How does a new recruiter become an “A-list” recruiter? This thought is on the minds of many who are just beginning their recruitment careers.

I have spent more than ten years as a recruiter, with the last two-plus years working specifically in the Recruitment Process Outsourcing industry at Cielo. Never have I been surrounded by so many others who share the same passion and drive for recruiting. While several of my colleagues match or exceed my level of recruiting experience, many are new to the industry.

Cielo’s internal “university” for new and aspiring recruiters provides ongoing knowledge and training that tenured recruiters could have only dreamed of when beginning their careers. But not all recruiters are fortunate enough to receive this type of training and education within their organization. So with the goal of helping, I wanted to share five key takeaways from my years in the industry that I hope will be valuable to recruiters who are just entering the field.

  1. Ambiguity – Embrace uncertainty. The path from point A to point B is different with every requisition, hiring manager and client. It is up to you to choose the best path and make the right decisions to fill the requisition. For example, I recently started working on two requisitions for the same position. One is on the east coast, and the other is on the west coast. Both are located in highly populated metro areas and both are posted on the same nationally recognized online job boards. An abundance of qualified applicants applied to the position on the east coast right from the beginning. At the same time, the position on the west coast is struggling to get applicants. Despite being identical in every way except location, filling this position in the West will require me to spend more time sourcing passive candidates and exploring innovative recruitment marketing methods. There is no such thing as a sure bet.

  2. Assessment – Recruiters should assess their progress during and after filling every requisition. I recently dealt with a requisition where my Boolean search string was not pulling in many qualified candidate resumes. Instead of assuming that the candidates were not out there, I reassessed my keywords after further researching job descriptions used by other major players in the industry. These others were using different keywords to describe the same things, but their terms were more commonly used. With this knowledge, I tweaked my Boolean search string and was able to quickly find the candidates I was looking for. If your sourcing strategies are not working, assess what you can do to change, tweak or even overhaul your sourcing strategy.

  3. Adaptability – Conditions change quickly, The only thing that is constant is change.especially in mid- to high-volume recruitment. You must be able to think on your feet and adjust to new situations without letting it impact your ability to perform your duties. Hiring managers may change their description of the ideal candidate several times during the recruitment process. Candidates will unexpectedly decline job offers. Your adaptability as a recruiter is essential to persevere in these circumstances. Historically speaking, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus may have even dabbled in recruitment in the times of ancient Greece. Heraclitus is associated as the originator of the quote still used by many successful recruiters to this day, “The only thing that is constant is change.”

  4. Accountability – Recruiters are responsible for filling the requisition. Regardless of our recruitment tools, technology, processes or experience, all recruiters encounter problematic requisitions from time to time. Some factors can be positively influenced by taking a consultative approach. But other factors such as the economy, competition and geographic circumstances will lend you no control. Recruiters are expected to rise above obstacles and be accountable for filling each and every requisition. Hiring managers respect recruiters that take responsibility and “own” the outcome, including all the twists and turns along the way.

  5. Autonomy – The ability to work with little or no direction is something new to most entry-level recruiters. In most cases, you will be able to plan your day as you see fit. A co-worker was recently promoted into a Recruiter role after graduating from Cielo’s internal recruiting university. She told me that one of her first major adjustments was not having her day planned out for her. It was at her discretion to determine how much time she spent each day sourcing candidates, interviewing, connecting with hiring managers and so on. Many new recruiters find this freedom challenging, but a successful recruiter must learn to manage and be responsible for running their desk. Your results will speak louder than “time-spent.”

Embracing these five “A’s” will help new recruiters become A-list recruiters – true talent consultants who drive results for hiring managers and deliver incredible candidate experiences throughout the hiring process.


Post contributed by Jason Torgersen. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.