Preparing for a career in recruitment? Trying to make sense of recruitment certifications?
Recruiting and Human Resources professionals take surprisingly divergent routes. There really isn’t a recognized ‘right way’ to do it.
Some enter the profession from a business management background. Others transfer from sales or even sociology.
But if you’re starting out—as opposed to moving into recruiting mid-career—what’s the best way to get there?
PHR or SHRM
There are two organizations you need to know about; SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute).
HRCI used to be part of SHRM. In 2014, SHRM quit offering PHR certification. SHRM started offering its own certifications.
There isn’t a consensus in the HR industry on which certification is better. Ask a roomful of HR pros and you will spark a heated discussion. There are strong opinions in both camps. I’m not going to recommend one over the other. Suffice to say, if you want to be a professional recruiter, get either your PHR or SHRM. Note that you need a Bachelor’s Degree first. A Master’s is even better. Also, to be eligible to take the exams, you need some HR experience. The requirements vary depending on the certification.
HRCI offers the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and related certifications. HRCI has designed the PHR to ‘demonstrate your mastery of the technical and operational aspects of HR management, including U.S. laws and regulations.’
The topics covered and their respective weighting is as follows:
- Workforce planning and employment (25%)
- Employee and labor relations (20%)
- Compensation and benefits (19%)
- HR development (18%)
- Business management and strategy (11%)
- Risk management (8%)
HRCI offers several related credentials:
- aPHR Associate Professional in Human Resources
- PHRca Professional in Human Resources — California
- PHRi Professional in Human Resources International
- SPHR Senior Professional in Human Resources
- SPHRi Senior Professional in Human Resources International
- GPHR Global Professional in Human Resources
Let’s talk about the SHRM credentials.
- SHRM-CP Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional
- SHRM-SCP Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional
SHRM organizes eight behavioral competencies into three areas as follows:
- Leadership (Leadership & Navigation, Ethical Practice)
- Interpersonal (Relationship Management, Communication, Global and Cultural Effectiveness)
- Business (Business Acumen, Consultation, Critical Evaluation)
According to SHRM, their certifications are designed to measure practical application of HR knowledge with questions based on ‘on-the-job scenarios and realistic work situations.’
When you have your general HR certification, you can consider recruiting-specific training. There are many good options, depending on your career goals.
AIRS Alliance of Information and Referral Systems
- CIR Certified Internet Recruiter
- ACIR Advanced Certified Internet Recruiter
- CDR Certified Diversity and Inclusion Recruiter
- CSSR Certified Social Sourcing Recruiter
- PRC Professional Recruiter Certification
- CSMR Certified Social Media Recruiter
- CMVR Certified Military Veteran Recruiter
- ECRE Elite Certified Recruitment Expert
NAPS National Association of Personnel Services
- CPC Certified Personnel Consultant
- CTS Certified Temporary Staffing-Specialist
CPSP The People Sourcing Certification
- CPSP-1, CPSP-2 Certified People Sourcing Professional
The Sourcing Institute
- TSI Levels: Member, Specialist, Professional, Leadership, Leadership Only
Social Talent: Social Talent Internet Recruitment Certifications
Learn from their short 2-3 minute videos at your own pace.
- Social Talent Internet Recruitment Certifications: Orange Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt, Black Belt
What Are The Benefits of Recruiting Certifications?
Gaining more career knowledge is always good. When choosing which certification to pursue, identify your primary goal. Do you want to get a promotion at your current company? If the recruiting positions are in high demand, a certification can give you an edge. A certification is helpful if you want to transfer from general HR to a recruiting position. Or perhaps you simply want additional skills to perform your job better.
Another thing to consider is the type of recruiting position you are seeking. Each recruiting certification has a specific area of focus. Here are the most common recruiting positions:
- Talent Acquisition Manager
- External Recruiter
- Executive Recruiter
- Internal, Inhouse, or Corporate Recruiter
Emerging Careers in Recruitment
- Diversity Hiring
- Recruitment Analytics
- Candidate Experience Specialist
- Online Recruiting Specialist
Are you currently an HR generalist (or working in another field) and want to transfer to a recruiting position? Your experience may line up with one of the newest positions in the recruitment industry. For example, if you are currently working in digital marketing, you could apply your experience as an Online Recruiting Specialist. If you are a Data Analyst, you could move into a Recruitment Analytics position.
By Liz Strikwerda