Introducing ATAP: Driving the Future of the Talent Acquisition Profession

The talent acquisition profession is one that has grown and evolved over the years, mostly by necessity. It has happened without standard education, measurements, or ethics. It has happened without effective advocacy and representation. Numerous communities, many grassroots in nature, were established to help fill the void of educational and networking opportunities (and have done a great job by the way). Talent acquisition has often been called an “accidental” profession. Few have aspirations in school to become talent acquisition professionals, but when we find it, we fall in love with it as we understand quickly the incredible impact that we have on our employers/clients and on the people we recruit.

At the same time, we struggle to learn and grow due to a lack of a common body of knowledge, standards of measurement and ethics, and too often key legal and business decisions are made without our insight and input.

A New Day in Talent Acquisition

The talent acquisition profession for too long has lacked a single global organization focused on the issues and challenges that we face every day. Without a representative body, the profession has been unable to collectively elevate its status, value, and respect in the professional world, advocate on key legal and regulatory issues, and address the challenges caused by a lack of validated, accepted standards, education, and ethics. A case was emerging that to solve the fundamental struggles and challenges in our profession, and to advance our profession overall, only an independent, non-profit organization could objectively bring our profession together to address these issues head on.

Over the past couple of years, myself and others including Gerry Crispin,  Laurie RuettimannSteve Levy, and Derek Zeller have built the case for the establishment of a representative body for the talent acquisition profession. Conversations with a diverse group of recruiters, recruiting leaders, vendors, consultants, and others who care about the craft, the art, and the science of recruiting have built upon the case that a “professional association” is needed, one that could address a number of key issues, including (but not limited to):

  • The establishment of a common body of knowledge which would lead to greater access to a wider-range of education and learning opportunities;
  • The development of common standards of measurement that more effectively define success, and allow all organizations and individuals to benchmark activity and performance;
  • Advocacy and lobbying at the local, state, and national level on laws and regulations that directly impact how we do our work;
  • The ability to connect and provide value to existing local and specialty communities, along with providing a framework for the establishment of new local communities.

Last year a couple hundred gathered online in support of this concept, and for the last year a core group debated what a representative body for talent acquisition would look like. As a result of their great, thoughtful work, we are excited to announce that a new day for the profession is dawning, that the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals is preparing to launch.

ATAP will be formed as a 501(c)6 non-profit that will focus 100 percent on advancing the talent acquisition profession. It will be an inclusive, membership-driven organization that will be open to all those who have talent acquisition as a responsibility within their jobs, including corporate, agency, staffing firm, RPO, and product/solution vendor professionals. We will be fully transparent in our efforts to advance the profession, and will constantly seek the input and participation from the talent acquisition community.

How You Can Be a Part of the Future of our Profession

The first steps for ATAP will be to establish priorities and strategic direction, and to build the infrastructure that will help this organization achieve its goals. We will start with the selection of a board of directors that will help to make the critical decisions necessary to support and drive ATAP’s growth. We are seeking nominees from across the profession, specifically strategic, critical thinkers and leaders who have a passion for the profession, who preferably have prior recruiting community, non-profit, and/or startup experience, and who are willing to deeply commit to a one-to-two year term on the volunteer board.

We also have an opportunity for you today to indicate your interest in ATAP membership. Membership opportunities will exist at multiple levels, including individual charter and annual memberships, corporate membership packages, and sponsorship opportunities that will help fund building the infrastructure of the organization. Membership will enable you to support the growth of the organization to help it meet its goals, and provide you access to opportunities to shape the body of knowledge, establish standards, engage in continuous learning, and more.

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To learn more about ATAP, about board nominee qualifications, and to submit your nomination for the board of directors, and to indicate your interest in membership, please visit www.atapglobal.org. Please also help to spread the word with your peers and colleagues, and through social media with the hashtag #atapglobal (Twitter: ATAPGlobal).

ATAP will officially launch in early 2017 after the board has been selected and with the basic infrastructure in place. This is an exciting time for our profession, and we hope that you are excited too about the possibilities that ATAP will afford. Change and growth won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, and we hope that you will join us to once and for all establish the talent acquisition profession as everything it can and should be.

Ben Gotkin

Ben Gotkin draws from over 22 years of recruiting experience as a consultant and trainer with Recruiting Toolbox, and in tactical and strategic leadership roles at organizations including Marriott International, RSM, The MITRE Corporation, Intelsat, and BAE Systems. As a consultant and trainer with Recruiting Toolbox, he works with clients to build and deploy high ROI recruitment strategies and processes, train recruiters and hiring managers on effective sourcing, leadership, and interviewing and selection techniques, and bring a real-world, practitioner focus to make it all work well together: people + process + technology. 

He is the interim executive director of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals and the founder and past-president of recruitDC. He has also served on The Candidate Experience Awards Council, was a board member of WTPF (a Washington, DC-based HR organization), and was an expert advisor with the Human Capital Institute.