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How to Become a RECRUITER and Build a Career in Talent Acquisition?

Bojana Perović

Career coach & Talent Acquisition Specialist

Table of contents

Discover how a career in recruitment can be an excellent choice for those who love connecting people and opportunities!

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a superhero who links the world's top talents? To feel the thrill of discovering hidden gems among a sea of candidates? And doing all this while sipping coffee and showing off your winning smiles from some exotic beach?

Well, welcome to the world of recruiters – where talent meets opportunity, and creativity and resourcefulness become your secret superpowers!

In today's world, brimming with innovations and rapid technological advancements, finding the right talent for companies is crucial to their success.

And who is behind that? Yes, recruiters!

A career in recruitment is one of the most important and dynamic roles in today's technological sector. If you enjoy meeting people, understanding their skills and ambitions, and have a passion for matching talent with the right employers, then this profession is ideal for you!

But first… what are the differences between the positions of sourcer, recruiter, and talent acquisition specialist?

In large companies, there are different HR positions that pertain to various aspects of the recruitment and selection process:

  • Talent Acquisition Specialist usually deals with the strategic aspects of recruitment. They work on creating and implementing strategies for attracting, retaining, and developing talent within the organization and analyzing employer needs. This role requires a deeper understanding of human resources and long-term planning to meet the organization's needs for a qualified workforce. Essentially, these people are the "brains of the operation" and are in direct contact with the client.
  • Sourcing specialist or Sourcer focuses on finding potential candidates and attracting talent to open positions. They use various sources such as databases, professional networks like LinkedIn, and job platforms to identify candidates who fit the profile. In many cases, they start with people already working in companies that are direct competitors of their client and compile lists of candidates who might be of interest.
  • Recruiter is responsible for the entire hiring process and usually starts working from the list created by the Sourcer. They handle activities such as contacting candidates, negotiating, conducting interviews, checking references, and making hiring decisions. Their role is to find the best candidates among those sourced by their colleague and match their skills with the company's needs.

 

Each of these positions has its specifics and collectively contributes to successful hiring, but often all these roles are performed by one person – the mighty Recruiter!

Who is a recruiter and what exactly do they do?

As you've seen, a recruiter is a professional who plays a key role in the hiring process. If you thought that recruiting was just about posting job ads and reviewing applications, you'll be surprised to learn that it's actually a skill set that requires an understanding of the job market, human resources, and psychology.

The role of a recruiter is very dynamic, active, and challenging, involving everything from phone chats with clients and video interviews to face-to-face meetings with job-seeking candidates. As a recruiter, your mission is to understand the employer's needs and find the ideal candidates who meet those needs.

In my opinion, this is the most crucial phase in the recruitment process, but unfortunately, some recruiters and employers don't give it the attention it deserves.

The reason is that companies are often not aware of their core needs, so they rush to hire someone as quickly as possible, provided they meet the basic requirements. The problem arises when a candidate meets the requirements but their values conflict with the company's values. Or the values align, but there's no "cultural fit." Or it happens that the expectations of all parties involved don't match...

If the needs, values, and goals of the employer are not well defined in this phase, upon which the strategy and clear picture of the ideal candidate are based, the rest of the process can be arduous and will almost certainly yield poor results.

After defining the employer's needs and goals, the recruiter actively searches for talent, negotiates and conducts interviews, checks references, and provides support throughout the hiring process. In this phase, your skill in establishing relationships with candidates is crucial because you must understand their career goals and motivations to find the best possible match with those on the previous list.

Why is a Career in Recruitment So Attractive?

  • Connecting People and Companies: As a recruiter, you have the opportunity to support candidates in finding their ideal job opportunities while helping companies find talent that will contribute to their growth and success. It's a phenomenal feeling when you experience a Win-Win situation!
  • Dynamic Work Environment:Every day brings new challenges and opportunities because, as a recruiter, you work with different people, companies, and sectors. This keeps your work interesting and stimulates your curiosity (though, to be honest, it can also be exhausting…).
  • Continuous Learning and Growth: By working with different candidate profiles and getting to know various industry sectors, you gain a deeper understanding of human resources, the job market, and various business models. Not to mention what you can learn from the candidates themselves – it's mind-blowing!
  • Flexible Working Hours: Recruiters often have flexible working hours, as many candidates they contact are employed, meaning interviews are conducted in the afternoons or often on weekends. Flexibility regarding working hours and location is one of the most popular reasons people choose this type of job.
  • Impact on Company Growth: Finding the right talent can improve teams, increase productivity, and create competitive advantages for employers. You are a key player in achieving their business goals. Isn't that awesome!?

