ATAP: Building Pride for [one of] the World’s Oldest Professions

Chris Hoyt and I are proud to be charter members of The Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP) and many of the talent acquisition leaders in our employer member community have joined as well. We hope many more will join in the coming months.

Recruiting has [arguably] its professional roots in the Roman Legion. Monetary incentives were offered for referrals from soldiers in what was once the world’s greatest army and, those who joined but weren’t Roman citizens could become citizens through their service. Even the Gauls, as vanquished foes, were offered an opportunity to join (although it’s not quite certain what a ‘no’ meant - my Latin is still a little rusty - something Caesar said about meeting the fishes ”…occurens apud piscis…”).

The image of the recruiting industry

Even before Rome, the means to find, engage and match individuals to labor has always been an essential component of societal success. There has been a dark side, however, to how recruiting and acquiring talent over the ages has been accomplished. A pub in Seattle that I recently enjoyed comes to mind. Apparently in the 1800s some poor souls, after imbibing too many adult beverages, would invariably wake up miles out to sea…giving an older meaning to the term “On-Boarding”. Most employers probably think we’ve long since put these practices behind us, but there are vestiges of many onerous recruiting tactics still in place globally. Anyone bothering to Google what candidates think of recruiters and recruiting might be persuaded that more work is still to be done.

The point in speaking lightly about the image of Recruiting as a profession is that so many of us have chosen it as a career…not just a job to be done and then head home. Our personal brand and the image of the recruiting industry is, in some small part, linked to who we are.

Our image as professionals in Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, etc. is important whether we are working as a College Career Counselor, a 3rd party recruiter or an internal sourcer. It shouldn't be at risk every time individuals who lack training, common sense, common courtesy or all three fail to adhere to basic standards that are expected by the stakeholders we touch every day.

The Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals is intent on changing that. We know that it will take several years to establish a community of professionals working to make the continuously changing body of knowledge visible and accessible to all, to establish a baseline of ethical behavior we all can adhere to with pride (and without suppressing innovation), to curate content that can be supported by evidence and to add value to the many networks of local recruiting societies and sister trade and niche recruiting associations whose values we share.

"Recruiter learning and development has been a deep passion of mine for many years, including my time leading recruitDC and as a member of organizations like CareerXroads. I invite you to join us as we strive to build a body of knowledge for the profession, off of which educational standards will be developed moving forward."
- Ben Gotkin, Executive Director of ATAP

While hundreds of ATAP members become thousands, we know that ATAP isn’t for everyone.  Participation in the association’s online committees can help define what a 21st-century recruiting professional association should be. We hope those who do find this prospect attractive, are willing to make the time to share their experience and knowledge to make a difference.

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Gerry Crispin
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Gerry co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and has written 100s of articles and whitepapers on similar topics during a career in Human Resources that spans more than 40 years from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the University where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm even as he launched CareerXroads 20 years ago.

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