I Failed SHRM's New Talent Acquisition Credential03.18.2019
So, you guys know I wrote a book, right? A book on talent acquisition! I truly believe I actually know something about talent acquisition and recruiting! So, it came as a pretty big shock when I took SHRM’s new TA Specialty Credential and failed it! Well, kind of . . .
I’m the president of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), so I have a real interest in training and learning programs for talent acquisition. Also, because I’ve been in the TA space for a couple of decades, I wanted to take the TA credential cold. No studying. Don’t even look at the materials or what it involves. If I’m good, I should still be able to pass it, right?
Right away I knew I made a mistake. Part of it is just simple word usage. What I might call something, the instructional designers at SHRM call it something else. Another part of it is how the material is taught. What’s the most important of the following four . . . ? Well, I might believe something is more important based on my experience and situation, but if I actually studied the material and took the two-day course, I would know what was “the” most important based on how the material was put together.
All of that being said, I was really impressed with the questions!
Every single question (there’s 50 that you take for the test) was really legitimate, and the questions were designed around a really modern, up-to-date talent acquisition function. The questions spanned a broad area of TA from workforce planning, to recruitment marketing, to sourcing, to technology.
Now, you also have to put this into perspective. SHRM didn’t launch this believing a micro-certification was the answer to educating someone to take the credential course, pass the test, and then go run a Fortune 500 TA shop. The credential is meant to help educate an HR professional who is moving into TA, or works as the sole HR pro/leader of a company and has TA responsibility. So, you might only be doing TA as part of your role.
I’m actually teaching one of these SHRM TA credential courses in San Francisco May 13-14th. That was the main reason and desire for me to take the exam, I wanted to see what those going through the program would experience, and I can confidently say that if someone goes through and does the self-paced modules, does the two-day workshop, studies, and passes the exam, I would feel very comfortable that they have a working knowledge of how a modern-day TA department functions!
The reality is no one certification, credential, training course, etc. is going to make you an expert. You become an expert by doing many of these things and becoming a continual learner. What I love about SHRM Specialty TA Credential is that it exposes HR pros to a new world in a way that lets them know what’s important in talent acquisition, some baseline knowledge, and teaches them how to pursue each part further for expertise.
So, Who Should Take the SHRM TA Credential?
- HR pros who don’t have TA background, but want to expand their tools across HR
- HR pros/leaders who have TA as part of their function and they don’t feel comfortable in the modern world of recruiting
- Corporate TA pros/leaders who feel behind and want some freshening up of their skills
I think this is a great development opportunity for HR pros who are looking to develop themselves for future promotion. Having a talent acquisition skill set, with your HR skill set, is a differentiator when it comes to hiring HR leaders. Modern organizations are desperate for great TA, and for HR leaders who understand how to leverage the TA function to drive business success.
So, for all those who love to dump on SHRM for being dated or behind the times, Kudos SHRM! Your TA Specialty Credential is something that is really helpful to individuals and organizations looking to modernize their TA practices!
Tim Sackett is the president of HRU Technical Resources, a leading IT and engineering staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. Reprinted with permission from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).