Learning the Ropes in Recruiting

Getting Started as a Recruiter: I’ve been a recruiter for a little over a year at this point, and it would be an understatement to say that I have learned a lot. When I think back to what I knew of recruiting beforehand I simply laugh. I had NO idea what recruiting really was, what it involves, and what it takes to be a successful. I’m not saying I know all of those things now, but I think I’m closer to the answers than before.


It’s all about who you know.

This is true for life in general, however in recruiting it should be The Golden Rule. A more senior recruiter would probably refer to it as networking, because that’s what it has been called for decades, but it was an important step in me getting started as a recruiter.

You build up a network of candidates with a particular skillset or in a particular company and then when you get a new position you can reach out to them for understanding on the job and ask if they know anyone who would be a good fit. Depending on your relationship with the person there are a variety of responses one could get.

The most common are “no I don’t know anyone looking right now” and “I can’t think of anyone right now but if I hear of anyone looking I’ll let you know”. These aren’t bad responses, but they aren’t particularly helpful either.

The thing I’ve learned is that the more the candidates enjoy talking to me the more they will want to share, the better our relationship is the more of a friend they will be. So in essence it is still “networking” that is happening, but instead of using that professional and sometimes scary label I prefer that in our minds and in our speech we treat the candidates we talk to like actual people, like friends, like someone you meet when you walk down the street.

Care about what they are telling you, care about their situation and hopes and dreams, invest time in learning about them and simply be their friend. It will be a very different experience for them and they’ll remember you because of it.

Definition of the word friend:

  • A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard
  • A person who gives assistance; patron; supporter


Creativity is intelligence having fun. – Albert Einstein

I’ll be honest, sitting in front of a computer and calling people 10 hours a day can get boring. It’s repetitive, it’s difficult, and at times can be painful. I’ve come to realize that the only way to be successful in this job, or any sales job for that matter, is to find a way to have fun with it. And that’s where creativity comes in and was an important self acknowledgment in getting started as a recruiter.

I like a challenge, I like puzzles, I like having to think my way through and around problems, so that’s how I make this job fun and motivate myself day in and day out to keep going. If I have a particularly difficult search going for a client that I am making no progress on I take a step back and try to look at the problem in a different way, from a different angle, I take the problem put it in a ball hold it in my hand and walk my way around it.

That way I can see if there are any alternate routes through to the solution. Also I take time to think about what my talents are and what I love to do and I find ways to make that a part of my day to boost my creative juices. I love writing, so sometimes when my brain needs a break I take 10 minutes and write an ad for a new position, or write a blog post, or even write a bit of different stories I’ve been working on. All to disconnect from the stress of a difficult day and to re-energize myself. Finding creative ways to have fun and get things done.

Hard Work

There is no substitute for hard work – Thomas Edison

The backbone of any successful person whether they are athletes, actors, politicians, writers, or businessman, is hard work. It is really the backbone of any civilized society. Though every country, culture, and generation has their own standards of what constitutes hard work, they all recognize that to go home at the end of the day, exhausted because you put absolutely everything you had into your job is rewarding.

Part of my childhood was spent growing up in the South, where hard work is normal, it is expected no matter what type of job you have. Farmers, bus drivers, teachers, salesman, doctors, businessman, everyone knows what a hard day of work feels like and keeps themselves accountable to that.

learning to be a recruiter

However in the day in day out grind of an office, it can be easy to lose sight of that. So I have printed out a sign that hangs in my cubicle to remind me, every time I go off course, lose my train of thought and start looking around I see this sign that says:

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. That’s the truth in any industry and any job, to be honest. 

Everyone is gifted and talented at different things, but just because someone has more relevant talent doesn’t mean I can’t be more successful than them. Instead I work harder and smarter and figure out a way to solve the problem that they can’t. That increases my skills and experience and makes me stand out amongst those that I work with.

Obviously these are just a few of the things I have learned in my first year as a recruiter, if I had to write out all of them this post would be never ending and you probably would have stopped reading a while ago.

I know I have significantly less experience than some of our other recruiters thankfully I get to sit in the same room with people that collectively have 100+ years of experience at this. And I’ve learned that the best way to absorb lessons is to observe what they do, everyone is different and has different style, techniques, and approaches. I observe everything and then figure out how to make it my own.

Because we have people with so many years of experience and with such unique skillsets and styles we can approach challenging positions in a variety of ways, allowing us to see things that other companies might miss. I am extremely grateful to have learned these lessons my first year in the business from the people around me and can’t wait to see what I learn next. So here is to another year of learning, growing, building relationships, figuring out ways to have fun, and to work hard.