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So You Think You Want to be a Recruiter? March 28, 2022

There’s been an uptick in jobs for recruiters lately. Like everything in our society – it’s a case of supply and demand. At the end of 2021 the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that there were nearly 11 million unfilled jobs.

In order to fill them, many companies need help. And while Recruiting or Talent Acquisition is often rolled up into Human Resources, the truth is, many HR folks don’t love the day to day art and science of recruiting – because they’ve spent their careers growing their skill sets in things like payroll, training, benefits, high level negotiations and other skills. So while we, recruiters, are definitely in the people field, we tend to move alongside the HR function.

Anyway. You may have heard that recruiting “is not rocket science” and decided that with more than 360,000 openings for recruiters nationwide it would be an easy job to get and do. 

Not so fast. 

The barrier to entry may seem low to be a recruiter – but there are some skills and experiences that are going to make it easier for you to not only land a job as a recruiter but to excel in the role.  A while back I wrote about the different types of recruiters, so take a look there if you’re curious. Following are some key skills required of a successful recruiter.

  1. Genuine interest in human beings. You may have heard that the ATS does all the work, but it’s not true. Humans do the hiring and interviewing. You talk to real human beings and the more curious you are about who they are and why they do what they do, the better you’ll do at this job.
  2. An outstanding ability to read between the lines. Whether it’s reading a job description, a resume or a cover letter, your ability to see what’s NOT being said goes a long way in your success. 
  3. The ability to ask great questions. We all know that yes or no questions don’t get great answers, but what questions will help you understand why a role is really open? Which queries will help you determine how a sales person achieved that impressive increase in revenue? Knowing how to ask questions and listen between the lines for answers will help you place the best person in the right role at the right time. 
  4. Great communication skills. Sometimes you have to do the heavy lifting. Every first call is like sitting across from a blind date at a coffee shop. Some candidates are going to be nervous and overly talkative, and some will be so nervous that they have a hard time giving you more than one-word answers. As a great communicator you will use your skills to bring out the shy people and re-focus the long-winded so that you can understand what’s most important to them in their careers. 
  5. Outstanding listening skills. Yes. Listening is the heart of communicating but it deserves its own bullet here – if you’re focused on simply filling out a form or moving someone to the next stage (or getting them off the phone) you’re missing the point. Every conversation is an opportunity to build your network of passive candidates. The more you hear, the more likely you are to make placements in the long run.
  6. Patience of a parent watching their three-year-old do anything for themselves. Seriously. You may have the perfect candidate and the hiring manager told you they need to hire yesterday – so what’s the delay? It could be anything but everything takes long than you thought it should. And sometimes the match doesn’t take – the hiring manager changes their mind on what’s important, the candidate forgot to tell their spouse that the new job would require relocation or the hiring committee cannot agree on their priorities. It all happens. Having patience is your saving grace. 
  7. A phenomenal sense of humor. This keeps you humble – because you will be the star recruiter – the hero that saves the day and you will also be the recruiter who can’t do anything right – whose candidates skip town and hiring mangers get frustrated with. It’s all you. So having a sense of humor and a deep understanding of your own intrinsic value with or without placements is key to success
  8. The deep seated belief that everyone deserves to be happy at work. If you start your day with this attitude and know that every action you undertake is toward that goal – you’ll be successful.

If you think you want to be a recruiter, why not reach out to OUR team? We’re hiring outstanding humans to help other humans find their happy at work. Click here to learn more.

Written by: PEGGIE ARVIDSON, Account Executive

Peggie Arvidson started recruiting in junior high school when she convinced her classmates to join her in creating a ski club. Since then, she’s held many positions from sales to recruiting to non-profit leadership and quality assurance.  Her focus in her life and career is helping people to find their right work for the right pay because she believes that when people are happy at work, they are secure in life, and happy people change the world for the better.

Peggie has moved more than 30 times across 5 states and three time zones, and is not a military brat. Before COVID, she spent her free time traveling with her friends and husband and now you can find her making beautiful things out of yarn, found objects, and her imagination.


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