November 3, 2023

Cracking the Career Code: How to Become a Recruiter


Episode Highlights

The Difference between HR and Recruiting/Ta


What Do Recruiters Actually Do?


What Skills Make Recruiters Successful?


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Have you ever considered pursuing a career in recruiting? Whether you’re contemplating a transition into this field or are just embarking on your journey, Matt and Kierra delve into the key aspects of becoming a recruiter. They explore the steps involved in breaking into the industry and provide insights into the daily responsibilities of the role.

Episode Transcript

Hello, welcome back to Cracking the Career Code with Matt and Kierra, where we provide candidates the keys to success in their job searches. Today we are going to be discussing how to become a recruiter and what to explore to become one. So Matt, do you want to just start us off? Like, what do you think you should do if you want to transition into recruiting?

Take it away. So, there’s no such thing as a degree in recruiting. And most of us who got into this profession, kind of fell into it, like ask any recruiter, like 90% of them are going to say they fell into it. Right. So, before we get into the best way to become a recruiter, I think it’s important to know the difference between HR and recruiting and even talent acquisition, which is kind of the same as recruiting, right? So, I actually started my career in HR, but as an HR professional, I was doing a lot of recruiting. Which is pretty typical for human resources, especially depending on the size of companies. So the smaller the company, the more likely HR is also doing some recruiting and talent acquisition.

But typically what we would find that the difference there with HR is, HR is responsible for the employee life cycle after someone’s hired. So that’s like employee benefits, employee relations, compensation, training and development, all of those things. Whereas recruiting or talent acquisition is focused on bringing employees into the company and kind of handing that off after the interview process, after an offer is made and accepted, to HR.

So, that’s the just the general differences there. So, as for getting into recruiting, I think, you know, starting with research is always going to help out. So Kierra, I know you were a teacher, you recently got into recruiting. What did you do to explore this profession? Yeah, well, first of all, I just wanted to say that you were doing a lot, having to do HR and recruiting.

That sounds insane. So, I can’t even imagine doing both, but. It was hard. It was hard to balance. It was hard to be good at both all at the same time and split your responsibilities. Yeah, there’s not enough time for all of that. But yeah, so I started with researching the position. So I looked up videos on recruiting.

I started following people on LinkedIn in the recruiting space, seeing what they were posting and what their day to day looks like. I think I got a very good idea of some of the things that they go through just based on from the posts. I asked for informational chats. So I talked to some recruiters at different companies and just asked for an informational interview.

And essentially what that is asking them questions about their day to day, what they do, what they like about their job, what they dislike about their job. So I could really get a good understanding of what I would be doing in the day to day. Also figuring out what space I wanted to specialize in.

There’s so many different areas you can go into for recruiting and I fell into the tech space, but you can go into multiple other spaces like, HR recruiting, sales recruiting, marketing recruiting, we have all different teams, at Hirewell that specialize in different areas. So those are always something to think about.

And whatever you do specialize, it’s always going to just be learning that technology or their lingo or what the job and roles entail. So it’s going to be a learning experience, no matter which one you go into. But yeah, that’s where I think I started my search. Did you have anything else you wanted to add as far as like what you think you should do in order just to get a good understanding and gauge on it?

Yeah, I think, you know, networking is huge. Like you said, asking people in the space that are recruiting, if they can chat with you about their jobs. Recruiters love to talk. So, you know, you’ll definitely get some interested parties there. Also, you know, I think meeting up with people in person, saying, “Hey, can I meet up with you and buy you a coffee and just chat about what you do?”

Is a great way to get some information. Yeah. Like you said, you know, recruiting, you can find a specialization, so we’re both tech recruiters, but you can specialize in any corporate function. You can be a generalist and recruit for everything. So when I was internal, and in HR and also doing recruiting and talent acquisition, I recruited for every role at our company.

So, that’s another distinction to think about when you’re exploring a career path in recruiting is, do you want to be an agency recruiter or do you want to recruit internally? So, you know, definitely some differences there. Hirewell’s obviously an agency. So we help our clients, lots of different companies across many different industries, fill roles across all sorts of corporate functions.

