Are You a Certified Recruiter? Why not?

Let start one step back from Recruiter Certification.  I view recruiter certification as the culmination of a commitment to your profession as a recruiter.  So maybe we should start at the beginning.

Where does the commitment to the profession begin?  To me it is connecting with and getting connected to others that are working in the same profession as you, a recruiting industry trade association or group.  You are a member of RecruitingBlogs, that is a sign you get it!  There are many professions that are legitimized by a governing body or an association that ensures professionalism and standards.  I want my lawyer to pass the Bar Exam, I want my doctor to be a member of the appropriate medical association and I want my pilot to be a member of the trade association or governing body that pilots belong to.  I expect professionals to be connected to other professionals so that I don’t get bad medical advice or a pilot that doesn’t understand the dangers of wind shear.

So for me…

STEP 1.  Join a recruiting industry trade association or recruiter association like the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS) in the US.  There are other groups in Canada like ACCESS or in Australia like RCSA.  As a point of reference only, our organization so believe in this that we have joined NAPS and make NAPS membership available to our members for just $100 annually.  We are committed and walking the talk.

STEP 2.  Study the manuals necessary to become an expert on issues and legal requirements of performing to the highest and most ethical standards of your profession.  Look for a certification class and take it.  Finally once you are confident, take the recruiting association’s exam to become a certified recruiter. 

If you expect to be treated like a professional and want your clients to view you as committed to the profession, do these two things.  Join your industry’s trade association and get your professional certification.  It does cost much or require much time but it will set you apart from the crowd.

Views: 1706

Comment by Elise Reynolds on October 1, 2012 at 10:58am

In regards to being certified I have been an independant recruiter for gosh close to 20 years.  I was never certified nor did I ever really seriously think about being certified.  However, I might really behoove me to do this because sometimes it seems to me I miss a few steps.  I perhaps get complacent in my little home office space and isolated.   I was having a conversation with a recruiter last week who just came out of a big staffing house and wanted to go independant.  There were so many thing she asked me if I did:  do you have a website (no I don't), do you walk in your candidates to interviews (no), there were about 6 things I don't do that she does as a matter of routine.  Whereas I don't need to do everything the big staffing firms demand of their recruiters it would not hurt me to adopt more discipline.  Being part of a larger professional community might make me more aware of some of the changes that would be beneficial to adopt? 

Comment by Dave Nerz on October 1, 2012 at 11:21am

Joe, you are very right.  Sometimes certifications can be mistaken for knowledge and experience. A certification is no guarantee of experience.  My point is that if you are committed to a profession why wouldn't you want to demonstrate that in a way that others can verify.  I don't see it as proof to yourself, I see it as a commitment to the profession that is tangible to others. 

If you want to be treated as a professional, then do the things professionals do. 

Nice to hear that the gym would not hire you without the certification being current!  That is the way it should work.

Comment by Tony Crisci on October 1, 2012 at 2:41pm

I guess I look at it from a different perspective... Sometimes it seems that these "certification" organizations (SHRM, HCI... whoever) are businesses that are in it for the purpose of generating revenue for themselves and are a great way for the folks at the top of these organizations to make a big easy paycheck.  Sure some of them put on some great events, I guess if the event isn't going to be great, who will spend their money on them, right?... I hear what you are saying about having a certification shows that there is a commitment to the profession that is tangible to others, but does that make the 17 years that I have been doing this either not a commitment or my resume intangible to others?  Realistically, no...  Now if it were a law that required licensing or certification in order to practice recruiting (like practicing medicine), or if I believed that all companies overlook experience and ability because someone else has a certification, I'd be more than happy to get some certifications, but that isn't the case right now, as nobody has ever asked for my certifications.  They just want to make sure that they get the positions filled from someone that they like working with... My clients treat me like a trusted consultant, a professional and most of them over time treat me as a friend... I'm pretty confident regarding my knowledge of employment law, and stay abreast of changes as they occur.  When I have legal questions, I do my research and have friends who are lawyers and judges that I ask.  So to answer the question, "Why not?"... I guess I don't feel the need for it...

Comment by Dave Nerz on October 1, 2012 at 2:55pm

Good perspective...can't disagree with that!  If you don't feel the need, you have all the client relationships you need, and you are respected as a professional...everyone should be doing as well as you!

