Industry Secrets: How to get Hired as a Recruiter
This article explores what makes a great recruiter and potential career paths in that role. We sat down with three seasoned employees at Equiliem to find out how each of them views the recruiting role and what it takes to succeed.
Are Opportunities Growing for Recruiters? Yes, definitely!
The staffing industry presents a meaningful and rewarding career path that gives you many opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives. And it’s a booming industry too! According to the American Staffing Association, the $150 billion U.S. staffing and recruiting industry continues to grow.
If you’re interested in exploring your options in this field, it’s a world of opportunities. We’re giving you access to industry secrets you should know to get hired as a recruiter – straight from seasoned recruiters.
What our Pro’s Think
We sat down with three Equiliem experts with years of recruiting experience under their belts to see how they got to where they are now. Mike Menzer, Managing Director for Strategic Development, Samuel Pavelchak, Senior Staffing Specialist, and Josh Schiff, Director of Professional Staffing, share staffing industry secrets from recruiters for recruiters.
Is a recruiter role an entry-level job in general?
Mike: Yes. Being a recruiter is a great way to get into the staffing industry, with a path for advancement into specialty niches and great earnings by building your network of candidates. Some people advance into recruiting management. Others move to the clients’ side as Account Managers, building employer relationships and gaining knowledge that helps the staffing firm fit candidates precisely.
Which types of people would excel as recruiters?
Samuel: I think most recruiters that excel in the industry tend to be people that are incredibly competitive and are great communicators. People that have been a part of a team environment but also had to contribute individually as well. For example, someone that played organized sports growing up. Also, someone who can speak to different types of people.
Josh: I agree. Competitive people, into sports or whatever competitive nature, maybe even trivia league. Staffing is competitive. Competing against other staffing agencies is part of the job. It helps when they don’t get stalled by missteps; someone with a short-term memory about rejection and who keeps moving forward. Resilience is also an important trait. Proactive. Go-getters. They should also be able to nudge themselves.
What essential skills or qualifications should one possess to thrive as a recruiter?
Josh: Communication skills, attention to detail, the desire to continuously improve, ability to multitask, active listening. Having a sense of humor helps but is by no means required.
Mike: Soft skills, attention to detail, time management, and organization. A great recruiter must always learn to manage time efficiently; there’s never enough time. Effective time management is vital to success. It’s a good idea to keep on honing that skill. In terms of communication skills, it’s not only in the general sense. Dig deeper. Can you carry a conversation to win credibility from someone over the phone? Can you cultivate relationships with someone you’ve never met in person? Recruiters are personable.
What are the most helpful college majors to get for recruiters?
Mike: The most common ones we see are Human Resources, Psychology, Sociology, Communications, or any general major. However, bachelor’s degrees aren’t always required. HR is prominent – but a social worker degree has similarities.
Samuel: A degree is not a critical defining indicator of success. It’s not required. You only need a polished personality. It’s more helpful to lean into your strengths.
Can individuals who want to change careers easily thrive in the staffing industry?
Samuel: One thing is for sure; there are abundant opportunities for anyone looking to get into staffing. We’ve seen former accountants who want to make a career change or engineers who don’t want to be engineers get into staffing. Those jobs might translate well to recruiting because they have insider knowledge that gives credibility in their verticals and fields. For example, take a former accountant who is now recruiting CPAs. They’re good at it because they know how to talk to candidates in their vocabulary.
What are employers looking for in a recruiter?
Samuel: Employers are looking for an individual that can communicate and relate to several types of people in different industries. The job requires communicating and explaining a position, a client, and an opportunity well to a candidate.
Can you give a glimpse into a recruiter’s career journey from recruiter to HR leader, staffing partner, and beyond?
Mike: We typically see a career path of one to three years of recruiting coordination experience, two to five years of agency recruiting, then corporate or internal recruiting. Sometimes, you’ll see people without the coordination or the agency experience. If they skip the first two roles, they typically come from a sales background.
Agency recruiting exposes a recruiter to a bunch of different industries and positions. After a recruiter gains experience, they typically choose an industry based on the market and its potential to be lucrative or their connection to the industry.
Josh: For myself, I started entry-level. Then, I managed accounts, sold new accounts, and established a voice in the “pit” or “bullpen.” Then it was coaching others, encouraging, mentoring, and leading from within to find the next step. Still, be a master of your skills to get promoted. We’re looking for mastery to become a recruiting manager. There are plenty of client-facing opportunities for client service account managers.
There are also mentorship opportunities. Keep an eye on continuing education. Be a member of ASA, become a CSP certified staffing professional, take classes and exams, and maintain CSP continuing education credits. And always adhere to the standard of professionalism.
How can candidates present themselves as top recruiters?
Mike: It’s easy to tell when speaking to a recruiter if they are good at what they do. For example, I consider how long they stay at jobs, the status of the company they work for, the book of clients and roles, how niche their experience is, and their salary expectations. Typically, the best recruiters go into healthcare, technical, life science, or pharmaceutical roles. They are more niche and have a smaller candidate sourcing pool, so they have to be skilled and effective.
Are there any industry secrets you want to share?
Mike: You can’t let frustration or failures bring you down. Make sure you do everything in your control, put in the effort, and work hard and smart. Let all the things out of your control go, and don’t stress. For example, will a candidate take an offer? Handle ebbs and flows. There are different challenges every day.
Josh: Managing the highs and lows of a day, quarter, and year. In recruiting, getting overly excited or upset is easy if things aren’t going your way. Managing your emotions is extremely important, and sometimes taking a step back and letting the chips fall where they may be beneficial.
Samuel: A lot of the time, it’s about how much you work and your willingness to go the extra mile to be available to candidates to speak on their terms.
Another trait of a successful recruiter is not being afraid of rejection or failure. On a typical day, if I make 40 calls, only ten will answer (sometimes less). Five of those ten people will hang up immediately or say they aren’t interested. Sometimes, it can become mundane when you are not having meaningful conversations with candidates. But continuously calling new candidates or following up on voicemails will allow you to have quality, meaningful discussions throughout the day.
What’s the best thing about being a recruiter?
Samuel: Helping people is why I love what I do. Helping professionals land the jobs of their dreams, we often make a difference in their lives and careers. And assisting clients to solve a problem or accomplish something that makes them look good can also impact their career success.
Josh: What we do matters. It’s meaningful work that is rewarding. We fill a specific need that technology cannot replicate.
Mike: Recruiting is building relationships. Lots of work goes into the whole process of a client and candidate meeting and agreeing to work together. There’s nothing more magical and rewarding than when we get the perfect match.
Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive.
Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.
Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.