Year
Usually, about 2,000 hours of experience is enough per year. If you provide excessive working hours per year, the PMI may need to verify. Fill in this information carefully and do not put excessive hours per year.
You should not apply for the PMP exam if you have less experience than required. Once you have completed your experience requirements, you can apply.
Please check your PMP eligibility before applying for the exam.
Tips for Completing the PMP Application Form
I am going to give you a few pieces of advice you should keep in mind while filling out the PMP exam certification application form.
If you have any overlapping experience, provide it as one project, since you cannot add overlapping experience. For example, let us say the duration of one project was from January to June, and the second project was May to December. In this case, you will count your experience as 12 months, not 14.
Many professionals make mistakes while filling out the numbers of hours. Please do not put an excessive number. Count your hours carefully and note them down. Usually, professionals do work approximately 2,000 hours in a year. Therefore, under normal circumstances, if you are giving experience for the last five years, then the total number should be around 10,000 hours.
Also, make sure you count experience corresponding to all five phases of the project and distribute it correctly.
Now we come to project management training. It is best to earn these 35 contact hours from any Registered Education Provider; do not go for an unknown, unregistered, low quality, cheap option. Registered education providers’ courses are pre-approved, and the PMI reviews their course content.
It might raise a red flag if you try another option. Therefore, before signing up for any training course, do your due diligence.
Under the job responsibilities section, make sure you give them your experience relevant to project management. They want to see if you have led and directed projects. Do not include your non-project management activities; it may cause suspicion.
Therefore, before entering the job responsibilities, note them down on a separate paper and review them at least twice. Once you are satisfied with the information, you can then submit it.
Ensure that your responsibilities cover all domains and that you use PMI terminology while explaining your responsibilities. Emphasize your role and show them how you led the project. Explain your contribution to the successful completion of the project.
Please note that the PMI wants to see “represent professional and compensated work.” Therefore, don’t add your voluntary work in your job responsibility and project management experience. Only include the projects for which you were given compensation.
These are my recommendations to you to avoid being audited by PMI.
Also, make sure of a few more things before applying for the exam. This will help you if you’re selected for an audit.
- Keep all educational and experience certificates ready with you.
- Contact all your previous bosses, or their replacements if original has moved elsewhere. Inform them about your application and tell them that the PMI may contact them to verify your experience.
- Don’t forget to inform your current boss, because they are the most likely candidate to be approached by the PMI if you’re selected for an audit.
There is no way you can avoid the PMP audit since it is a random process and anyone can be selected. Therefore, you should prepare before applying for the exam. This will make you well equipped in case you are selected for an audit. Supply the correct information, keep all documents with you, inform your bosses about it, and you will be good to go. If you have provided the correct information and have documents supporting it, you will clear the audit quickly.
If you follow the suggestions given above, I can assure you that you will be in a much better position to tackle the audit.
Disclaimer: Please note that the observations and advice given in this blog post belong to me. I do not guarantee that, by following the given suggestions, you will not be selected for an audit; you may or may not be chosen, it is a completely random process.
I hope all your concerns have been answered here. If you need any further information regarding PMI audit process, feel free to contact me through the comments section.