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Defining a Profession – The Recruiting Opportunity of a Lifetime

Building bricks from our TA soul.

“Every man owes some of his time to the upbuilding of the profession to which he belongs” – President Theodore Roosevelt

President Roosevelt was a wise man, and one of my favorite U.S. Presidents. This quote, attributed to him, encapsulates what it means to be a part of a community and a profession.  We have the obligation to learn, and to teach and share.  We all benefit when we help each other, when we can raise all boats.

Clichés aside, my career wouldn’t be what it is today without the generosity of time and information that others have provided me.  My mentors, my leaders, my peers and my friends.  Those that took time and effort to share with me their expertise, their vision, their passion for their craft.  They didn’t have to do it, and I didn’t have to share in return…but I did…and have done so for most of my career.

This is how most of us in Talent Acquisition learn and grow.  Collaborative learning and sharing at in the office, at local meetings, national conferences, in peer colloquiums and in online forums help all those who desire to participate.  We learn, we gain expertise and experience, and then share in return.

In some cases, you pay for the opportunity to do this, in other cases, the opportunities come free, but whatever the cost, the value is priceless.

There’s only one problem however when this is primary way for those in a profession to learn and grow, and it comes down to a lack of consistency and confirmation.  We share what we observe as best practices and anecdotal evidence of success.  We may be able to gather and share data, but is the data reliable and can proper conclusions be drawn and validated?  For what it’s worth, it’s what our profession has had to work with and many have benefitted in very positive ways to this point.  But it’s not enough to elevate a profession and its standards of education, measurements and ethics.

A great opportunity is at our doorstep now to change that.  An opportunity for a profession to come together to define itself, to seek truth and to identify common ground for the benefit of all.  ATAP was designed to provide that opportunity, and it all starts with membership in a community with the sole purpose of advancing the profession.

Starting soon, the first body of knowledge topics for the Talent Acquisition profession will be identified and working committees will be formed to collect, analyze, validate and curate pieces of the body of knowledge that will in turn help for the first time define worldwide common educational, measurement and ethical standards…to define who and what we are…to further establish our value to our stakeholders and ourselves.

To optimize our ability to establish a comprehensive body of knowledge, we need representatives from all corners of the profession.  ATAP is inclusive and global, for all those who touch Talent Acquisition.  Together we will build and grow the profession that we love.  I encourage you to explore all of the membership opportunities that ATAP has to offer, individual, charter, corporate/group and sponsorship. Visit or send us an email at, and make sure that you don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to be on the front-end of the future of our great profession.


Ben Gotkin is the Executive Director of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals.  Ben draws from over 23 years of recruiting experience in a variety of tactical and strategic leadership roles at organizations including Recruiting Toolbox, Marriott International, RSM, The MITRE Corporation, Intelsat and BAE Systems. Ben was also the Founder and Past-President of the Washington, DC-based Recruiter Community, recruitDC.  Ben has 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 (HCI). He has been the author of several recruiting blogs, has written and been quoted in articles for numerous recruiting-focused websites and major national publications, and has been a featured speaker and panelist at the ERE Expo, Talent42, Recruiting Trends Conference, SRSC, SourceCon, Social Recruiting Summit and WTPF.  Ben is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

You can follow Ben on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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