Building A Case for Building A National Recruiting Association

Several recent posts by Derek Zeller, Steve Levy and Chris Hoyt (and especially the comments directly following those posts) contributed to my writing this column, but I wanted to weigh in on what appears to be a growing dialogue in our industry. The discussion starts with defining what recruiting really entails.

Now, most people would argue that recruiting is, at the least, a critical business ‘discipline’ (if not a legitimate ‘profession’, but more on that later). It is definitely an ‘occupation,’ a vocation if not, perhaps, always an avocation.

These might seem like slight, specious or superficial differences, but in this case, words matter – and here’s why:

Recruiting: More Than Just A Job?

16-You-Are-More-Than-What-You-Do_optRecruiting and the activities associated with matching jobs with job seekers is something that affects millions of lives – and livelihoods – every year in the United States alone (let’s stick with the challenges facing us here at home before broadening our scope to assume a global position).

It might take a village to raise a child, but it apparently takes at least a small city to recruit a candidate, with tens of thousands of full time professionals who refer to themselves as a “Recruiter.”

There’s an equally large proliferation of professionals whose primary responsibilities revolve around this ‘occupation,’ even if that’s not necessarily reflected by their actual job title.

By definition, an occupation has no shared responsibility for what it entails or how it is done, much less accountability for the outcomes of doing it well and exceeding the expectations of others. Recruiting, therefore, is a job – and for most, doing that job means little more than putting a butt in a seat and a paycheck in their pocket. Reqs are closed in a vacuum, and most recruiters approach their jobs under the erroneous assumption that as long as hiring happens, the end justifies the means – and no one else is really adversely affected when those means aren’t well meaning.

In a profession, unlike an occupation or a job, there’s a certain degree of shared responsibility and collective accountability, where all practitioners are connected, whether they like it or not, by a common set of minimum standards and guidelines governing those outcomes – and an expectation that those outcomes will impact other stakeholders practicing any particular profession. A profession is viewed collectively instead of individually, for good or for ill; reputation is a shared responsibility, not a personal attribute or individual outcome.

The (Sad) State of Recruiting: Taking the Pulse of Our Profession

i-like-this-job-only-marginally-more-than-i-like-being-homelessHowever, despite the fact that recruiting impacts so many millions of lives every year – directly or indirectly – there is no accepted “body of knowledge” that its practitioners universally agree on, which means that recruiting’s reputation is being driven without any accepted definition of what it means to be a recruiter.

With hundreds of thousands of professionals in the business of hiring, or at least tangentially touching talent acquisition, this creates something of a precipitous problem, given that without at least an accepted definition, all recruiting really is seems to be a de facto set of activities – and those activities are whatever anyone says recruiting should entail.

This isn’t a profession. Not even close.

It’s a free-for-all that costs us all. Here are some of the most glaring problems we can point to:

  • Recruiting has no barriers to entry.
  • There are no standards for what a ‘recruiter’ really is (although that might soon be changing, but that’s a story I’ll save for another time).
  • There’s no agreement on what constitutes quality or how quality should be measured, monitored and maintained.
  • There are no accredited, specialized degrees for recruitment that meet University accreditation standards, unlike the many programs in place for disciplines like engineering, accounting or even general HR.
  • There are no peer-reviewed academic research or course curriculum (save a scattering of outlying offerings at the graduate level) dedicated to recruiting or talent acquisition.
  • Similarly, there’s no recruiting related academic network, specialized journal or other way for those working on relevant content within academia to periodically disseminate or discuss the emerging ideas, insights and information needed to create the aforementioned body of knowledge. 

The only generally accepted, regularly published and currently printed academic tome attempting to cover the ‘whole’ of recruiting, arguably, is Staffing Organizations by Heneman, Judge, et al. (and I’d be happy to argue it); this has existed for years, but it’s been published for years without much impact, academic or otherwise, in addressing some of the professions most pervasive and persistent problems.

Transforming Recruiting From Occupation to Profession

10dc8830f6e7c9a9c96a1865ff767f7cAnd so, taking the actual experts (not the self-described social media types whose primary qualifications are knowing how to tweet) and academics out of the equation, we’re left without any authoritative arbiter of what constitutes a recruiter or recruiting. I

nstead, we’re left with ambiguous, often conflicting definitions arbitrarily employed by current and former practitioners, vendors, suppliers, consultants, sales reps or literally anyone who says that they have an ‘answer’ and ‘an angel’ – this angel, of course, almost always coming in the guise of selling some sort of software or staffing services.

