Hello RBC!

I am new to the community and I wanted to start a discussion to graciously pick the brains of those seasoned recruiters in the industry. I have recently been approached by several recruiting companies in my area to join their ranks as a recruiter. I have been thinking about getting involved in the industry for about 9 months but kind of shrugged off the thought of switching industries up until now.

Now, I feel my move into the industry is imminent  I don't have any recruiting industry experience, however I do have 4 years of professional experience in finance/acquisitions after having graduated college. 

At the end of the day, I know I have to do what feels right, use my best judgment, research and prepare to properly make my next move. However, for those that have been involved and SUCCESSFUL for a while, what would your process have been when you first started to make sure you were joining a solid firm that would help launch you? How about an industry to focus on? Big firm with a training program or small boutique with a few people?

I know the market has changed considerably over the years, and there are endless searches to be conducted through Google on this very topic, but I was hoping to get some specific feedback that was up to date and most relevant to my impending career switch. 

Thank you in advance for your time and feedback. I look forward to integrating further into the community as time passes. 


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Hi Bruce, 

I think this is great question and agree it is wise to do your research and due diligence before making any decisions. It sounds like you are evaluating opportunities on the agency side. If so, I would suggest assessing those firms from the perspective of their potential client/customers. And/or also applicants/candidate. For example: 

If you were running a business would you trust these people to hire on your behalf?

Is their business model competitive and stable within their market niche?

Do they have a positive reputation or are they on the questionable side? Why?

Do the people that work there now impress, seem trustworthy and offer value for their fee structure? 

How stringent is their screening process for both internal employees of the firm as well as candidates being placed at client companies? 

What are their recruiting methods and what type of tools, technology and training do they use? 

What is the average longevity of their current staff?

Are their metrics and compensation/commission structures reasonable?

I'm sure others here will be able to add more tips for you. 

~KB @TalentTalks 

Hi Bruce,

Lots of factors to consider! As you probably already know, there are a myriad of types of companies. Why are they contacting you in particular - your background? 

I would consider what you feel your strengths and goals are, that might help you figure out which type of company would be most suited to you. 

There are also some companies that require you to sign lengthy employment contracts, etc. so that would be something I would be sure to find out about.

Excellent suggestions from  both Kelly and Amber. In addition, you might take a look at the recruiters there- are they like you? Are they mainly of one type of background (young whipper-snappers, old geezers) or a mixture? Do things seem too good to be true, or to be reasonable? Is autonomy important for you, and if so, do they seem to give it, or is it very formal/micro-managing? Are you open to a less-than ideal environment as the price to pay to learn useful things, or  do you need it to be both a good place to learn and a good place to earn? As a former veteran of many recruiting agencies (I haven't done that in a LONG time), my most important piece of advice would be to say:

Judge them by what they do, and not what they say.

If their words and deeds match what you're looking for- you may have found a home...

First and foremost, I would take a look at WHY you want to become a recruiter.  Recruiting is about matching people and jobs, yes, but more importantly, it's a sales job.  You are constantly 'selling'.  To clients, candidates, your boss, partners, strangers, old clients, friends, old friends, etc.  It's all about sales.  

I often am asked to speak to groups of HR students to talk about becoming a recruiter.  The points I hear most are because people want to 'help people' (this is a business, you work for the client NOT the candidate), people think they are great connectors (does your client think so?  Do you even have a relationship with them yet?), and the money.  Ah, yes, the money!  Of course there is money in recruiting!  There is money in ANY sales role.  

I would encourage you to explore the WHY you want to get into recruiting.  Depending on your role, you will have quotas, criteria, bosses, partners, etc.  You will be expected to work long hours, and be held completely accountable, and receive numerous rejections.  Once you get passed all that...I don't know how many years that will take, every company is different.....THEN you'll love recruiting!

Recruiting is a fickle business.  People operate their free will and you are left holding the bag.  You will have to be accountable for your candidates actions, your clients actions and your companies actions.  Not all companies are the same, and not all act the way we would like them too.  At the end of the day, it's all about the numbers (calls, meetings, submittals, starts, etc.).  If you don't hit your numbers, you'll be out.

All that being said, I love being a recruiter.  No one told me all those things I just mentioned.  It was money, glory, the 'gravy train' and more money.  The reality was 12+ hour days, low pay and constantly being critiqued (they called it 'care'frontation, confrontation with care).  NOW, my reality is working with clients that we choose to work with.  I am not held to a quota, but the business absolutely depends on how well I do.  My partner and I own the business so our interactions are a little different than when I started out.  We truly focus on the client and not just the numbers.  Every opening, every candidate, every employee matter to us.  That is (honestly) not true in the bigger companies.

Cut your teeth in a larger company.  The training you receive will be invaluable. Get your start.  Dig in.  Hold on for the bumpy ride.  When you come out of your rookie period, it will be great.  That 'rookie period' however, varies for every single person.  Figure out your WHY, then proceed accordingly.  

Good luck to you, Bruce, and welcome!

Hi Guys!

Thank you Kelly, Amber, Keith, and Linda so much for your time and thoughtful responses. The interview process is being initiated with a few different firms at the moment so I don't have anything solid to report. However, your contributions have been invaluable up to this point and I will definitely make sure to check back as things continue to progress. THANK YOU AGAIN!

Hi Bruce,

Here's my 2 cents :)

  • Training - go with a firm that's going to give you training. It's important to learn the daily proccesses/routines that it takes to be a successful recruiter. Some firms will expect you to figure this out on your own due to lack of support. Rule those companies out as an option.
  • Are they big on team work? This is good because as a recruiter we work both side of the desk, candidates/clients. When you get a job order from a client it can help move a deal along quicker when able to tap into your team for candidates.
  • Are you working on both the candidate and client side? Some assign you with one or the other and others go with both. Go with a company that allows you to do both. Your bank account will be happier.
  • What is the commission structure?
  • Recruiting tools are big. Do they have an ATS, CRM, etc. how do you manage your candidates and clients.
  • You asked about having a niche - I HIGHLY recommend this. Employers feel more comfurtable knowing that you specialize therefore are knowledgable in a certain industry/position. Plus it gives you the extra confidence that you know what you are talkinga about and can be an important resource to them.

I'd take these things into consideration when interviewing companies your considering to work for.Recruiting is a awesome career to be in and can be financially rewarding when good at it.

Good luck!


www.HootRecruit.com | A Simple CRM For Recruiters.


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