How To Prove You’re A Real Recruiter.

quote1My last post, You’re Not Really A Recruiter, seems to have hit something of a nerve – apparently, a lot of people out there feel the same way I do about those charlatans who fraudulently call themselves recruiters, even though they’ve got no experience, expertise or abilities beyond having somehow scored a job running a desk at some shitty staffing firm.

These so-called “recruiters” will, for the most part, wash out from the industry in a year or two, leaving nothing more than a black mark on the professional reputation for those of us who are in this because this is more than a job for us: it’s our lives’ work, our passion and our purpose.

When I put the original post together, I thought that there were two possible reactions – either the recruiting community would get behind the idea of actually working together for a change to turn the tide on this alarming trend by calling out these career con-artists, or the plea would fall on deaf ears, creating little more than pithy banter and maybe even attracting a few trolls.

So it goes when you write something you care about – and generally, as a rule, the more invested you are in a topic, the likelier it is to fall in the proverbial content forest without making a sound.

I’ve got to say, I was pleasantly surprised that the former proved true, for a change. Turns out most of us actually care about our professional reputation and are acutely aware of the negative ramifications these so-called “recruiters” constantly create for all of us when it comes to the perceptions of our candidates, colleagues and clients. Which begs the question:

Where do we go from here?

Elevating Recruiting: Time To Put Up or Shut Up.

1212690441-largeMy friend Brenden Wright commented on the previous post with a fairly insightful, inspired question (I know, that’s rare for recruiters) that wasn’t the normal general “hey, totally agree!” kind of platitude that’s normally what passes for positive feedback on posts. He actually took the conversation a step further – and I’m glad he did. Here’s what he had to say:

“So now that we’ve ranted (feels good, right?), how does this group – all of whom I consider experts and look up to – change the course of things? How do we build up our profession instead of standing back, throwing rocks, and saying things like “back in my day, I’d take you young whipper-snappers behind the wood shed?” “You don’t deserve to carry my shoulder pads, son!” Feels good to say, but what does it change? We should be a force for good in the world and our profession. Just a thought.”

Talk about being right on the money – dude not only gets it, but he got me thinking. I write about recruiting because they say to write what you know, and there’s nothing I know better than the thing that provides me with both my profession and my purpose: improving people’s lives by improving their livelihoods. I’m no Pollyanna, either – I know what we do makes a real difference for real people, and to me, that’s as noble as callings come.

I’ve had many conversations with Brenden, and know that he feels the same way – which is why his point on this post didn’t surprise me, and, like usual, he was right. We spend a lot of time complaining about our industry or ranting about what’s broken with recruiting – the subject of an entire canon of content marketing and the first couple slides on every recruiting technology vendor’s sales deck.

So, since there’s a consensus among pretty much everyone out there that what we’re doing is broken, it’s time to advance the conversation and figure out what the hell, exactly, we’re going to do about it.

Getting With the Program: The Certainty of Certification

1334470701567_1571414Ben Gotkin, another industry influencer who’s passionate about the profession, also weighed in with a comment that really got me thinking more seriously about the complete lack of standards, barriers of entry or operational consistency inherent to the industry. Ben puts it quite eloquently, in fact:

“The problem here is that our profession has no academic discipline and no well-defined standards. Anybody can be a recruiter and in a vacuum of enough educational opportunities, anyone can claim they are an expert and worthy to train others.”

Boom. Ben has identified a critical challenge that’s been written and discussed ad nauseum within the recruiting community – the fact that no one goes to college to become a recruiter. The fact that we all kind of ended up here existentially, and that we’re the default destination for liberal arts grads with nowhere else to go has even become something of an inside joke in our industry. Go to any trade show or recruiting event and ask the practitioners there how they ended up in recruiting. The stories are as infinite as the paths into the profession.

I know that there are a handful of postsecondary courses out there focused on general talent management topics, discussing the general methodology and mechanics involved in recruitment, which is a good start. Some of them even touch on ethics, which is even better – and necessary when discussing the implications of matching candidates with career opportunities.