Productizing a profession never helped do anything but commoditize the actual value of end users and practitioners – plus, these solutions purport to fix problems that we can’t agree we actually have or fix things that there’s no consensus are actually broken to begin with, which as business models go, seems suspect at best.

But without the accepted ‘center’ that the majority of our community continues holding out hope of crystallizing around this occupation, we just don’t have a context to discuss and understand the myriad practices, strategies, systems, training, tools and technologies.

Instead, we’ve got a proliferation of content marketing and consultants with competing agendas and no way to establish an agreed upon foundation for what constitutes recruiting, how recruiting is evolving or really any ability to take action beyond following a few folks who seem to get it and hoping they’re right. At least, that’s where we’re at as an industry today.

What excites me, what makes me optimistic, is that the gap between those who say and those who do is becoming more important, and defining what a recruiter really is really matters to an increasing number of folks who not only have pride in their chosen ‘profession,’ but the desire (and ability) to take recruiting to the next level.

So, maybe it’s time to finally embark on that journey. It’s been done before, and mostly, it’s been done poorly – the sad state of the industry evidences the fact that these efforts have missed their mark. But while these many previous attempts have gone wrong, maybe, just maybe, it’s time to do it right.

In my opinion, the long term solution is to actually establish recruiting as a profession. This seems simple, but it hasn’t actually happened yet – although this journey has been years in the making. Starting today, there are a few steps we can all take in the right direction.


For an occupation to become a profession, there are a few commonly accepted milestones that must be met. These include:

  1. An occupation must first become full-time. Done.
  2. An occupation must have an established, independently audited training program with standards that are universally accepted instead of simply self-declared.
  3. The establishment of a University based curriculum for formally teaching that training on the undergraduate and/or graduate level. Few ‘recruiters’ with a BS in Recruiting are going to get hired until our academic approach to the industry is radically altered, as is our approach to teaching talent acquisition at the University level – which is easier said than done, suffice to syay.
  4. The establishment of a local professional associationThere are arguably over 50 of these already in place across the country with professionally focused non-profits at the local level being a model that’s already been adopted by leaders like Ben Gotkin in the Washington DC area, to cite one of the most prominent examples.
  5. The establishment of a national association. [Ah ha!]
  6. The introduction of codes of professional ethicsHey, even in recruiting, this is probably doable.
  7. The establishment and enforcement of licensing lawsIn the US, this is likely going to be a state-by-state effort instead of a single national body. 

(source: Perks, R.W.(1993): Accounting and Society. Chapman & Hall (London); ISBN 0-412-47330-5. p.2.)

Having considered these necessary conditions for turning an occupation into a profession, the first logical step, from my perspective, that’s the most likely to put us on the right path is to establish (or re-establish) a National Professional Recruiting Association. In fact, it’s actually a no-brainer.

Why A National Professional Recruiting Association Makes Sense.

scarecrow-wizard-of-ozOne could argue – and quite convincingly – that existing, established professional organizations dedicated to HR such as the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and knowledge testing & certification bodies such as HRCI are proper platforms for serving as ‘stewards’ for the recruiting profession.

These existing organizations could potentially curate recruiting content, oversee vetting the evidence for its exclusion or exclusion in a specialized body of knowledge and much more: establishing standards, encouraging proper data collection and analysis, funding research, and so forth.

I have personally argued this case for almost 25 years but have slowly (and sadly) come to the conclusion that, as one of my N’awlins friends, Dan Hilbert, puts it so perfectly, ‘That dog won’t hunt.”

Not now. Not ever.

Back in 1999, SHRM cleared the way for actually accomplishing this objective by acquiring the EMA (Employment Management Association), the only broad-based national recruiting association then in existence. At the time of its acquisition, the organization was over 40 years old, but had become dominated by vendors and seen its membership decline from a peak of over 10,000 practitioners to maybe a few thousand at best.

Fast forward a decade, and the dream had all but died. By 2008, its board was long gone from SHRM; its magazine sales diverted, purposely, to HR Magazine; it’s national conference merged into SHRM “Talent Management” and the 19 SHRM affiliate chapters with recruiting specialties were going nowhere fast.

At best, SHRM’s mission when it comes to recruiting is simple: to support HR professionals, who must, occasionally, recruit as part of their portfolio of professional responsibilities. Any additional focus on recruiting besides its tangential connection to core HR disciplines would dilute their ‘brand’ and detract from their core membership and mission.

