Changing the perception of talent acquisition… It starts with our Behaviors

ATAP global blog 2 8 18

2 mins, 51 secs read time

I have been in the Talent Acquisition (TA) profession my entire career, over 23 years now. I take tremendous pride in our profession’s purpose and promise, so much so that I led the effort to establish The Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), a non-profit association with the primary mission of advancing the profession. Talent Acquisition Professionals build empires and change lives. Unfortunately, too often our profession gets a bad rap, a reputation driven by the actions and behaviors of those in our profession with the wrong motivation, or those who just don’t know any better. In order for our profession to advance, this needs to change.

The time for change is now.

There are a number of reasons why when you type “Recruiters are” into Google that what comes next isn’t very flattering. Lack of standards for education and measurement make it difficult for many in our profession to learn how to do their job the right way. Talent acquisition has lacked an advocate, one that can represent the profession with business and government leaders and the media. Our greatest challenge as a profession, however, is the lack of trust from those who work with us in our ability to treat them with the respect, professionalism, service, and support that they deserve.

We’ve had some bad actors that have contributed to this perception over the years for sure, those whose motivations may not be in the best interests of their clients and/or client organizations. A bigger problem? There is a lack of readily available quality education and guidance regarding what constitutes professional and ethical recruiter behavior.

Earlier this year at one our first Board Meetings, the ATAP Board of Directors agreed that the development of a set of Ethical Standards for the profession was an important first step for our Association and the role it will play defining, guiding and influencing the talent acquisition profession. A committee of ATAP members was formed to develop the draft of this ethical code, one that was reviewed by peers within the profession both online (through the ATAP Member-exclusive Facebook Group) and in-person (at the TAG Recruiting Society event in Atlanta).

The result is ATAP's Professional Code of Recruiting Integrity, built on a set of 5 core principles:

  • Professional Excellence
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Confidentiality
  • Transparency
  • Commitment to the Profession

It’s a common sense, straightforward guide of ethical principles that all ATAP members will be expected to abide by and model their behavior toward in their professional endeavors. We believe that role modeling good behavior is more constructive than trying to regulate unethical behavior, and that over time, this Code will become understood and appreciated as the baseline of ethical behavior for all TA professionals.

The opportunities to impact our great profession are boundless. ATAP understands the possibilities and is dedicated to working with its members to optimize our capabilities and our future. Greenhouse also understands the possibilities and supports our mission to enhance public perception of the TA profession, and we are proud to have them as a Platinum Sponsor of ATAP. The standard we developed for how we behave in support of our clients, hiring managers, and candidates is just the start of an ongoing effort to advance our profession.

Join our mission and support the future of the Talent Acquisition profession by becoming a member. To learn more and register, please visit