But most of the training that goes on – and it’s sparse, to be sure – we take upon ourselves, finding new recruiters and training them in-house, which most of the time consists of maybe some sort of handbook or hands-on training. So, while we rant on this topic a lot, the fact is, we’re failing ourselves by deprioritizing skills training and professional development in lieu of productivity and placements. This short term focus might pay off for just-in-time hiring, but is a piss poor way to pipeline a profession.

Hell, just last Friday at the #TruNY event held at the Kaplan Education headquarters in New York City, Matt Charney was leading a track on “talent ecosystems” (whatever the hell that means) and started off with what should be a simple question to answer: “What is a recruiter?” I sat off to the side and waited for the plethora of possible responses to be posited. But I was shocked that no one had any definitive answer, or even good idea, on even the most basic definition related to this profession.

The silence was deafening once Matt started drilling down, and spoke volumes to me that the combination of veteran and rookie recruiters present couldn’t come up with an answer.

How can we call ourselves a profession if we can’t even define what we do?

My question, and one I’d like to pose to anyone reading this post, is pretty straightforward. Why do we not have a governing body that’s responsible for professional accreditation and certification?

What’s keeping us from setting up some sort of standard body of knowledge and pathway into the profession? Is it fear? Apathy? Ignorance? Whatever the reason, it’s asinine, silly and pretty stupid, really.

Moving Recruiting Forward: The Future of Our Future

quit_your_bitchingThink about it. You’ve got to get a license to drive a car, sell a house, practice law, teach SCUBA diving or even get a permit to go fishing. Seems there’s not a lot you can do without a license, but recruiting remains on that short list of stuff that requires nothing more than simply deciding you’re a recruiter.

The closest equivalent in our industry is the PHR or SPHR certification offered by HRCI (or whatever the hell the new SHRM equivalent is), but these make talent acquisition take a backseat to general HR (the boring stuff like comp or ER), and really position recruiting almost as an after thought.

I recall an interview a few years back when I was asked if I had an SPHR – which was confusing, considering it was for a recruiting gig. When I asked why, exactly, that was relevant, they explained that they wanted someone who had some kind of certification or accreditation and that was the closest thing they could find for recruiting.

I laughed and explained that an SPHR qualifies you to be a recruiter about as much as having one of those BS LinkedIn certified recruiter certificates they give out, which was not the answer, it seems, they were looking for. I didn’t get the job – I’m sure it went to some HR lady who is pretty up to date on worker classification types and employment law, but probably has no idea how to build a Boolean string or conduct an effective prescreen. It’s not that I’m bitter, it’s that I’m bemused.

I did some digging into other certifications. I looked at AIRS, but their programs are pretty general and more focused on sourcing than bigger picture professional competencies or even ethics. Plus, let’s face it, they’re owned by ADP now, and if you’ve ever used VirtualEdge, you know this is not exactly a company that has contemporary recruiting as a core competency.

And, of course, there’s the litany of trainers that have their own programs and classes, but these differ drastically in quality and content, an inevitability in an industry lacking any modicum of standards. Sadly, there is no one certification to rule them all, resulting in a conspicuous absence of consistent approaches, professional behaviors and associated values.

I spent last week talking to some of those industry influencers who actually, you know, influence the profession, and for the first time, I’m pretty optimistic that we’re capable of creating this governing body ourselves – or at least, a feasible plan of action that’s able to elevate our profession and define recruiting standards. This wouldn’t replace or eliminate the need for the litany of training programs already out there – instead, it’d augment and inform their content and desired outcomes.

You still get to go to events and conferences and talk shop with some of the smartest people in the business. You still get to listen and learn from the people getting it right and take away ideas from the companies putting best practices into action. Sharing what works with each other is a vital part of our industry, and the informal dialogue that takes place online and offline shouldn’t be tossed out, because there’s infinite value in information sharing and supporting professional peers.

Adding Method to the Madness

I-always-have-a-method-to-my-madnessInstead, we need to do what most other professions have long since adopted, which is a non-profit industry association dedicated to developing standards and practices governing recruiting, establishing a baseline for the profession and those practitioners who have chosen this avocation.

Something we could all agree to uphold and police as peers – something to make sure every one of us is operating under the same rules of engagement (and ethical standards).