HRCI, likewise, will never offer a specialized recruiting certification, and while its PHR, SPHR and GPHR certifications do include test questions and material relevant to recruiting, these barely scrape the surface of the knowledge and competencies required by today’s dedicated recruiting professionals. Their entire database of recruiting-related materials is a tiny sliver of what’s required for certifying recruiting, a fraction of the functional expertise that’s required to effectively set baselines and benchmarks related to recruiting.

One could also argue that existing niche associations should step up to the plate. The IACPR (the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruiters) or the HRPS (Human Resource Planning Society) are two such examples. These associations are well established and well-funded, but the fact is, the former is more of a trade association bridging the gap between internal recruiting and executive search, and the latter is having its members in HR leadership more or less aggressively courted away by SHRM.

For me, neither fit.

NACE (the National Association of Colleges and Employers) is another well liked and historically successful association and, while it has a great model for curating specialized recruiting content (including by the way a recently published ‘map’ produced by practitioners of the standard acceptable practices in college recruiting), it has enough to handle focusing on Campus issues and still struggles with a critical mass of members as well as a solid balance between its corporate and career service members.

Agency, placement, outsourcing, and even job boards have great non-profit ‘trade’ association models emphasizing their member needs. They lobby for their members, build reasonable ethical standards and curate best practices. There is much to learn from them, but their bias will remain the business needs of their individual members not advancing the profession as a whole.

And as for the legion of ‘for-profit’ commercial organizations who systematically collect, analyze, publish data and content, share it or sell it and bring together recruiters, consultants, researchers, analysts, vendors, suppliers etc., some are better than others but they all suffer from a perceived conflict of interest around their short-term goals to balance their owners and investors’ needs over their members’ needs.

Among those I follow the most, in no special order, is this small sample: ERE, HCI, Conference Board, CLC, Recruiting Blogs, Bersin by Deloitte, Saratoga Institute, Brandon Hall, the HR Technology Conference, etc.

I won’t bother to describe the embedded bias of content published by nearly all Technology based services as it would be a waste of a page. Of course, none of these actually fit the criteria for moving from occupation to profession that I’ve outlined above, no matter how helpful these resources might be for recruiters.

Why The Right Time For A Recruiting Association Is Right Now.

99222df3cc60fbc787a426af461f48e5Maybe it’s too altruistic to consider that the time is right to launch a recruiter-supported association with dedicated to better defining, measuring, collecting and sharing content that meets some standard of consistently high quality, is peer reviewed and operates free from proprietary influence and the pay for play that goes along with accepting external funding from third party vendors.

Yeah, I know. That sounds pretty boring. Sure, my writing style’s probably partially to blame, but even so, I still marvel at the number of folks who prefer to the wild-west approach to recruiting.

Sure, it’s the easy way to go, but in the end, that ease has cost all of us the reputation and respect that recruiting needs if it’s going to become the profession many of us want.

It’s that critical mass of advocates that make me optimistic that we can successfully collaborate on the recruiting certification and quality content required to systematically curate and build an entity from the ground up, from branding to analytics to licensing to standards to competencies to leadership – the list of outcomes goes on and on.

It’s a lot more work than the free for all we’ve become accustomed to – but it’s that work that’s going to lead to the kind of meaningful progress that might benefit all of us.

Guilt by Association: A Recruiting Call To Action

So, what would this professional association look like? That’s up to you.

The next steps are to encourage others in our industry to see who is willing to devote their time, talent and technical knowledge to creating a proposal for launching an association with a planned body of work capable of attracting enough professional members to make a real impact – and a real difference – in the business of recruiting, and make sure that business as usual is anything but.

Here’s hoping this is an idea whose time has finally come. But again, that’s really all up to you.

If you’re interested in continuing this dialogue, click here, answer a few short questions about a few starting points for discussion and, if you want to play, leave your contact info. 

All are welcome. Especially you.

gerry-300x300About the AuthorGerry Crispin, SPHR is a life-long student of staffing and co-founder of CareerXroads, a firm devoted to peer-to-peer learning by sharing recruiting practices. An international speaker, author and acknowledged thought leader, Gerry founded a non-profit, Talentboard, with colleagues Elaine Orler and Ed Newman to better define the Candidate Experience, a subject he has been passionate about for 30 years.

