Just about anybody can call themselves a recruiter. There’s no specific academic pathway that teaches recruiting as a profession in college and limited standards. Most recruiters and sourcers have had to learn the necessary skills on their own. Empathize much? 

If you’re a company trying to hire a high-quality recruiter, you want someone experienced and knowledgeable. If you are a recruiter, you want a way to demonstrate that expertise to separate yourself from others. And you might think that certifications are the way to do this. 

However, most of what’s available is more in line with training for human relations teams. HR certification may touch on recruiting, but it’s not going to provide the depth of knowledge to master recruiting. There are plenty of training courses online, but the quality can vary significantly. 

Unlike other industries, such as a CPA for accountants, there’s no formalized standard for earning a certification or even an industry association that is accepted by the industry as a whole and sets standards for certifications. 

So, Are Certifications Worth It? 


If you can get the training and coaching you need to be a better recruiter, then they are worth the investment. If they can help you learn new skills and strategies to improve the way you perform, then definitely. 

For example, the online learning center from Jobvite Academy provides a more structured approach to developing recruiting skills and core competencies for recruiters. It goes beyond talent acquisition and TA certification. There are also training courses and modules from AIRS by ADP, LinkedIn, Coursera and online certificate programs from some Universities. 

The right skills and training can help you better serve your customers, whether that’s your employer or a company that contracts with you, and that’s the most important thing. 

Saying you are a certified recruiting specialist can help you stand out from others. That may get you in the door with a company, but it’s what you do after you land the job that will determine your success. Just as a college degree is beneficial to separate a job candidate from someone without one, it doesn’t guarantee success. It’s what you do with the training and education that makes the difference. 

Can You Be a Successful Recruiter Without Certification? 

You can. Much of the skills needed to work effectively as a recruiter or sourcer can be learned from experience, especially if you have the right mentor or team to teach and coach. 

It may be a little tougher for someone looking for that first job without certification, but most companies would value someone with a track record of sourcing, recruiting and landing top-caliber candidates over someone with a pedigree that doesn’t have such a history. 

The Best Recruiters Are Lifelong Learners 

As the job market changes, it’s important to stay on top of evolving trends and stay up-to-date on best practices. Fortunately, that’s what we do. 

Regardless of whether you seek certifications, the best recruiters and sourcers are inquisitive and lifelong learners — always looking for ways to polish their skills and gain an edge when it comes to attracting, nurturing and closing top performers. 

Paul Dughi

Paul Dughi has held executive management positions in the media industry for the past 30 years. He earned his master of business administration degree while working full-time as President of a multistation television group and is the author of two books on marketing and management. 


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