A recruiter interviews a candidate

So you want to be a recruiter?

Recruiting can be a rewarding career choice for a variety of reasons. There is a high earning potential. You get to work with people and help them succeed. If you handle multiple clients in different industries, there are endless learning opportunities.

As with any other industry, recruiting also has its challenges. Regardless of where you work, you’re bound to have ups and downs. Also, dealing with people can sometimes be unpredictable — although that might be part of the appeal…

In the end, where you work and what you do will determine what a recruiting job will look like for you. No two recruiters’ days are alike, as you’ll see below.

Where recruiting professionals work

HR departments provide a slower-paced, lower-pressure environment with opportunities for building relationships and a greater sense of purpose and belonging.

Staffing agencies, on the other hand, tend to be fast-paced and competitive. External recruiters seeking candidates for clients in multiple industries can earn up to US $200,000 a year (salary plus commission).

Last but not least, freelancing provides the most flexibility and pays well, too. (Freelancer recruiters typically charge a placement fee of 15% of a new hire’s salary.) In most cases, recruiters who become freelancers have built a wide network of contacts during their time in corporations or staffing agencies.

What recruiting professionals do

These are the different roles within the recruiting industry.


Among the duties of a recruiter are managing staffing needs; creating recruiting strategies; reviewing candidates; overseeing interviews, and following up with new hires.

In small companies, where Human Resources are single-person departments, recruiters do it all. In larger companies, a recruiting professional might be able to focus on just one of the stages of the recruitment life cycle.


The aim of sourcing is to find qualified, interested, and available candidates for open (or soon-to-open) positions.

Because it’s such a specialized job, and because recruiting encompasses many other activities, some companies opt to hire a dedicated sourcer. This frees up the recruiter to organize recruiting processes, conduct interviews, and more.

Other roles

Other possible jobs in the recruiting industry include recruitment coordinator; recruitment manager; recruitment marketing manager, employer brand manager, technical recruiter, campus recruiter, and executive recruiter — you can learn more about them here.

Recruiting skills and personality traits

In Recruiting 101 – The Fundamentals of Being a Great Recruiter, recruitment expert Steven Mostyn lists fifteen skills he believes are essential for recruiting professionals. They include relationship management, business intelligence, personal branding, cold calling, and continuous learning.

But skills aren’t everything. Jonathan Kidder, senior technical recruiter and author of “Launching your Recruiting Career,” suggests taking personality tests, especially the Enneagram type indicator test and the CliftonStrengths talent assessment to learn more about your communication style and strengths.

Depending on your results, he says, you may be more suitable for one type of recruiting job than another.

Getting into the industry

According to Kidder, you can get into the recruiting industry without prior experience. He recommends doing informational calls to learn from other people in the industry and build your network before you start applying for jobs. 

So you want to be a recruiter?

Do you enjoy working with people? Recruiting will enable you to meet new people every day. Do you enjoy learning? In recruiting, there are plenty of opportunities to learn something new, whether it’s about a specific company, industry, or tech tool.

Speaking of tech tools, you might want to try the recruiting professional’s essential tool for communicating with candidates. To try it free for 30 days, just click the button below.