Gerry has also co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and written more than 100 rticles and whitepapers on similar topics. Gerry’s career in Human Resources spans is also quite broad and includes HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; Associate Partner in a boutique Executive Search firm; Career Services Director at the Stevens Institute of Technology, where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior.

Follow Gerry on Twitter @GerryCrispin or connect with him on LinkedIn.

  • Steve Levy

    Gerry, I’ve known you for some 15 years – and this post is why I consider you to be the apex intellectual in MY profession.

    I’m all in and lok forward to serving at the pleasure of all recruiters who actually give a damn.

  • lance

    I’d suggest making GAESP – Global Association of Ethical Staffing Professionals

    Speaking only for myself, I’ve staffed personnel in every continent except Antartica and have seen that there’s good and bad staffing elements everywhere… A worldwide organization might be best even if the majority of members only do regional staffing. Getting schools to make a certificate in staffing and teaching ethical ways of sourcing candidates would be key. Great ideas Gerry!

    • Steve Levy

      Lance, can we call it the Last GAESP?

      • jeremylanghans

        IF y’all are going to spend ur valuable time doin’ a thing…
        i’d vote for Last Gasp OR i’d even vote 2x for NRA
        (no need for a G cuz gerry entitled this ‘national’ &, lets be honest, recruiters should be strapped?)
        i mean the brand synergy (read: mooch off their lobby$) is worth using NRA
        plus, the NWRA is the best regional thing so jus’ drop the W and ur fine

  • Mary Faulkner

    This is an interesting, thought-provoking read. I’m curious about why you brought up the fact recruiting was rolled into the Talent Management conference – the connotation seemed to be that it was a bad thing. It would seem to me that there is value in recruiting being one step in a larger process and that recruiters (or talent specialists, or whatever you want to call them) would only benefit from being part of a longer cycle. What’s your take on that?

  • gerrycrispin

    It was a side note Mary.

    In 1999 a 40 year old Employer focused Recruitment Assoc. (The Employment Management Association) with ~ 5000 members was ‘absorbed’ into SHRM. For several years SHRM maintained its Board, Conference (EMA) and quarterly Magazine (EMA Today). SHRM also allowed for specialized chapters with a focus on Recruiting or, alternatively, a ‘Branded’ Professional Emphasis Group (PEG) within a generalist HR Chapter to affiliate with SHRM.

    In 2004, SHRM concluded that this functional focus diluted the generalist ‘Brand’ of the society. The EMA Board was disbanded. The Magazine was eliminated as a too inexpensive alternative to HR Magazine. The EMA Conference was ‘expanded’ to include Talent Management and support for the 19 specialized EMA Chapters and PEGS at that time eliminated. Charters for new recruiting chapters were frozen (and today the most successful of them have left as SHRM affiliates and are independent).

    I did not mean for the connotation about the SHRM TM Conference to be negative as there is always a need to break down silos between specialty functions (and I’ve spoken at it for 20 straight years). I think it’s great…for HR folks, particularly SHRM members who work for fairly small companies and who want to get a better handle on Recruiting and Development issues.

    However, the competencies and breadth of Recruiting/Staffing (as well as Training and Development) are sufficient to stand on their own as a professional career IMHO. Recruiting once was an area you simply cycled through earlier in your career on your way to becoming VP, HR (and for some HR folks that is more than enough) but today the business demands and value of recruiting/staffing challenges easily support a long-term career as practitioner, leader, consultant, business owner, entrepreneur etc. in the space. And few recruiting leaders, in my experience, are even members of an HR association today (so the point of Talent Management as a combined professional association is truly moot).

    There are plenty of industry ‘trade’ organizations and niche/regional associations but not one single non-profit that embraces the totality of recruiting as a ‘profession’. And so my reference was in pointing out that SHRM is no longer, if it ever was, focused on support of the separate ‘parts’ of HR as stand alone professions or even career specialties. Hope that helps.

    • Steve Levy

      Gerry, to the point of being part of a larger HR group – it’s what I do in NY, in particular, as part of HRNY’s Staffing SIG. Based on the monthly discussions over the past 3-4 years, I’ve noticed a widening gap between HR generalists and recruiters as companies try to figure out solutions to the TA problems. This gap between SHRM and recruiting highlights how recruiting has accelerated itself as its own profession.

      When I think back to the time where we serve on the board of the nJ Metro EMA (at the time there were only 5 functioning EMA chapters in the entire US), we saw this gap becoming an issue but also saw SHRM doing its darnedest to keep recruiting in its own house. How is SHRM gong to react to the possibility of “loosing” one of its revered body parts?