 

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Successful Recruiter?

Important skills for success in recruitment include communication skills, negotiation abilities, analytical skills, empathy, and decision-making ability.

Additionally, you must demonstrate good time management and project management skills, and previous experience in sales can be a big plus. After all, recruitment is indeed sales: you are constantly "selling" the candidate to the company and vice versa!

Furthermore, technological skills and understanding digital tools and artificial intelligence for recruitment are becoming increasingly important in today's digital environment. You can't afford not to know Google Workspace or how to use it effectively.

It's also important to actively participate in professional communities, connect with other industry professionals, attend conferences and events to expand your network and improve your networking skills. This can give you the opportunity to learn about open positions and create connections with people who can be crucial for your advancement. For introverts, LinkedIn and similar networking platforms, as well as virtual events, can be the right solution.

How to Become a Recruiter and Where to Look for a Job?

Although formal education is not an absolute requirement for entering this industry, a degree in psychology, human resources, business management, or a similar field can be beneficial. Additionally, obtaining recruitment-specific certifications can further enhance your skills, boost your confidence, and increase your competitiveness in the job market.

To be honest, no one has ever asked me for a certification; my portfolio spoke for itself. However, I wish I had a mentor at the beginning who could have saved me hours of pointless fumbling, showed me how to formulate contracts, set prices, and establish processes.

If you are an absolute beginner, I strongly suggest starting by gaining experience through internships, volunteering, or part-time work at a recruitment agency. This will help you develop basic skills, familiarize yourself with the hiring process, and build a network of contacts.

Don’t expect to land a recruiter position right away, but it's important to start somewhere. Even as a receptionist at a recruitment agency, you'll have better chances of making contacts, discovering industry challenges, and learning what distinguishes good candidates from bad ones, compared to someone who just sits and waits for a recruiter position to open up.

You can also consider freelance engagements, but without practical experience, it might be challenging to set priorities and establish processes, and finding your first assignment can take time. After the first assignment, each subsequent one will be easier as you'll have references behind you and be more confident.

There are several paths you can explore. One way is to keep an eye on open positions on job platforms, freelance platforms (Upwork, Freelancer, Relance, Fiverr), and specialized websites dedicated to recruitment. Additionally, connecting with professional networks like LinkedIn can provide you with access to information about open positions and networking opportunities with other industry professionals.

How Much Does a Recruiter Earn?

A recruiter's salary depends on several factors, including their level of experience, geographic location, the size of the company, and the industry in which they work. In companies with in-house HR teams, a junior recruiter typically earns between €600-800, depending on the aforementioned factors, as well as the number of working hours, type of engagement, contract type, and so on.

Some companies that offer lower monthly salaries provide a commission from successful candidate placements (placement fee). Such positions are usually accepted by individuals who are confident, excellent salespeople, and efficient in their work.

The starting hourly rate for freelance recruiters can vary, but it generally ranges from €10-20. As they gain experience and prove their expertise, their earnings usually increase. Experienced recruiters who achieve impressive results can expect attractive salaries, including bonuses and other benefits.

Conclusion

A career in recruitment is more than just finding people for jobs. It is a journey that connects you with talents and companies, allowing you to make a positive impact on both sides. If you are attracted to the idea of connecting talents for success, consider a career in recruitment.

And if you need an experienced mentor, write me – my team and I will tailor mentoring just for you 😉

Author:
Bojana Perović

I am Bojana and together with the Minuta do posla team, I have been researching careers and writing a blog about it for 8 years.

I am a certified NLB consultant, which means that, if you choose me as your mentor, with the help of a simple questionnaire I can peek into your mind, discover how you process information, make important decisions and behave in the workplace.

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