I Love It, But LinkedIn’s New Recruiter Certification Is Probably Worthless

At LinkedIn’s (LI’s) annual Talent Connect Conference in Las Vegas last week, they announced the addition of a certification program for recruiters.

I love the idea!

Much like SHRM has their PHR and SPHR certifications, no real recruiting certification has taken hold. A number of organizations have tried, the most successful probably being American Staffing Association’s Certified Staffing Professional and AIRS Internet Recruiter certification (the CPC through NAPS for my Agency friends), but all seem woefully incomplete and none have really ever gained traction as “THE” certification to have if you’re a true recruiting professional.

That’s why LinkedIn’s announcement intrigued me. LI has the brand recognition and money to really own this space if they decide to.

Why the LI Recruiter Certification is probably worthless..

Unfortunately, I think the new LinkedIn Recruiter Certification is going to cause confusion in the corporate and agency recruiting ranks.

Here’s why it’s probably worthless:

  1. LI’s Recruiter Certification has very little to do with actual recruiting and everything to do with how well you know how to use LI’s Recruiter product.
  2. If you get “certified” from LI you get to add a “badge” saying you’re a “Certified LI Recruiter,” which is cool enough, but I think that title is easily used to give a false impression of what it really means. “Oh, you’re a ‘certified recruiter’ that is really impressive!” Instead, the reality is “Oh, you’re a ‘certified LI recruiter,” which means you know how to use one recruiting tool really well.
  3. LI is charging people to get “certified” on a product they are paying for. Does this seem odd to anyone? Anyone? Let me see if I get this right: I pay around $8K per seat annually, and you make me pay another $199 every two years to show you I know how to use the system I’m paying for? Yes … OK, I thought so. Can you now punch me in the face?
  4. Most of the content you get tested on to gain certification, from LI’s own certification program book, seems to be process oriented. Do you know how to post a job? Do you know how to search? Do you know how to effectively use InMail? Is this the kind of “certified” knowledge we need for the recruiting profession? Can you do the process of recruiting?

… but here’s why it will probably be really popular

Well, here’s why this is going to be wildly successful:LinkedIn_certification_program-430x241

  • LI gives you a certification badge. Recruiters are extremely hungry for validation. We see our HR brothers and sisters with PHR and SPHR, dammit, we want something at the end our name too!
  • LI knows that Talent Acquisition leaders will easily pay a “little” extra to ensure their people are using and understand their big spend (LI Recruiter).
  • People like being a part of a tribe. LI has a special invite-only group for LI Certified Recruiters. Want to make something popular? Make it exclusive!
  • Many HR leaders don’t “get” recruiting, so they will believe this is hugely important in teaching their recruiting team how to really recruit. It’s not, but no one really looks into the details for $199.

It does really open up a broader conversation about why no one has really been able to create a recruiter certification program that is widely respected and used. It might be that recruiting, like sales, is hard to train and even harder to come up with concrete components around what makes a recruiter really good at recruiting. There are so many opinions on that subject and ways to do the job effectively.

Will you be a better recruiter because of this?

Does being a “Certified LinkedIn Recruiter” make you a better recruiter? No.

But will it make people think you are? Yes.

Is it a scam? Well, it definitely seems a little “scam-ish.” I won’t say it’s a complete scam because they are very up front at what they are delivering for your money. Does LI really need the extra $199 per recruiter? Sure! Every company needs incremental revenue, and LI is no different.

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They aren’t a non-profit. God bless them for coming up with a great idea on getting another $199 per recruiter out of your organization.

Paying your vendor — for a second time

Here’s my question: Would you pay $199 to become ADP certified? What about Oracle? Halogen? SuccessFactors?

That’s what this is. It’s your HR vendor partner charging you to become a certified expert on their system.

This isn’t transferable. You can’t leave your company, who uses LI, and go to a new company who uses Monster and say, “Well, I’m a ‘Certified Recruiter.’

You’re not. You’re just certified on one system. And by the way, your two years is up, so please send another check.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


7 Comments on “I Love It, But LinkedIn’s New Recruiter Certification Is Probably Worthless

  1. Great article and the timing is perfect. Our office was just talking about this topic on how to “certify” recruiters. It would be fantastic to have something like a PMP cert. for recruiters. I actually called LI the other day to ask about recruiters promoting their “LI certification”. It feels a touch like double dipping asking customers to pay for a service you already paid for. LI is a great product but the badge seems a little self serving. Best line in the article “Can you now punch me in the face?” I totally agree with you.

  2. Right on Tim. And here’s something else to ponder, the one thing that all great recruiters have in common, never mind stupid badges, is their ability to communicate, to converse with all sides to make a deal.
    LinkedIn, the supposed master practitioners of the tools and art of recruiting, will not allow you to actually talk to them. You HAVE to email. It is so frustrating. We give them thousands of dollars every year and we cant get a dedicated tech support person to talk to. They are hypocrits.

  3. Great comments, appreciate your thoughts on LI recruiter certification. I agree with Colm “a great recruiter has the ability to communicate, to converse with all sides to make a deal”

  4. not just scam-ish, Full blown SCAM. LI is losing it. Their ground breakers have left the nest and are now out starting up other smarter strategies…Identified, Jibe, et.al.

  5. Couldn’t agree more with the article….well done!! I’ve been recruiting for over 20 years now and have yet to see a true certification program come out specifically to “certify recruiters” (like a PMP certification)….Recruiters should not be proud of the fact that they can use ONE recruiting tool really well….unfortunately, it doesn’t make them very versatile. Understanding how to develop strong long term relationships with both clients and candidates, getting referrals from existing relationships and maintaining excellent customer service is what needs to be measured to truly “certify” a recruiter. Just my opinion.

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