      • gerrycrispin

        SHRM’s definition of a recruiter is an HR professional doing time in recruiting to check a box. ok, maybe that isn’t fair. Still, SHRM has much more to worry about than an upstart group like recruiting. We’re no different in that respect than T&D (ASTD); Compensation (World at Work); Benefits (IFEBP), etc. -except we have no association. They’ll still tell themselves that recruiting is an HR function. The emperor has no clothes problem with that is that of the recruiters involved in the hiring that takes place in the US, I doubt 5% of them are SHRM members and 80% of the remainder would not consider themselves as an HR professional…under any circumstances.

        • Steve Levy

          We need to get this discussion in front of SHRM and SHRM chapters; I’ll take care of NYS SHRM and its chapters.

          • gerrycrispin

            I suspect only the New York City chapter has a recruiting SIG and there are no specialty chapters in NY.

  • Matt Lowney

    I think a national association makes a lot of sense – and honestly always wondered why it hadn’t been in place in the past. The article helped a lot with understanding the history. My suggestion – and I think one that would scale more quickly than starting from scratch – would to build a federation of local recruiting associations already in place. There are several that exist around the country. In Nashville we have a group, Talent Acquisition Networking Source that has 1,500+ members, for example.

    • gerrycrispin

      Absolutely Matt. In fact Ben Gotkin has (as a volunteer) been holding conference calls about every month or two for the last 2 years of Independent local associations (some are affiliated with SHRM but they are in fact independently incorporated). Some are loosely affiliated Technical Recruiting Networks. We had listed 50 and tried to track down and invite the local chapter leaders to connect periodically to discuss issues in common. didn’t know about Nashville but expect Ben to be in touch.

      • Matt Lowney

        Would love to hear from Ben. We have a couple of smaller affiliate chapers around the state as well.

        • Matt – I’ve been speaking with the leader of the Nashville group for the past year now. In fact, as Gerry mentioned, we’ve been having a dialogue among the dozen or so largest metropolitan groups for a couple of years now. The foundation is being laid to potentially better connect these local groups who up to this point have been operating mostly in their own silos, yet who all have the same goals and who run similar networking and learning events.

          • Steve Levy

            Ben, how long have we been talking about this impending tsunami? Seems as long as we’ve known each other. It’s time to fish or cut bait. We’re the same people talking it up now as back then. I’m in. Let’s do this.

          • Absolutely. It looks like momentum around this may finally be building, we need to start moving from talk to action. Next step will be getting the right people at high levels across the profession to demonstrate their interest and start to collaborate with us to build out the framework for how this will work. This is no small task ahead of us, but I’m excited as to what this might lead to.

          • Ben you’re welcome to contribute a post towards said momentum. Would love your take.

  • James Chmielinski

    You’re missing the point and looking backwards. It’s not rocket science. Require a college degree or masters degree in business and don’t hire someone who doesn’t measure up. Problem solved. I like the track of thought of quality standardization but a lot of this “accreditation” can be received from a bachelor of masters degree in business. Don’t complicate it. Have standards in your hiring and don’t waste time reinventing the wheel that is about to get an upgrade to the hover board. Define benchmarks. More process innovation on standards doesn’t do anything for our industry. Technology innovation is where it’s at. Do your research on future progress and recruiting technology rather than waste time analyzing research about what should have been implemented 10 years ago.

    • gerrycrispin

      Appreciate the comments. Especially the notion that it is better to examine a future state and the technology to get us there than fix the broken cart that got us here. Surprised however, that you offer a college degree as a solution when an increasing number of IT folks are sans degree- not to mention recruiters. 14% of Google’s professional class was noted recently as having no degree. So problem is not solved unless you want to overlook a growing number of quality candidates whose background is increasingly diverse vis-a-vis education, skills, knowledge and experience as well as cultural flexibility. I would agree that its not rocket science but, moving forward to me means we need to disengage past practices that no longer are workable (that pesky wheel) based on the evidence we can now collect and analyze in nearly real-time (which few are doing); share the practices that best align with today’s technology and that are able to meet more of the needs of each stakeholder in the recruiting process. An association is potentially a neutral platform for that conversation.

