What’s one tip for that would help someone looking to become a recruiter? That’s what we asked a group of career coaches, experienced recruiters and HR leaders. From learning to accommodate the unpredictable to finding a way to get your foot in the door, there’s advice that can help anyone seeking to become a recruiter.

Learn to Accommodate the Unpredictable

A challenging aspect of being a recruiter is the unpredictability factor during the recruitment process. People are complex and complicated, and each person can see the same opportunity from different perspectives. A recruiter should prepare for anything that could happen during the search. It is up to them to keep their clients and candidates on the same page throughout the hiring process.

Benjamin Farber
Bristol Associates, Inc.

Don’t Haunt Potential Hires

Avoid ghosting job candidates. Keep in mind that they are also stakeholders in the vetting and interviewing process. In the digital age (where all comments are shareable and social), a negative or positive interview experience can be published online — and read — in a matter of seconds. This can have an impact on qualified job seekers who are researching your open positions and discourage them from applying. Regardless of how many “to do’s” are added to the task list, all applicants should expect open conversations and transparency throughout the process.

Jessica Arias
Director of People & Culture
OnPay Payroll Services

Use LinkedIn Smarter

Tools like LinkedIn’s Career Explorer page are a recruiter’s best friend. It’s the platform’s central database that tracks today’s top-trending job titles in your recruitment vertical, but also the associated skills for these roles. The platform gives you a glimpse into what your actual target audience is prioritizing when job hunting themselves.

In this sense, think of tools such as Career Explorer like an encyclopedia for how to attract hyper-specific talent. You also get access to a library of workforce data and scouting and recruitment thought leadership, all in a single place. Basically, it’ll allow you to recruit faster, easier and ultimately better than colleagues who aren’t crafting their work around this centralized info.

Yang Zhang

Build Your Network of Contacts

The first step is to identify the industry you want to recruit for (in my case, IT). Study org charts for some large companies in that industry to get an idea of what departments you might work with and what common and niche positions in those departments you may be recruiting for, as well as the growth opportunities for each position (good selling points for passive candidates).

I looked for IT org charts and learned everything I could about IT infrastructure from help desk to CIO/CTO, as well as where software development fits into the greater IT organization. Once you digest all that, do a deep dive into duties for each role and common tools/skills/technologies that are used for those positions. You don’t need to know everything, but knowing a little helps you to think of good questions to ask candidates. Now you know enough to be dangerous. The last step is to spend time each day adding people in the roles you studied to your LinkedIn and get a professional headshot taken.

Matthew Jones
Senior IT Recruiter
VIP Tech Consultants

Seek to Recruit for Organizations That Matter to You

When you recruit for an organization whose causes, mission/vision, products or services are important to you, it shows. Your messaging comes from an authentic place, your ability to bring excitement to conversations with candidates becomes effortless and you become the best advocate for your candidates because of your vested interest in their and the organization’s, success.

Cindy Rodriguez
Adirondack Diversity Solutions LLC

Identify and Sharpen Your Soft Skills

I believe anyone can become a recruiter, but not everyone can be a great one. Great recruiters share a common quality: They know the key soft skills needed to engage clients and successfully place high-quality candidates in challenging positions. Every successful recruiter’s main soft skills are strong communication, negotiation, sales and people management skills. As you launch your career, identify opportunities to strengthen these skills and you will navigate many of the obstacles most newbies face in their career.

Strong communication, people and sales skills are critical to engaging clients, evaluating and managing their needs and providing tailor-made solutions they cannot find anywhere else. These same skills are critical in maintaining high-quality and productive relationships with hiring managers. Strained relationships with hiring managers are a major obstacle for both new and experienced recruiters, but with the right skills, you can overcome these common challenges.

Paul French
Managing Director
Intrinsic Executive Search

Be Familiar With Your Role as a Recruiter 

Listening is the number one qualification for the individual who dreams of becoming a recruiter. A recruiter understands the business, treats job seekers like customers and teams up with hiring managers to collaborate on job specifications, plans, sources, assessments, sales, communication, listening, marketing, coaching, interviewing, evaluation.

Recruiters-in-the-making recruit for diversity, share knowledge, persuade, negotiate, contribute beyond their assignment and enjoy joint achievements shared with their colleagues. 

Business competencies new recruiters will require include a drive for results, composure, creativity, priority setting, problem-solving, perseverance, comfort around senior executives, standing alone, organizing and approachability. They are talent scouts who are passionate and polished professionals who, having listened well, take great joy in congratulating each of their newly hired staff.

Bill Gunn
Principal Consultant

Learn How to Like the Unknown

You need to learn to like the unknown from the terminology that you do not know to situations where you simply have to wait for updates and answers. When it comes to starting your career, you need to quickly familiarize yourself with all of the terms that you will be using on a daily basis.

That includes business terms, your team’s jargon and some key elements that you will be discussing with your candidates (i.e., if you are an IT recruiter, you must know and understand their tech stack to be able to ask the correct questions). So when you see something new, Google it and understand what it is. 

Another big part of recruitment is waiting for the feedback, the offer, the decision on that offer and many other things. Be ready for that waiting time and to constantly push for updates. Recruitment is very dynamic, so you must be prepared for requirements to change quickly and be able to adapt to the new ones to be successful.

Katya Lapayeva
IT Recruiter
CNA International IT

Work on Your Communication Skills

The key to success for someone to become successful in recruiting will likely always be in communication. This affects interactions with hiring managers, candidates and within your team. Due to the emergence of additional A.I. and technology-based solutions, it seems that meaningful communication has taken a back seat.

However, communication, which includes both the written and spoken word, will continue to be what separates the most successful recruiters from average recruiters. If you become comfortable with video, this can also prove to be a tremendous edge as a new recruiter.

Rollis Fontenot III
HR Maximizer Inc

Explore the Possibility to Shadow a Member of a Recruiting Team

The recruiting landscape is extremely competitive and many companies are seeking to beef up their talent acquisition team. Most companies look for individuals with prior recruiting experience. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from pursuing the recruiting/talent acquisition field. Recruiting requires attention to detail, maintaining confidentiality, ability to work in ambiguous environments and an ability to relate to candidates.

One important tip for prospective recruiters is to have a solid understanding of the questions that you can and cannot ask prospective candidates. This may seem extremely tactical, however it is an important component of being a recruiter. There are questions that are illegal to ask a candidate. It’s also helpful to reach out to Human Resources to see if it’s possible to shadow a member of the recruiting team to have a better understanding of the full lifecycle recruiting process.

Tawanda Johnson
People & Culture Thought Leader
Sporting Smiles

Find a Way to Get Your Foot in the Door

You can start as a sourcer or recruitment assistant in order to get a glimpse into the recruitment industry. As both of these positions have a lower barrier to entry, you may be able to find an internship or on-the-job training opportunities for both of these positions.

These positions will allow you to get hands-on experience, and you’ll quickly find out whether or not recruitment is right for you. Moreover, you’ll gain insight into which specialization of recruitment is the best fit, allowing you to properly adjust the course of your career from an earlier point in time than most people.

Iohan Chan
Senior Content Editor
Clark Staff