Think of it kind of like a CPA in accounting. Now, not every accountant is a CPA, nor does everyone in accounting have a formal background or degree in this field. But those who do pursue the CPA designation do so to show that they have met a certain standard of training and have accepted the associated responsibilities and accountabilities set by the AICPA as basic requirements for the accounting profession. It’s not easy getting licensed, but it’s a commitment to professional excellence, integrity and continuous education – not to mention, something that can be revoked when industry standards are violated, which is a pretty powerful motivation for abiding by best practices.

Some of the more generic certifications, obviously, can get you more money or higher margins when pitching potential clients or interviewing with prospective employers. As a rule, people with certifications, even BS ones like AIRS, get paid more than those without them – and since recruiters like money, as a general rule, this should be a sufficient motivation for at least starting to think about approaching this venture and establishing a professional body.

Here’s what I’m thinking this new association might look like:

  • Training Courses Don’t Disappear. Existing programs like AIRS, TSI, SPHR, CDR and the like would remain the same, and possibly, count as credits towards the actual certification process in the specific areas they’re designed to address.
  • Setting Up Standards: The most important role of this body would be establishing a code of moral and ethical standards that recruiters applying for certification would need to abide by, like a Hippocratic oath for hiring. This would be reinforced by having a mechanism to report potential violations as well as mechanisms for auditing members to ensure compliance – and recognize those going above and beyond the basic ethical expectations.
  • Standard Operating Procedures: The body would create a set of general guidelines outlining acceptable practices, defining responsibilities and outcomes, and creating specific coursework and certification around both candidate experience and client service.
  • Codify Best Practices: Define what the best practices really are in our industry, how those should be measured and what candidates, hiring managers and employers should expect anyone with this accreditation to know and operationalize. These would be published as part of the public record to create accountability and transparency.
  • Create Consequences: For the first time, recruiters would be held responsible for their actions by outlining consequences associated with violating the code of conduct, including license revocation or refusal to renew if direct evidence or verified violations exist.

I know that these are fairly basic, broad strokes that should be pretty obvious, but I think these basics are things that we should all be able to agree on before augmenting out with other topics and information. Even the biggest ideas have to start small, right? The end goal, though, is that if someone says, “I’m a professional recruiter,” there’s finally some meaning behind that statement, and an actual litmus test for what being a recruiter really means.

Come Together, Right Now: A Recruiting Call to Action

540_293_resize_20130701_623e979db8ce11f22a0386c4b99976a2_jpgIn addition to elevating our profession, such a group could also be the lobbying force the recruitment industry definitely needs, because the issues that matter most to us barely register as a blip on SHRM’s legislative radar – in fact, the largest lobbying body in the industry tends to champion additional compliance and regulations, because added complexity and layers ostensibly help elevate the relative importance of the HR function.

But some of these efforts, like OFCCP, aversely impact recruiters, setting up unnecessary regulations and hiring barriers that serve as constraints for both clients and candidates, and, in the age of online recruiting, are both unnecessary and easy enough to circumnavigate to render them more or less ineffective.

While repealing or redefining the complex set of rules and regulations governing hiring would probably be impossible, at least recruiters would finally have a voice – and advance notice – before we’re forced to implement and abide by these rules every day on every search.

The landscape of employment law is constantly changing, and most of those currently being considered are going to restrict recruiters even more than they already are. This sucks, but if we don’t govern ourselves, you should be damn well certain someone else will.

If recruiters don’t have anyone advocating on their behalf, if we can’t present a set of standards that show that we’re more than sleazy salesmen or paper pushers, than we can finally become more than an afterthought. We have the most important function in business, if talent truly is “our greatest asset” (and that’s one cliche that’s actually true), than a great recruiting functino is the greatest asset any company can have, not as the liability we’re too often perceived to be.

So, that’s my call to action. And I really hope some of you are ready to answer it. If you’re not, I’d love to know why, because this is pretty much a no-brainer. Now, normally I invite light hearted ribbing, dissention and trolling, but in this case, I’m looking for honest feedback and anyone who’s interested in helping those of us already committed to this crucial cause.