      • James Chmielinski

        Well, recruiters aren’t engineers so benchmarking their preference away from academia doesn’t warrent this discussion. However, if we look at the scientific process of education and validation in research cases, we can derive best practices that aren’t based on conjecture or theories but rather proven scenarios. That’s what masters and doctorate programs in talent acquisition can provide. But the starting point is to create a bachelor or associate program preparing and that already exists in certain relatable learning programs. trending programs can include industrial oganaization Pycology, interpersonal communication, sociology, and anthropology. We have institutions that have been analyzing these things way longer in ways smarter than recruiters would be willing to conjure up. Plus, why would you empower the generation that created a system of dysfunction in this industry to create a system of accountability and accreditation. Makes no sense. I’m in support of professionalizing this skillset through a structure of professionals and pricing around hourly rates (I’m doing it myself and so is like lawyers, accountants, but even those professions require academia to support their certification and licensure. So it has to be a partnership between the industry experts and formalized education. I like your direction if you aim it forward and add benchmarking with real focus on strategic leadership at the high levels (masters, doctorates) and undergraduate supply of entry level professionals. It’s a supply and demand issue. Let’s create some theories and prove them. Guess what the best way to prove theories is??? Yes. PhD and doctorate programs create scholars that people derive apply truth from, not associations….

        • gerrycrispin

          All excellent points except your comment on blaming a generation for models that have been in place for more than 100 years and are currently being embraced by a generation younger than you. Age isn’t a factor here. We are all in the midst of a transformation regardless of the stereotypes applied to age cohorts. Appreciate you insights just disagree on whether an association will be of some assistance..or not, in getting to that program of education you are describing so well.

          • James Chmielinski

            Oh, I agree with your ideas. We feel the same way about the frustrations that have caused our need to adapt the approach on how we interact with talent. The process of sharing opportunity through influence needs to change. That’s my focus. We are in alignment and its not an age thing. The difference is solely based on the ideas surrounding how to enact change and different generations think differently. People should focus on the ideas not on the personalities behind them. We all mean well. We have a different lens on life through experience and one day I will be in your shoes talking to someone like me with different ideas. The acceptance of ideas is always, yes. The execution of ideas is 1000 no’s to 1 yes if you want to be successful. Otherwise, nothing will ever change and that is exactly why 100 years you claim (I thought it was 20 years) have gone by with nothing truly big and amazing coming out of this industry. That’s going to change if I have my way. I like you, Gerry, and I enjoy your approach to information sharing because it is backed up with data. We should chat sometime. Would love to bridge the gap. Let me know how best to reach you. 🙂



    • Steve Levy

      James, if technology solves all the ills, then why were you and I speaking so much about the art of recruiting?

      • James Chmielinski

        Yes, we do value the art of recruiting and that’s why we get along so well, Mr President. 🙂 There is a distinction though. People don’t hire me because I have magical abstract qualities in recruiting that get the job done. People hire me to consult because I balance the science and technology that forces accountability in people involved in the hiring process. My communication approach can be challenging to adapt to but it delivers results in sourcing, outside the funnel, through the execution of recruiting and hiring. It’s a balance of abstract conversation relating to the human but it’s built on a foundation of systemic process progression. People plug them into the process and we have to hold them to transparency and accountability every step of the way. You are right. It is an art of balance in communication and systemic design.

  • salems

    As a 35 year self-employed contingency recruiter having belonged to organizations I have four dynamics which always concern me
    One, securing clients I can provide a service finding people, who pay fees–winning business
    Two, legal guidelines knowing where the lines are to comport my business within
    Three, critical technological tools essential to utilize at present.
    Four, advice/suggestions for self-improvement

    I don’t find recruiting to be the wild west, really since 2001. Fewer jobs, less need for recruiters means more impediments to getting on approved lists–lots more in house politics involved.
    So the tough part, for me, is replacing lost clients no longer or rarely needing TPR’s.

    My point being these are the issues that drive me. Winning clients–good clients hard to come by–and generating business. As you all know we’re in pretty much a lone wolf business. Few in our business I’ll talk to. But it’s more out of discipline incestuousness than poor reputation. Everyone’s a competitor, or potential one.

    I’ll keep involved in this discussion as it ensues.

    Bill Josephson
    William James Associates

    • gerrycrispin

      While I think an Association that embraces every category of recruiting would have a significant impact on each of the 4 goals you mentioned, there already exists several Agency and Staffing business associations and trade groups that might contribute as well. But you know that already. I’m of the opinion that the ‘lone wolf business’ view and model which has worked well for many over the last few decades is in its last days. A network of lone wolf’s has possibilities but even more challenges if the tendency to view everyone as the competition outweighs the value add of collaboration.

