So You Think You Want To Be A Recruiter?

Why Getting into Recruiting is the Right Career for You.
Oct 10, 2019
Matt Tokarz
Matt Tokarz
Lead Recruiter
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We can say this from the start: hardly anyone says they want to be a recruiter when they grow up. I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone that majored in recruiting in college. Yet, do a search on Linkedin, and 20,000 recruiters show up in Chicago alone.

So how did they get there? Some people want to get into Human Resources and see recruiting as a good entry point. Most people back into it. Large staffing and recruiting firms hire a lot of new college grads, and they often have very little idea of what the job really entails. 50+ percent turnover in the first year is fairly standard. 

With all that said, we thought it would be helpful to outline what recruiting really entails and what skills you’ll get to utilize and develop to be successful.  

Why You Want To Become A Recruiter

Recruiters get exposure to a lot of things. To get good at it, there are plenty of intangibles that are required to be successful, including: 

  1. You’re drawn to the different components of the job: You’re ready to connect with hiring managers, work with candidates, you enjoy sales and sometimes even act as therapist. All aspects of the role appeal to you.
  2. You are excited about the challenge: It’s like a puzzle figuring out how to match a job seeker and an open role, and make everyone happy.
  3. You like the rush: At the end of the day, the people you’re able to find drive a company’s success. You get to impact the direction and transformation of a business, while also connecting people with their passions.
  4. You enjoy seeing the impact of your work: You get to see a team that you helped build succeed and create an innovative product.

It’s also fun. 

You cultivate key relationships, too. These relationships start as seeds. Someone might apply for a position, you receive an employee referral, someone in your network makes an introduction, or you happen to find a star through direct outreach. Then these relationships grow and strengthen over time. 

A crucial part of the job is socializing. Utilize social media, attend networking events. These are things you like to do anyway and now, you get to do it for a living.  

But what else do you need to do this job well?

The Skills and Traits You Need to Become a Recruiter

New recruiters often feel surprised by how many hats they’re expected to wear (please listen to Episode Six of the Hirewell Recruiting Insights podcast for more thoughts on this).

Recruiting has always been a sales job, but it’s also become just as much of a marketing position (and please listen to Episode 5 of the Hirewell Recruiting Insights podcast to learn more about that). 

Not only that, but you also have to understand organizational design and identify the right skills for the right position. It’s not just the right skill set, however, because there is also an element of matchmaking—bringing together the right person with the right hiring manager.

This means that you serve as a facilitator as well; you put two things together, (in this case people), make them fit and close the deal. 

You’ll need to understand people’s emotions. You’re working as a psychological translator, reading between the lines and arranging blind dates.

Inherent in this, is that you serve as part career counselor or therapist, helping your hiring manager to best understand what they want. You’re a translator of people’s needs and desires. Candidates think they’re looking for particular things in a job, but then you put the kind of opportunity in front of them that they thought they were looking for and they decide they don’t want that. You have to be able to probe deeply and understand what their true concerns are.

You have to be organized. Being a recruiter is part administrative; you’re dealing with coordination, scheduling interviews, and de-briefs, checking-in and following-up. 

So, you need to be proactive, not reactive, as well as intuitive. You’ll get there by actively listening and communicating. You’re going to have to be inquisitive, and always be ready to ask the big-picture questions.

You also need to be self-motivated. To make this work happen, you have to bring energy and enthusiasm, and you have to want it. 

In the end, when things don’t go your way, you have to be able to handle rejection. Job seekers have a lot of options and unfortunately, you’ll hear a lot of no’s. Or worse, people that tell you yes (and accept a job), will sometimes change their mind and take a different job, or stay at their current company because they offer them more money. You better be resilient!

How Do You Overcome These Challenges?

You overcome these challenges by being flexible and recognizing that you have to be creative and strategic when matching clients and candidates, overcoming any inclinations to think narrowly about how to fill open spots.

You also have to be positive. Sometimes this calls for setting your expectations lower, and other times staying focused on your goals and why you enjoy the job.

Finally, it’s about being transparent, returning calls, checking-in, giving straightforward feedback and always letting your clients and candidates know what’s happening, even when things are in a holding pattern.

Final Thoughts

So, why would you become a recruiter, when you have to wear so many hats and so many things can go wrong? Because...

You want a job where no two days are the same.

You enjoy bringing positive energy to your work, and you embrace transparency.

You know that you will suffer rejection, it will be exhausting, and anything that can happen will happen, but figuring it out makes the highs outweigh the lows.

You will change lives, transform companies and if you’re a people person anyway, you can be happy at work as well.

Matt Tokarz
Matt Tokarz
Lead Recruiter

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