Please, share this with your networks and share your thoughts, because the time to start this change is finally here, and there’s no better time to stop talking and start doing than right now. Because we’ve been waiting long enough.

Derek ZellerAbout the Author: Derek Zeller draws from over 16 years in the recruiting industry. The last 11 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing within the cleared Intel space under OFCCP compliancy. Currently, he is a Senior Sourcing Recruiter at Microsoft via Search Wizards.

He has experience with both third party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines and technologies. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, military and college recruiting strategies.

You can read his thoughts on or or his own site  Derek currently lives in the DC area.

  • maureensharib


    This is a really well thought out and put together article.

    I’ve always considered the most valuable financial asset someone owns is their resume.

    Recruiting (and sourcing) deals with peoples lives and job changes are financial transactions.

    There are many in our industry who decry what you call for.

    I think what you say that someone is going to do it for us is an absolute so we’d be smart to get in front of this.

    Once again, thanks for the deep thinking on the subject!

    @MaureenSharib <- Follow me on Twitter!
    Phone Sourcer
    513 646 7306

    • derdiver

      Thanks for the kind words Maureen!

  • Jim Durbin

    I think it’s a terrible idea, and I don’t see how it ever works. Here are some reasons why.

    1) Certifications hardly ever matter. I can think of only a few that mattered in the tech world, where it’s a lot easier to measure competency. CCNA, CCNE, and MCSE (which was really only good to establish that you wanted to move up). I’ve never seen a developer certification that meant anything. Tech is an easy certification, because there are right and wrong answers. If tech couldn’t come up with certifications that the elite cared about, how could recruiting? I’d fire a recruiter who told me a candidate was qualified because they had a certification. And you would too.

    2) There are many different kinds of recruiting. In-house is not the same as third party. Retained is different than contingent is different than contract staffing. Light industrial is different than physician recruiting. Creating certifications that have any value would require either incredible specificity, or would be so broad as to be almost useless. 10 years of placing people at Labor Ready in California is not transferrable to hiring OB-GYN”s in Arkansas. While some people can make the transition, the certification has nothing to do with it.

    3) Clients and Employers don’t care: The only value to an employer is marketing. The only value to a a client is risk management. Horrible recruiters can place a lot of people, while fully certified, decent, awesome people can fail time and again. That’s because our skills and knowledge are not the product. The candidate is the product. The hiring company is the product. How can you judge the go-between without evaluating the candidate the company? What happens when you get Enron hiring Bernie Madoff? It’s the recruiter that’s at fault?

    4) Certifications lead to government interference: When you start planning certifications, you’re creating rules and legal risk. You’re setting a standard that becomes very useful in a court of law. Once you’ve established that standard, it doesn’t take long before some lawmaker decides to make it their pet cause. At that point, you’ve no longer in control of certifications. You’re a lobbyist fighting to prevent bad ideas from ruining your profession. Ask CPA’s who suddenly have to take new tests before preparing tax returns that have nothing to do with the tax returns they prepare. And you’re still stuck blaming the recruiter for something they don’t have control of.

    5) Who watches the watchers? Unless you plan to find angels who can run the board, you’re not going to get objective and unbiased judgements. Boards will hire big company executives who will seek to influence the industry to their own benefit. Crossing a board member’s company will now also have its own set of problems. If I hire Apple’s designers, how long before Apple finds a way to revoke my certification for being unethical? How long before activists target a company and try to wring concessions that include changing the way recruiters are supposed to hire? How long before the certification board begins to look at their value as the number of certified, dues paying members instead of a set of ethics and processes?

    I get it. The world isn’t perfect, and at least you’re trying something. Certifications give the appearance of some kind of order, and might be enough to drive the lowest of the low away, assuming companies actually took this advice after a massive PR blitz. I just think you’re missing the salient feature of recruiting. It’s not about us.

    What you propose is that recruiters come up with some standard that they can use to bolster our reputation to companies and candidates. You’re forgetting that it is those companies and candidates who cause the problems they complain about. Companies that don’t have recruiters have the same problems, but it’s managers and owners who get the complaints. Candidates who don’t come into contact with third party recruiters have the same complaints. The complaints aren’t about recruiters. They’re about hiring. And there is no certification that could possibly replace the convenient target we make of ourselves by getting in the middle.

