It’s a conundrum. Talent acquisition is arguably the most important role in any company. So why is there no such thing as a recruiter or talent acquisition degree program? There might be a college here or there that has developed a targeted program. But if so, it’s not widely available.
ERE Media says that most of the CEOs they work with regard matching the right people with the right roles as their most important company initiative. And that’s what talent acquisition specialists do. You can earn a degree in almost any field that you want, so higher ed needs to step up to the plate.
A Human Resources degree is the closest that most people get to a recruitment education.
Talent Acquisition Makes or Breaks a Company’s Bottom Line
There are plenty of ways to look at what makes a company great. But its people are what drives all of it. Without the best and brightest talent, the whole operation suffers. And especially at a time when the job market favors candidates over employers, highly skilled recruiters become even more important than ever.
Recruiters are the “backbone of an organization — the gatekeepers of talent,” says ERE. They’re the ones who piece together the enormous puzzle of what makes a great candidate and then goes out and finds them. It’s an ever-changing job, too. Technology changes, and so does the mindset of every target market. It takes some pretty hefty skills to pull it all together. And recruiters do that without the benefit of a targeted education.
A Specialized Job Has a Generic Education Path
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, recruiters fall into the Human Resources category. The required education is “a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or a related field,” they explain. There’s no word about recruiters as a unique field, even though recruiters have a unique job.
You can get a degree in anything from bagpiping to puppetry, says ERE. “Yet, there’s no college degree program for recruiters, the group responsible for facilitating an organization’s No. 1 strategic initiative.” The academic world apparently hasn’t yet caught on to how important recruiters are, not just for human resources, but all the way up the chain to owners and even stockholders. And in many cases, recruiters work independently from HR as a separate department or even in a separate company altogether.
Recruiters Learn Real-World Skills On the Job
Forget about the ability to hit the ground running as a new recruiter. According to ERE, most of them learn on the job. Mentorships are common. And instead of the HR education angle that the Department of Labor cites, business or psychology degrees are more common among recruiters.
Formal training on specifics such as using an applicant tracking system does exist. But for the finer points of recruiting, such as sourcing, evaluating and ultimately matching the best candidate with the best role just isn’t available for most recruiters. “There is both a science and an art to it,” says ERE. And there are so many different skills and qualities that make a solid recruiter, it’s hard to imagine that there is no widespread, focused educational path for people who want to enter the field.
It’s almost ironic. On one side, you have the growing importance of education for almost every industry. In the middle, you have the recruiters who source those highly educated people to place in important company roles. And then on the other side, you see that higher education has largely failed recruiters. It’s also disappointing, and something that the recruiting industry, as well as higher education, should work toward.
Every business thrives or fails depending on the skills of its people. Because of that, recruiters bear a heavy responsibility. It’s time for higher education to offer a solution.
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