Comment by Brian K. Johnston on October 1, 2012 at 4:45pm

I am a certified Believer, Husband, and Father... Recruiting is about results, not certifications, but if that floats your boat, happy sailing....

Comment by Jamie Schwartz on October 1, 2012 at 5:45pm

I think it is important to clarify (and reiterate) the purpose and benefit of the Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) certification (primarily meant for the direct-hire placement, executive search practitioners) and the Certified Temporary-Staffing Specialist (CTS).  These certifications focus heavily on federal employment law and regulations - an area that should be important to those in our field, as well as to our clients.  The certifications are not designed to train/inform/certify the practitioner in areas like new business development, sourcing, recruiting, customer service or the myriad of other tasks an individual may be required to perform successfully in his/her job.


However, the certifications are designed to expose the individual to the body of material pertaining to employment law - particularly in the area of interviewing, pre-screening and hiring (the CTS goes deeper in the employment life-cycle due to the employer-employee relationship that exists between a temporary staffing firm and its hired candidate).  While an individual can certainly access and master this content through alternative methods, I believe that these certifications offer a very straight-forward route to gaining an understanding of the essential body of knowledge.  As a result, the practitioner can reduce exposure to litigation and liability for both him/herself, as well as for the client.

NAPS is such a believer in the importance of mastering this knowledge, that it did away with the minimum years-of-service requirement one must have to sit for the exam.  It also endorses securing the American Staffing Association's equivalent credentials as a viable alternative.  Finally, it has offered for several years now the opportunity to take both the CPC and/or the CTS free-of-charge (a $350+ value for each) FOR FREE to its annual conference attendees (an indication that its NOT about the money {although that helps further our cause}).  The thought is that everyone that enters the industry should surpass this minimum threshold.


Finally, the credential accomplishes another important thing - it signals to our clients that we take this area of our practice seriously.  While you can certainly master the content elsewhere and communicate that you have done so in writing (i.e. a bullet-point in a presentation) or verbally, the 3 letters at the end of your name may be the most efficient way to communicate that.  MD's, CPA's, JD's (along with the asterisked bar-admittance on letterhead), DDS' and many other professionals articulate a similar value-proposition via the same way, notwithstanding that the commitment required to secure these letters may be significantly more extensive.


So, those of you that don't have the certification, but have accomplished the same mastery through OJT, may in fact be equally competent in this area (and moreso in all other areas!).  But no one debates that understanding the legal do's and don'ts is unnecessary because there simply is no risk...these certifications are simply one means to an end.



Jamie Schwartz

Board Member and Credentialing Chair

National Association of Personnel Services

Comment by Bill Schultz on October 1, 2012 at 6:38pm
How do you get to be a certified husband?
Certifiable, sure... ;)
Comment by Brian K. Johnston on October 2, 2012 at 1:02pm

@Bill two words "Yes Dear".... :)

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on October 3, 2012 at 9:53am

I've been certified since the mid 1990's and never had anyone care. Not clients and not potential candidates and contacts.  Did it make a difference in my practice?  No.  Did it bring more money in?  No.  Have I met recruiters that are certified and I am ashamed that they are part of my industry?  Yes.  So what difference does it make?  It clearly doesn't make anyone a better recruiter, most companies (if not all) don't care and bottom line you are as good as you are regardless of the CPC cerification.


Comment by Dave Nerz on October 3, 2012 at 10:49am

There are obviously people experiencing a different reality on this issue.  That is too bad.  So, clients are telling you they don't care?  That is amazing to me.  I have never had that experience but if you have that is good to know that when offered the option clients just do not care.

Are these same clients not concerned about candidates educational degrees and certifications?  "I'm looking for a Masters Degree with 5 years of experience but heck if they say they know electrical engineering just send them on over."

Maybe I'm alone on this but it is not a NEGATIVE to be certified even if it is not a screaming STRONG positive. Much of this might be about presentation.  I don't know who this is but they obviously believe it matters to their target audience. 

Great have opened my mind to considering that it just doesn't matter.  I have considered it and found that you are right in established relationships, people will judge you on what you have done and how you have proved yourself capable.  I would ask you to consider new clients that have no idea of what you have done.  I think it would matter to them...if presented properly.  You can not change my mind on that.


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