    • derdiver

      Interesting points Jim. I disagree with most of them as I know people and companies do care. Thanks for your input though.

      • Jim Durbin

        If they can go after Yoga Instructors, they can go after anyone….

        • derdiver

          They are going after us Jim. It is called OFCCP and when not if these regulations are released on to the private sector it will change recruiting and how you recruit forever. My point is if we had a body to help unite us it would give us better credibility and a force for lobbying. Unions do it and are quite good at it.

          • Jim Durbin

            I don’t disagree, but there are places like NAPS and ASA that try to help with that. And if they’re coming after us, there’s not much we can do to stop them.

            Big firms will sell out the small ones and independent practitioners in an instant.

            I’d prefer building a lot of weight, finding third party firm CEO’s who are willing to fight for the industry and going at it that way. But that’s a political fight, which is a different beast altogether, and has a lot of risk for the CEO’s.

            I even have powerpoints on how to fight that battle. It would start with taking over the ASA and related organizations, not creating a new one that picks on individuals.

          • derdiver

            Awesome Jim lets talk more offline from here. We can do a google hangout to get some others on the talk.

  • Derek – Great points here. How can we build training and development for our profession when we have no minimum standards? How can we build standards without data and academic research?

    A lot of the training that’s out there is very beneficial. The training I deliver is built upon best practices and proven methods. It’s based on anecdotal experiences that have been successful in a variety of situations and organizations. Some things, like teaching somebody how to build a boolean string, don’t need a standard. Either the string works well or it doesn’t. There isn’t just one way to build a recruiting strategy or to be a talent advisor or to interview somebody, but there are core fundamentals that could and should be formally defined. There’s no common way to measure our success as a profession. This make inter-organizational benchmarking difficult as very often the measurements being benchmarks could be built on different criteria or formulas. How can we demonstrate our effectiveness individually, as a function within an organization or as a profession as a whole if we can’t measure what we do consistently?

    I agree with Jim that certifications are hardly worth more than the 3 or 4 letters that someone placex after their name on their resume, LI profile, etc. Certifications don’t ensure proficiency. They do demonstrate however that an attempt was made to learn a subject through some sort of coursework. Wouldn’t professionally established fundamentals and standards bring more consistency to what’s being taught out there? What we need overall is a more established, consistent and formal way to educate those who who want to enter and grow in this profession.

    What some of us have discussed (and what we’ll discuss over lunch tomorrow Derek) is that a non-profit, objective, representative body is the only type of organization that can legitimately establish (with the help of representative boards and academia) the core fundamentals and minimum standards so critically needed in our profession. A professional body, to Derek’s point, can also better represent our interests as SHRM has clearly proved that they have little to no interest in doing that for dedicated recruiters. Finally, it can help to broaden our sense of community, something which is already happening at a micro-level in regional pockets around the country. Those local communities have been operating primarily in silos however, maybe there’s an opportunity to pull those groups together into something bigger and broader. We’ve been wondering aimlessly as a profession for years without this, and Brendan is right, time to stop talking about it and time to start doing something about it.

    • derdiver

      Great as always man! I look forward to discussing this further at lunch as well!

  • apikoros18

    As always, a great read. I have thought about many of the issues you bring up and my answer was bottom up as opposed to top down. I don’t think there will ever be a consensus on what a Recruiter needs to be certified anymore then we will have consensus on what being a recruiter actually requires. My suggestion would be a union, as opposed to a certification. The union would have pre-requisites to joining, probably taken from some of the organizations you list above. For example, either AIRS or SPHR and a class the union gave. It would provide protection for the more junior people who begin in our field, those fresh faced liberal arts majors. I feel that the majority of burnout, and poor work habits and all the shady things that make us one step above pedophile but still below used car salesman, comes not from the recruiter, but from the agency side pressure. Produce, or your fired. Your kidney exploded? Too bad, if you’re not here Monday you are fired. We all know those firms. If we had a union where people could go and say, Company X owes me 40k in commission. Company Y has an abusive sales manager, etc. If the boutique (and national) agencies had a nice healthy fear of a union, tt would make agencies more careful of whom they hire. They would need to provide better (any) training. This would lead to better recruiters

    • derdiver

      I like where your head is at with this. Interesting points indeed.

