How Do I Become a Recruiter?

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  • Originally Written By: S. Jackson
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 25 February 2020
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Becoming a recruiter typically requires a combination of education and experience, though a lot can vary depending on the industry in which you’re working. Sometimes, familiarity with business processes and human resources is enough to get started, but other times you’ll need to have extensive experience and potentially also certification in the field. Recruiting people into sales and marketing jobs at the entry level is often a lot different than recruiting top surgeons for a hospital or filling executive slots in an international corporation, for instance. If you know ahead of time what sort of niche you want to fill, it’s usually wise to take courses or pursue a degree program that combines some element of human resources with the specifics of the industry of your choosing. Otherwise, simply engaging in human resources work more generally is usually the best place to begin. As with so many careers, you should also be prepared to start small. You may not be able to find a job recruiting right out of school, but lower-level work on hiring teams can help you build the expertise to climb your way up with time.


Broad Importance of the Job

Many people choose recruiting as a job trajectory because they enjoy working with many different people every day, and find satisfaction in finding good “fits” for both companies and individuals. Recruitment is similar to job placement, but is usually a lot more nuanced as recruiters work for the companies with the jobs rather than the job seekers as individuals. Proper recruitment is highly beneficial to many industries. Without the right employees, a company cannot be successful. However, it can take a lot of time to find the perfect worker, which is why many companies will hire somebody, either on a contract basis or as a permanent staff position, to go through the applications and determine a list of potential job candidates. While there are different types of recruiters, the mechanics of what their job entails is generally the same and the processes they use tend to be similar.

Educational Requirements

To begin, you will want to look into getting a four-year human resources or business degree. This will give you the foundation needed to become a recruiter, and will also prove to employers that you have a broad-level understanding of the job and its requirements. Knowing the intricacies of how companies work and what they're looking for in order to have a successfully run company is very important. Most courses also emphasize things like teamwork and how to hire people not just for their skills in isolation, but for how those skills are likely to integrate with those of existing team members and leaders.

Learning as much as you can about the industry you want to recruit for can also be really important. If possible, take electives in college about this industry so you have a better idea on what companies will look for in their employees. Healthcare, real estate, and industrial recruiters will want to learn different things about the specified industry to be able to recruit for it.

Generally, the introduction courses for these subjects are a better choice since they will be more general and cover more areas instead of a specific topic. If you get too nuanced you might run the risk of over-specializing, thereby closing off recruitment possibilities in other industries. Most of the time, there will be opportunities for further learning and education once you’ve been hired.

Understand the Laws and Relevant Regulations

It’s also usually a good idea to learn the different federal and state laws for employment relevant to your field of interest. This can be done on your own time or by taking a law class that covers employee rights and affirmative action laws. Many recruitment firms will require you to learn this information before you can start recruiting for them. Different fields have different regulations, and understanding your parameters can help establish you as a professional who has not just good instincts and basic training, but also a firm sense of the legal parameters of the discipline.

Be Willing to Start Small

While going to school to become a recruiter is a great way to get the career you want, there are ways to work your way up to eventually becoming a recruiter. If your job right now is in administration, you may eventually find a position in your company hiring within human resources. This type of position can give you a lot of background information on what the company is looking for when it comes to who they hire. Then, you may be promoted to become a recruiter for the company. Letting your supervisor know you’re looking to move up within the company can give you a better chance on getting chosen for a promotion.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

Recruiting is more sales and candidate marketing focused than HR. I would have to say a business degree would be more important that any sort of focus on HR.

Post 3

Where do you start if you want to become an independent recruiter? Thank you.

Post 2

I disagree with getting an HR degree. I own a recruiting company and hire recruiters all the time. the bottom line is I don't want anyone who has an HR degree because most of the time these individuals get caught up in wanting to do other HR functions, which you never do as a recruiter.

Post 1

You can also opt to become an independent recruiter. There is definitely an initial learning curve but the rewards and benefits are worth it.

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