It is too easy to become a recruiter. I suppose that can be said for a variety of disciplines, but I would wonder how closely those positions affect the bottom line the way recruiting does. A company is powered by its people and the gas of that engine is recruiting. Staffing professionals know this, C-level executives are aware of the fact and likewise savvy investors who bet on the jockey rather than the horse they ride on. However, across many organizations the staffing department is grudgingly regarded as a resource of necessity that is wholly unappreciated. To make an unfair comparison, recruiters are often thought of like Firemen; well appreciated in times of fire, but forgotten otherwise. Sure, there are organizations that give lip service to the value of recruiting, but consider these questions. How often does the CEO of your company wander the cubicles of the staffing department to personally congratulate their contribution? When was the last time the staffing department was given kudos in a press release from upper management? When the stock goes up in your company, is staffing cited as a factor?
Recruiting overall suffers from bad publicity (or the lack of a significant amount of good publicity) reflected in the unspoken accolades from above and the occasional disdain from candidates. What do I mean? If a candidate is unemployed, unhappily employed or under-employed, then a call from a recruiter is a welcome God-send. Conversely, if the candidate is comfortable in their present role, such solicitations can be a nuisance. Furthermore, consider those recruiters who engage unqualified candidates and handle their candidates haphazardly. The end result is a negative impression of a certain company and a black eye on recruiting in general. It would seem that when recruiting (in any discipline) you have to contend not only with the requirements you are trying to fill, but also the biases of recruiting coming from all concerned. Fortunately, I have a strategy for turning this around.
Simply put, serving as a recruiter does not carry the prestige of being a doctor or lawyer; neither high school nor college students decide early on to become a recruiter. (How many graduate programs offer an intensive training in recruiting?) It has been my observation that people tend to “stumble” into recruiting and therein lies the issue. Returning to my initial statement, it is too easy to become a recruiter. While it takes a lot of effort to be a good recruiter and great experience to be seen as superlative, only a nominal effort is required to become an “official” recruiter. This is why I propose that the recruiting industry submit itself to a national standard that is regulated by an outside agency. Specifically, I would like to see the following:
That a license be required before one can recruit for any entity and that said license can be revoked if the licensee fails to maintain a minimum of continuing education credits.
That a national code of ethics is established and that an ethics review board be created as well. Said review board would operate to investigate major complaints and discrepancies jobseekers and organizations have lodged against a particular recruiter (and not necessarily a certain company.)
That an agency be created for the purpose of reviewing the practices, complaints and feedback of recruiters; after which, a ratings point will be given. Recruiters would then have the right to display their customer rating (akin to how restaurants display their health code ratings) and include these ratings within their sales collateral.
That a standard for resumes be established to include no more than four different formats. In this way, each recruiter and/or the company they represent may announce the style they prefer to receive from applicants.
That a reporting standard be established enabling job seekers to research the status of their candidacy in real-time.
That each recruiting entity post on their website a link to the national code of ethics they adhere to and information on how to lodge a complaint and/or testimonial.
Is this too much to ask for? Maybe not; perhaps we as recruiters will one day demand a new level of excellence and take it upon ourselves to regulate ourselves. When the labor shortage hits and companies are scrambling to secure top talent, management will appreciate our efforts to adhere to new principles and see staffing in a new light. And then there is the ultimate triumph of people aspiring from highschool to join the recruiting industry. Realizing the influence, prestige and distinction that come with being a trained and licensed recruiter, the average career span of a recruiter would more than double.
Jim Stroud, Licensed Recruiter
Certified since 1997
Professional review rating of 98.5%.
On second thought, naaahh! It will never happen.
Jim Stroud is a “Searchologist” with an expertise in the full life-cycle placement of Executive and Technical personnel, Recruitment Research and Competitive Intelligence. He has consulted for such companies as Google, Siemens, MCI and a host of start-up companies. He presently serves Microsoft as a Technical Sourcing Consultant.