    • Reagenwazright

      Interesting read. On one hand I totally agree. However, on the other (oh, there is no hand, it was eaten from my body after 20 years in staffing).

      Preach on sir….

  • Jo Weech

    I’m in. Sign me up. You are obviously good at what you do, because you have successfully recruited me to volunteer my time/talents to help you make this happen. #nowisthetime

  • billboorman

    Please god don’t go down the same route as the uk. We have 4 trade bodies and lots of qualifications. The real problem with qualification is that the whole process of a crediting standards takes so long that the exam can’t keep up with industry change. Don’t create more rule makers who turn out to be toothless tigers. I can share my experience of recruiting trade bodies and qualifications whenever you like. Y

    • Sadly I’m with you Bill on this one… recruitment is such a broad industry with varying compliance challenges in each sector, the differences between contingent workers and Permanent and the general apathy in the industry. Legal compliance will be the only way for the industry to change as self regulation doesn’t appear to be working.

    • derdiver

      Bill any conversation with you is valued. Lets set up a time soon sir. Next week is out for me but any other time would be great!

  • Candace Ferrell

    Derek-Excellent article. I couldn’t agree more. At this point I
    qualify a recruiter’s certification by their length of time in the
    industry, the types of positions that they have recruited for, and any
    extra steps that they have taken to show passion in what they do, blogs
    such as yours, etc. Sometimes however, the nature of a top notch
    recruiter just can’t be acquired by a class, book or an exam. The true
    talent lies within the individuals that thrive on not only money but the
    smile that they have after they feel like they truly helped a candidate
    land a great opportunity. These individuals are true recruiters. The
    kind that are in it for others as well as for themselves. Those are
    your “Unstoppable Recruiters”.

    • derdiver

      Thanks Candace. I sent you an email as well so let me know!

  • When I started back into recruiting 3 years ago I was very interested in the idea of a certification, mainly because I had been out of recruiting for 9 years and I thought that would get me back up to speed and give me credibility. I found what you’re talking about; the certifications didn’t seem to fit or be worthwhile. I also found that some certifications seem extremely expensive.
    When you do set this up, which I hope you do, I ask you to think about various levels of entry (investment) into your organization, for example, maybe you could be a Member and just be learning, and that would be a certain lower subscription fee (maybe about $150/year?) and then there would be levels of training and certification that would obviously require a little bigger investment. (SHRM has changed but their model is pretty good.) I know it may be early days to talk about numbers, but I think it’s important that you set something up that is accessible to Independent as well as Agency and Corporate recruiters.
    It probably makes me seem like a skinflint, but when I hear someone wants to start an organization and certify me, I just see this: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    I’d like to go for a certification if it was truly worth the investment of time and money. Keep going on the idea–I’m interested!!!

  • Generally a good idea, but there need to be exceptions. Stephen Hawking never got his PhD, nor did Saul Kripke. They didn’t need to. A friend of mine who successfully summitted Mt. Everest 14 times refused to take a test for certification as a mountaineering guide, even though he is clearly one of the very best on the planet. I’m not taking no tests for nobody, none neither. Not any.

    • derdiver

      Nicholas did you read the whole post? You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. However I have over 5k dives with SCUBA and would not be allowed to teach someone nor would I. Just saying….

      • Interesting. Yes I read it. I’m surprised to hear about anyone with 5K dives who isn’t certified to teach, which is pretty unique in my experience. I’m also surprised to learn that you wouldn’t feel comfortable teaching someone scuba. It takes all kinds, I’m sure. I have 200 dives, and I wouldn’t position myself to teach a new student, but I could probably help someone learn. On the other hand, I have my “rescue diver” certification, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have to be called on to perform a rescue, regardless of whether or not I have a certification that says I’m qualified to do so.