So one of the benefits of agency recruiting is like, it’s a different day, every day. Every day we’re talking about different companies, whereas, when you’re working internally you’re always pitching the same company, just different roles within that company. Any other differences that you’d add about like an agency versus an internal recruiting path and why people might want to pursue one or the other.

Yeah, I would say agency, first of all, like I like the agency side of things because I feel like it’s a very symbiotic relationship with the person you’re working with. You both want each other to get the most money because we get compensated on how much they get compensated on and we’re not trying to stick to a budget.

I mean, we’re sticking to a budget within means and we’re also working on top of the client side. So we want to do it in a way that we’re benefiting both sides. But I think there is just a little bit of a difference as far as what we can get candidates and how transparent we can be. Whereas internally, I don’t think that’s always the case and maybe there’s not always that transparency.

We’ve got a carrot at the end of the stick, right? If we place someone in a job, we’re getting paid on that. So there’s an incentive for us and something that kind of motivates us more than an internal recruiter that’s just getting paid base salary and if they fill a role great, but you know, no extra bonus or cash incentive for them to fill those roles. Right.

So, one thing about agency is you will be getting commission on hires or as corporate you will just be getting probably a base salary or like a bonus every now and then. So I think that’s the difference too, and maybe something to think about. If you are competitive in nature, agency might be the way to go. But I know some people really prefer the corporate side because it can be stressful. Those are the big differences.

I also think that with agency, I just like working on multiple different roles in different companies. I think it’s fun to pitch a really cool company and a product that i’m excited about. And I like that it switches day to day and I can work on something different day to day. Yeah. I remember when I was working internally, like it would almost become robotic of like pitching the same company, you know, on five calls in a day.

Like I would almost get lost in the pitch. Like, did I already say that? Or was that the call that I had earlier in the day or whatever it was. So, as far as recruiting goes, I think it’s important for people to know, like, what do we actually do in our days? So Kierra, why don’t you start us off?

Like what are some of the things that we do as recruiters? Yeah, I would say as a recruiter, I do a lot of sourcing. So I am constantly looking at people’s profiles all day. Yeah. Got to love resume screening and looking through databases of candidates, if you want to be a recruiter. Yep. Yep.

Like, a lot of my day is dedicated to doing that. So I think, just having the patience to do that. I like to switch up my schedule. So I block off certain times to do sourcing for one role, and then I’ll switch it up and source on a different role, just so I can kind of get a feel of different roles.

And I’m not just stuck doing one thing all day. Yeah. I would also say, a lot of it is scheduling calls and interviews. Yep. So if people reply for a role or we get them on the phone for a role, or screening candidates to see if they’re a good fit for any of the companies that we are working with. What else do you- would you say that it entails? That’s my favorite part of this job is just having the opportunity to talk to a lot of different people from all sorts of backgrounds and career paths and really being able to explore. Like, what are these people do in their jobs as well, right?

That’s probably the most interesting part of recruiting is we get to learn so much about careers that we’re not actually in and are able to partner with our clients to evaluate candidates and their fit for our clients needs. So really love chatting with candidates day in and day out. You know, it’s hard to be shy as a recruiter because you’re going to have to talk to tons of different people. You’re going to have to cold call people or at least like, you know, lukewarm call people.

So, if that’s something that you’re nervous about, you’re definitely going to have to get over that hump. And, you know, another thing is like, once you find a candidate, like there’s a lot that goes into managing that candidate through an interview process, up to a job offer, and then in their first day at the job and then beyond that. So, you know, pretty time consuming it’s not like a set it and forget it where you find someone’s resume, you submit them to a role, and then our job is done. Like we’re working through the process with them prepping them for interviews, understanding where their heads at and how they’re going to make a decision.

And it’s really time consuming. So, you know, you’re building relationships with these candidates that, you know, aren’t just transactional. Yeah, also we’re in charge of delivering feedback, whether that be good feedback or not so good feedback. The delivering of negative feedback or bad feedback is probably the worst part, in my opinion, of this job.

