Updating the SHRM Talent Acquisition Specialty Credential

Virtual recruiting and DE&I issues among drivers for redesign

By Ann Godmere October 20, 2022
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The SHRM Talent Acquisition Specialty Credential (TASC) was introduced in 2018 as a way for recruiting professionals to distinguish their expertise, update their skills, build credibility and contribute more effectively to their organizations. The TASC is one of several SHRM Specialty Credentials, which provide HR professionals with opportunities to demonstrate their specialized knowledge in a variety of complex, focused practice areas. 

The increasing significance of talent acquisition (TA) prompted SHRM to create the TASC, and the continued evolution of the field prompted SHRM to update the credential for 2022. The growth of virtual TA (especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) and recognition of the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in today's society were among several catalysts for undertaking a modernization of the credential. 

SHRM will continue to update the TASC on a regular basis to ensure that TA professionals have the most relevant and applicable knowledge to perform their roles to the best of their abilities. 

SHRM Specialty Credentials 

Each SHRM specialty credential (SC) takes a deep dive into an HR competency, function or area of study. Earning an SC requires the completion of content-specific courses and attainment of a successful score in an online knowledge assessment. Many SCs closely align with the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge (SHRM BASK), the foundational document and framework for SHRM certification. 

An SC does not expire or need to be recertified. The SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP credential (SHRM certification) needs to be recertified every three years. SHRM-certified professionals who earn an SC receive credits toward recertification for this additional achievement. 

The SHRM TASC and the SHRM BASK 

The TASC fundamentally relates to the SHRM BASK. Talent Acquisition is one of the 14 functional areas that comprise the document's technical competency, HR Expertise. Contemporary recruiting practice also involves several of the nine behavioral competencies described in the BASK, including Leadership & Navigation, Relationship Management, Global Mindset, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The TASC is designed for entry-level to senior HR and TA professionals, TA enterprise team members, HR accountables, executives, and people managers who work in any size organization or team, large or small—even a department of one. 

Two kinds of content-specific courses must be completed to earn the TASC: an instructor-led live program (taught in person or virtually) and eLearning modules. The online knowledge assessment gauges proficiency in this material. 

Redesign Considerations 

Updating the TASC involved a review and analysis of its content, required courses, knowledge assessment, and expiration or renewal processes.

Several key aspects surfaced as SHRM's reviewers and analysts undertook their efforts:

  • Determining what is new in the TA space.
  • Understanding the virtual realities produced by the worldwide pandemic.
  • Adhering to the competencies described in the SHRM BASK.
  • Incorporating an "audience-centric" strategy.
  • Streamlining the program components.
  • Ensuring accessibility.

Extensive research and interviews with subject matter experts yielded recurring themes: 

  • DE&I support for the TA team.
  • Virtual hiring and onboarding.
  • Improving recruiter skills.
  • Strategy and workforce planning for crises.
  • Digital transformation and automation.
  • Alumni and internal resourcing.
  • Organizational culture (e.g., well-being, trust, DE&I). 

What's New and Improved 

Careful review and analysis found the overall TA framework to be successful, and it was retained as the focus of the knowledge components. Content was updated to more accurately reflect today's TA landscape. 

The number of eLearning modules was reduced, and some of the topics that had been covered in the eliminated modules were moved to the instructor-led live program. Key aspects and recurring themes (see above) were added. The aesthetic of both kinds of courses was modernized to be more action-oriented and applicable to current activities.

Two new eLearning modules were created:

  • Virtual Talent Acquisition. Why virtual TA is here to stay; how to conduct the TA process virtually; best practices; examples of both the TA team and employees working their way through the TA life cycle virtually.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Talent Acquisition Space. How DE&I is front and center in society, the workplace and in TA specifically; defining success with diversity recruiting; identifying gaps in the TA DE&I space and how to fix them; gauging inclusion in the organization and how to increase it; hiring and working with DE&I experts; removing bias in TA processes; recruiting diverse talent.

Additional Changes Covering All SCs

To earn a SHRM SC, applicants must earn a successful score on the online knowledge assessment. The assessment requirement for an SC is now three 30-question tests with three attempts permitted (changed from two 50-question tests with two attempts permitted). 

SHRM's Education and Certification Operations teams also decided that SCs will not expire, alleviating the need for renewal. 

Ann Godmere is senior instructional designer at SHRM.

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