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.

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Comment by Mark Phillips on March 27, 2013 at 2:15pm

Jaime, I was just trying to find it and can't.  From memory, there was something about member firms maintaining a commitment to principles of free trade and specifically mentioned the Chamber and (I believe) the Club for Growth.  

Comment by Dave Nerz on March 27, 2013 at 2:16pm

Mark it is letter "D" as a requirement of the NAF credential.

Comment by Mark Phillips on March 27, 2013 at 2:17pm

Here it is: d.

Commitment to the Free Enterprise System - the firm or an owner must be a member of an organization (such as a Chamber of Commerce or National Federation of Independent Businesses) which has among its purposes the advancement or protection of the free enterprise system.
Comment by Mark Phillips on March 27, 2013 at 2:17pm
Comment by Jamie Schwartz on March 27, 2013 at 2:20pm

I was unaware of this requirement.  I will definitely raise your concern to the "powers that be".  Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Comment by Mark Phillips on March 27, 2013 at 2:25pm

Thanks, Dave.  Looks like we were both googling away at the same time.  Jamie, I look forward to a response from them!

Comment by Tiffany Branch on March 28, 2013 at 10:30am

I think certifications are often overrated. You took a test, passed and now you are certified. It still doesn't mean you are good a what you do. There are many idiots running around with degrees. If you are a great recruiter, the proof is in the candidate and the satisfaction of your hiring manager / client.

Comment by Jamie Schwartz on March 28, 2013 at 10:51am


I think you're misinterpreting the purpose of the NAPS certifications.  The CPC and CTS are not measures of whether or not you're a good recruiter (although there definitely are individuals that perceive the credentials to be indicative of that).  Rather, the certifications were designed as a way for individuals in the recruiting field to better understand and apply the various applicable federal laws and regulations.  You may have missed my earlier post from several months ago, so I am re-posting it here:

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

Vice Chair

National Association of Personnel Services


Comment by Tiffany Branch on March 28, 2013 at 10:56am

@Jamie, thank you for the clarification about the certification.

Comment by Dave Nerz on March 28, 2013 at 1:03pm

Well said Jamie.  I was going to be much more basic.  Just because someone went to med school doesn't make them a good surgeon....but do you want someone without a medical credentials cutting you open...I don't.  Jamie's response is far more explanatory than my analogy.  


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