degree in recruitingRecruiters have the most important role in the organization. And that is by no means an overstatement. The vast majority of CEOs we work with cite people as their top strategic initiative — putting the best people in the right roles. And, recruiters are responsible for making that happen.

According to LinkedIn profiles, there are more than a million recruiters in the U.S., representing an estimated $124.1 billion-dollar industry that continues to grow at a rate significantly faster than the overall economy. Despite the growth and strategic importance of this role, you can’t get a college degree in recruiting.

Sure, there are broad-based HR management programs which may offer a three-credit class that hits the high-level aspects of recruiting, though not one academic organization in the world has come up with a bachelor’s degree program to prepare students for this crucial role.

Think about that. You can receive degrees in Bagpiping, Auctioneering, Puppetry, and even Cannabis Cultivation from legitimate, respected colleges. Yet, there’s no college degree in recruiting — the job function responsible for facilitating an organization’s No. 1 strategic initiative.

Can you imagine putting a nurse on the floor without formal orientation or training? Yet, many organizations don’t think twice about putting a recruiter on the phone as the gatekeeper of talent for the organization.

There’s clearly a disconnect between academia and the needs of the real world when the highest level of education a person pursuing this role can aspire to is a certificate program. If recruiters are the backbone of an organization — the gatekeepers of talent — why is there not more academic momentum behind it? And, how are recruiters expected to be successful if they have no formal training?

When recruiters are asked how they learned to do their job, over the shoulder or on-the-job training is most commonly cited. They found a great mentor and developed into the role. Their educational background more often includes a college degree in business or psychology.

Sure, there is formal training on how to use applicant tracking systems and behavioral assessment tools, but no formal education on how to source, assess, and select the best person possible for a particular role; how to conduct an interview; how to conduct an intake to qualify a position; how to successfully move from requisition approval to orientation day.

What are the attributes of a successful recruiter? There is both a science and an art to it. Behavioral-based interviewing, negotiating, presentation, and analytics all comprise the science side of it. But hiring the right people for the right role also requires the art of effective communication, building rapport, persuading star performers to join your organization, and much more.

While certain behavioral competencies such as attitude, judgment, idea generation, and sales orientation are essential to be successful at recruiting, equally important are skills to be developed such as proactive sourcing, understanding the monetary and non-monetary motives, candidate assessment, technology, and interviewing skills.

All organizations want the best of the best, and the best candidates always have the greatest number of options. The recruiters’ job is to engage with those candidates and persuade them on the merits of your organization. When you put the right people in the right roles, your organization can flourish.

Wouldn’t you think this crucial role in the organization is worthy of a degree program?


Editorial Note: A version of this article originally appeared on ERE

To learn more about how to optimize your healthcare recruiting strategy, request registration information about the Recruiter Academy to discover how your organization can embark on a healthcare recruitment transformation journey.

request information

David Szary

About David Szary

David Szary is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Recruiting Services at HealthcareSource. He has more than 20 years of experience working with thought leaders from around the world to help organizations develop a Lean, customer-centric staffing process that delivers quality hires and helps recruitment teams develop an analytic framework required to migrate to a management by fact/data culture. In 1998, he founded Lean Human Capital and The Recruiter Academy, the leading educational program for recruiters, which has trained more than 10,000 healthcare talent management professionals and collected benchmarks against more than 800 healthcare organizations. Prior to founding Lean Human Capital, David was an executive at National TechTeam (now Stefanini) where during his tenure he helped grow revenues from $6MM to $130MM. David holds a degree in Business Administration from University of Michigan-Dearborn.

  • Victoria

    David, you posted a very good question. Going back to economic, supply and demand. If the CEO are not asking to hire recruiter with a college degree in Recruiting, colleges will not offer degree program for it. We on the ground level, would need to advocate for it with the C level.

    • Raegan Downing

      On the flip side Victoria, CEOs may not be asking for a degreed recruiter because there are no recruitment degrees. While I’ve found that hands-on experience has been critical to a recruiter’s success – I would love to see more than ‘one class’ on recruitment for HR degrees. There’s a lot that can be taught (and less strain on company’s internal resources) – I think the change needs to occur with the HR community connecting with college HR programs and discussing the need to expand the recruitment piece (and showing them how it would be structured).