Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Industry Profile - Recruiters

2014-02-10 11:26:30

I've been talking about the recruiting profession with several people in the last week or so. One of those conversations revolved around helping local area college students with an interest/focus in HR started in an understanding of recruiting, including an introduction to sourcing, the process of finding candidates. Since she and I are both considered local SME's in Sourcing, this is a very valid discussion. A great way to start in HR or recruiting is as a Recruiting Coordinator, which entails a lot of scheduling, administrative tasks working with candidates, keeping databases up to date, participating in interviews, and as a Coordinator becomes more agile, often s/he is given some lower level requisitions to work on under the mentorship of a Senior Recruiter (I'm doing that with my present coordinator right now; she has done some recruiting in the past, and I've given her two Software Test positions to work on.) The other entry level stepping stone into corporate recruiting is to join a campus recruiting team, which involves heavy travel to schools and job fairs for months at a time.

Recruiting is a great stepping stone into other areas of HR because it involves a general knowledge of almost every facet of Human Resources. Compensation, account management from working with hiring managers on a regular basis, a working knowledge of benefits, immigration, contract/vendor management, working with various HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems), learning about employee relations issues such as internal equity (pay), headcount forecasting, and even Reductions in Force. Many smaller companies don't have the budget for a separate recruiting function so generalists also recruit as part of their workload.

Another professional contact reached out to me to ask about getting *into* recruiting, how one does that, what sort of a background does one need? I've mentioned the entry level route but she was interested in making a lateral move. If someone has been a hiring manager for at least a few years in their own industry, it is possible to move into a recruiting role within the industry, but it needs to be combined with other skills and training. First, as a recruiter, you must understand how the process of data capture and workflow is necessary to comply with state and federal regulations such as Affirmative Action and the EEOC. The compliance piece of Recruiting and HR is the steepest and most important learning curve for a new recruiter. One must be comfortable around databases. A good portion of Recruiting is about managing workflow in some way. I've used everything from email folders, to an Excel spreadsheet, to enterprise and web hosted applications. Each requisition (job) is a separate project that must be managed, and most recruiters have anywhere from 15-45 requisitions at any given time. Recruiters spend a *lot* of time on the phone (30%-40% of their time) conducting phone screens and reference checks. If someone isn't comfortable talking to strangers all the time, recruiting probably isn't a good profession (it's one of the reasons that a lot of sales professionals can be highly successful at recruiting.)

One of the best ways to start a recruiting career is with an agency, either a temporary firm (such as Robert Half, Volt, Adecco, etc.) or a direct placement or executive placement agency. Most corporate recruiting positions prefer or require some agency experience, because it is one of the best training grounds to learn the business of "recruiting" and becoming proficient at it quickly and able to identify good talent and write up a submittal.

As a recruiter becomes more experienced, s/he will also partake in different aspects of the business such as branding/marketing for the employer. A large portion of what I do is work on branding my employer in the local community, marketing our new products (as part of the recruiting process), and evangelizing our company 24x7. I am often one of the first in the company to know about new products, services or initiatives because of the need for staffing them.

My days are rarely boring, never the same, and intensely gratifying. I help people find jobs, help my hiring managers attract top talent, and I can walk down the halls and say "hi" to all the people I've brought on board. One thing it is vital to understand: recruiting is one of those careers where you are always "on", like a physician or a lawyer. You will constantly be asked your opinion on employment topics, for resume advice, and given names/referrals/resumes, and pointed to as the person to help job seekers find a job. This is not a career for introverts, but it is highly rewarding and can be very lucrative for the right personality.

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