        My thought is that there could be some sort of certification process installed for new recruiters, which might start out as something which at first just a few firms do, and then perhaps it could spread, based on the success of the program. However, I find that the only way to determine if someone is going to be able to earn a living as a recruiter is “sink or swim”. Lessons are just not enough… some people could never overcome “phone fear”… some just couldn’t cut the mustard. So, it might be somewhat superfluous to certify the people who will end up failing, anyway, and then why would the ones who succeed need to be certified?

        It’s a different profession than medicine or law… those things can be taught, whereas recruiting is almost an unteachable art only a small percentage of people can ever get really good at.

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  • I’m torn on this one. On one hand I see how certifications or uniform body of knowledge would benefit our industry. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of certifications because they’re not the be all end all to someone’s knowledge or experience.

    I think there’s an underlying devaluation of recruitment. Plain and simple. Until it is a perceived value by clients and hiring managers our industry will continue to have bad eggs. Hiring managers, and clients that get this, or understand you get what you pay for, will go with with a top notch recruiter, pay them accordingly, and all will be well in their world.

    There’s no question, something needs to be done. I see too many horror stories, and our peers are writing blogs about how bad recruiters suck. I’ve been in that latter camp! Just not sure certs are the way to go.

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  • Amanda Thompson

    This was a great read- even though it was a lengthy article- it kept me engaged throughout. Although you reference SHRM as not having this on their radar, I do see an opportunity here. The Staffing Management Association is a SIG of SHRM, as far as the call to action of setting up an organization to lead this cause, I see it as an opportunity to start a conversation with them first. I am a chair of our local SMA chapter here in Cleveland, Ohio. I know I am a little late responding on this post- however, I fell onto this article while searching for credible speakers for an upcoming program SMA will host in January – on Recruiting Certifications. After reading this article, I almost feel like changing our program all together. I would be very interested in connecting with you further Derek.

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  • Rammohan

    Excellent article. I totally agree with everything you have written here. I have been recruiting for 15 years now and nothing seems to have changed. Even the hiring managers who hire recruiters do not have any idea of what to look for. I have interviewed at Facebook, Google and have worked at Nike and Genentech.

    • Dean Marano

      So lets hear from the Client side. I have been a CIO for over 20 years. I was the CIO for companies like Nokia, Panasonic, and others. I have been searching for a new opportunity for over 1.5 years. I can say without any hesitation that REAL recruiters do not exist anymore. All you get is to send in a resume (the black hole), and no response. If I spend a couple of hours finding a recruiter name and number the response is always the same – I am swamped or I am on my way to a Client meeting – what Client. Then you are told I will call you right after my meeting – do you ever get a call back – NO – it’s really sad what has happened to the Recruiting industry. It’s funny and sad in a way, my wife told me I should open my own Recruiting company to show the pretenders that this is hard work and dedication. I guess that’s why they do not care, and I will start my own company.

      • derdiver

        Good on you sir and if you need help on how to move forward I am here to help; I know a few people in our industry. 🙂

        • Dean Marano

          Thank you very much. I can use help getting HR contacts. I know what to do from there – or I think so. LOL It helps a great deal being on the Client side, and what I expected from a Recruiter.

  • Bridget Reyes

    I have been recruiting for 22 years and I also find it incredible that there has never been an organization that has established a common set of education and/or training standards, values or ethics for the recruiting profession. There are multiple components involved in recruiting, and just as many opinions on how recruiting should be conducted. I honestly believe that maybe the reason that the recruiters who attended the event at the #TruNY event could not answer the question of “What is a Recruiter?” is because as Recruiters we are all know that there really isn’t one response that will encompass all of what a Recruiter does or the value that we bring to a company. However I think that the most important function that a Recruiter serves is to identify, recruit and hire the very best possible talent for a company. I believe that companies are only as successful as the people that comprise the company. As Recruiters, we who have the ability to bring the very best talent to a company which will ultimately impact the company’s success. I recently became aware of an organization whose goal is to establish exactly the type of standards that you addressed in your article and I recently shared it on my linked in profile. If you are truly interested in helping to elevate the recruiting profession and contribute to the development and implementation of a common standards and qualifications to become a certified recruiting professional, then this would a great organization to become involved with.

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