      • This reply speaks volumes Gerry…as someone with experience from both sides of the industry…I really think it is imperative to have a National Assn that represents ALL recruiters…the TPR world need to buy in to this concept as much as the corporate world (particularly since there is a tendency for them to “go off the reservation” more readily than other areas of our industry…). The Sharing Economy is putting these types of businesses out to pasture and as an industry we need to embrace all…

        • gerrycrispin

          Agreed and I’m in favor of a much more inclusive approach. My hypothesis however is that only a few TPRs will view an Association’s goals and mission as attractive. Take what I can get

  • jeremylanghans

    the NWRA has been around for a very long time and does fine being locally focused
    not sure that the greater recruiter community would value from a national thing like the SHRM folks do … plus they already have SMA which is the same thing as what’s being put out here?

    • Steve Levy

      Depends upon your definition of fine – I’ve heard otherwise. See you in Seattle soon.

      • jeremylanghans


  • disqus_iqWsPoftt2

    Great topic…Gerry (Ben and I have been friends and colleagues in the DC market for years), I am not sure you remember me (we’ve met a couple of times). I am the founder of a DC/Baltimore organization of corporate recruiting executives (about 120+ members strong) and I would be glad to help build this effort nationally…

    We can “argue” details, but there’s no doubt the industry and it’s members would benefit from some “higher power” ensuring the that we now are a true profession. Let me know how I can help.

    Lastly, your writing style is certainly not boring and you outlined everything perfectly! 🙂

    Alan Strauss
    Founder TALC

  • derdiver

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant. I am so excited about this as well you know Gerry. The meeting we had in New York seems to be really bearing fruit and I am smiling ear to ear seeing how the community in general is getting behind this idea. When can we all meet again to take this from an idea to and actual reality? I stand with you sir.

  • Thought I’d chip in and see if you are aware of the APAC industry body the RCSA? It is just for agencies and in general does a reasonable job of raising the bar –

  • Pingback: TalentNet: Keep Recruiting Weird. | Freelance Recruiter()

  • Pingback: Recruitment Marketing Articles of the Week - SmashFly Blog()

  • Pingback: That’s Recruiting Legitimacy With Perpetual Balance()

  • Pingback: 5 Things Every New Recruiter Needs To Remember | Recruiting In 3D()

  • Didn’t NAPS do this well over half a century ago.. As did California Staffing Association, MAPPS, and other State and National Associations? Create and set the standards? And, isn’t their Certification Not part of the Continuing Education Units, meaning that their Certification is Respected by the Department of Education..

    Gerry.. by the way.. nice article.. post.. Letter? Hope the Players will make sure to keep Ego out of this.. and manage to find time to get actual working professionals involved.. those who Bill a million a year.. those who are CERTIFIED and or Accredited in their state. Those who own businesses, and have and are Running a recruiting Desk for over a decade successfully, and those who have seen a couple of recessions w/o failure.

    THESE are the People who will make a difference.. these are the people who know what the industry needs and wants.. And many of these players..Gerry, you are right, will not be found on Twitter or Recruiting Daily.. they could be found on NAPS though.. just saying..

  • Genaro

    I have so much 1st hand experience on this topic by virtue of circumstance. You see, I’ve been interviewing extensively and have had an inside view in to EVERYTHING – from how technology platforms are poorly optimized to how recruiters range from people I’d hire to gelding paper pushers accommodating a hopeless process to organizations blowing money on flying candidates in for week long interviews without having any real sense of what they actually need to hire.
    “Productizing a profession never helped do anything but commoditize the actual value of end users and practitioners” – Gerry, that is the epithet, perfectly stated as to what we have now. It’s a great article at the scholarly or peer reviewed level in its totality. If we play this out in iterative fashion, it means the end of agency staffing as it exists today….which would be a good thing. I say that with no malice to my past “profession”, but with that iterative future view of agency as strategic business partner. I will argue that a key point was missed: Talent (Recruiting/TA/Workforce) needs to be relocated from HR (CHRO) to Operations (COO) for the paradigm shift you envision to occur. It’s an organization’s operational imperative to raise this to COO purview because of the business acumen required at the core of the recruitment process when done right. The matrix alignment for compliance reporting is still critical, but the back office nature of the HR org can’t set vision or be the driver for such a critical operational component.

Just add your e-mail!