Never fun. It’s never a good feeling, telling people that they didn’t get a role or that they won’t be moving forward in the process, but I don’t think anything beats the other side of it where you get to extend an offer to someone who’s really excited about the role. Yeah, getting people big raises always feels good.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And then I would say there’s another portion where we’re doing business development, reaching out to companies that are looking to hire and scheduling meetings to see what their hiring needs are so that we can help them, with whatever it is that they need help with.

And it could be a long term relationship. It could be a hire that just needs to be filled really quickly, and then we could work with them again in the future. It is just an ongoing relationship building role as well, so. Yeah, and you wouldn’t have that as an internal recruiter, right? You don’t need to go find clients to recruit for, but that is part of the agency recruiter life.

Now, I know, Kierra, you recently got into recruiting. Let’s talk a little bit about what transferable skills you brought from teaching and that others can bring from careers outside of recruiting and what makes a successful recruiter? Yeah, there are a ton of transferable skills. And I think the more that I did research on recruiting, I noticed that I had a lot of things that were required to be successful in the role.

So one of the big things is communication. You need to be a good communicator, clear communicator, and not afraid to talk to people. Another thing that people don’t really realize is that teachers deal a lot with metrics daily and tracking data and diversifying needs of people. And I think that was something that was really transferable and something I could speak on during the interview process, is that, we do a lot with metrics and we do a lot with goals and making sure our goals are hit and that people are being managed appropriately based on their different needs, which is similar to recruiting. But, I think there’s a lot of transferable skills and I think a lot of roles have these transferable skills and what other transferable skills could you leverage if you were not a recruiter?

Yeah, I would just say, you know, I definitely see where you’re understanding your students needs in the same way we as recruiters are understanding our candidates or our clients needs and where that can be certainly transferable. And then my wife’s a teacher, so I know she is very, very organized. So, you know, big on lists. You know, to do lists, checklists, candidate management and an applicant tracking system, you know, leaving notes to remember what you did and what you need to do.

So obviously that’s going to be huge. And I think another thing is you need to be intrinsically motivated and consistent to be a successful recruiter. Like, you really have to love the process of recruiting. That’s getting on the computer every morning, sourcing, screening, submitting candidates, like you have to love that part of it, and not just like the end result of making a placement, or hiring someone that your company really needs.

If you’re so caught up in that end result, you’re going to get burnt out. You’re not going to enjoy logging on every morning. And it’s going to be hard to ride some of the roller coasters of recruiting that we have when you know, a client fills a role with an internal candidate. Or someone that applied to their job post. Or you have a candidate that rejects an offer.

So, you know, there’s ups and downs that you have to deal with. And unless you really love the day to day of recruiting, it’s going to be tough. Yeah, the lows are definitely low. So that’s something you’re going to have to prepare for. Yeah, and the highs are really high. But, you can’t control what somebody is going to do.

And sometimes that can be really frustrating, because if you’re expecting someone to show up for an interview, and they don’t, or an offer falls through, like those things are really frustrating to deal with. And it’s something that is going to be something you’re going to want to think about. And it’s something that you can push through because it is all about being resilient and self motivated, to be successful in this role.

But as far as what you can do to prepare also, I did some LinkedIn premium free classes. So you get LinkedIn premium, I want to say for like 60 days, 30 days for free. So you can take free courses. I did some recruiting courses. I think they were good for the foundation of what I would be doing day to day but I think there’s also a lot of free resources on youtube. And videos like the ones we’re providing, can also be helpful for understanding the role some more.

But was there anything else that you had in mind as far as what other people can do in order to prepare for the transition? Yeah, I mean I’m a big Youtuber, so, whenever I want to find, learn something new, that’s usually something I go to. It’s easy to consume video learning. And there’s tons of resources on recruiting. Also like if you’re trying to find a specialization, like, do I want to recruit for tech roles, or do I want to recruit for sales roles?

Like you can go on YouTube and find out more about those professions in addition to like recruiting specific resources on that. Yes, I agree completely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today on Cracking the Career Code. Go check out for more content and follow us on LinkedIn if you are not already. Thank you. Thank you.

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