Being a recruiter or talent acquisition partner can be a great career choice. In an organization where talent acquisition is a partner to the business you can work closely with senior leadership, you have a direct impact on the lives of many, and it doesn’t require a lengthy, costly degree or certification. That said, it’s not the easiest career to break into. Everyone wants to hire someone who can hit the ground running and contribute without too much training. The funny thing is, if you ask most people in talent acquisition how they got their start, it’s because they fell into it. It’s rare to meet someone who graduated college knowing they wanted to be a recruiter. And while there is a common theme of ‘wanting to help people’, they all seemed to have landed in talent by different means. If you’ve found yourself looking at your career and thinking I want to be in Talent then you’ll need to hack your way in.
If you want to be a great recruiter then there’s a few things you’ll need to know before you learn how to hack your way into talent acquisition. First, being a great recruiter is like being great at sales, marketing, and customer success all at the same time. You need to be able to speak to the different positions you are recruiting for and be able to sell the company to candidates. You need to be a great communicator by writing good copy (ie job postings) and craft emails/inmails that generate a response and you need to enable the people around you be it a candidate or manager to keep the process moving forward. Second, for every one person that gets a job, there are sometimes hundreds that didn’t. It never feels good to tell someone they didn’t get the job so you need to have empathy, but also the tact to deliver bad news. And thirdly, it can be a grind and unlike sales, there’s no commission when you seal the deal.
If that doesn’t have you questioning your career goal then here are 9 ways to hack your way into talent acquisition.
Start recruiting at your current company
If your team is hiring then you 100% should volunteer to help find your next teammate. Ask your current talent acquisition team to give you training and resources. This will give you first hand experience and you’ll get a better sense of what it’s like to be a recruiter. Go above and beyond hereby asking to schedule time with the recruiter to learn the screening process and understand how to use the applicant tracking system.
Build your network
Building your network is going to pay off in the long run, but connecting with job seekers can be your secret weapon. Spending time with job seekers in a particular industry will help you understand the types of candidates you’ll be interacting with. Try setting up a ‘mock’ interview with them. It will give them experience and you’ll get to know them better. If you meet some people who are great candidates you can put them in front of a recruiter and build credibility as a reliable source.
Network with recruiters
The more recruiters in your network the better. They make a living from connecting people together and when you’re searching for a job it doesn’t hurt to have a few people looking for you.
Know the tech stack
This is totally in your control. You should learn about different platforms, software, and tools that recruiters use on a daily basis. Don’t be shy - schedule demos with companies and talk to recruiters about the platforms they use.
Start with the process
Sometimes you just need to get some reps in. Instead of looking for a recruiter role, look for a coordinator or sourcer role. This is a great place to learn a key part of a recruiter's role and build your experience.
Join an agency (or work with one)
Agencies are a great place to start your career because you’ll get a high volume, hands on experience working with a team supporting all different types of companies. If you have experience working in a particular industry you can leverage that experience when building a client base.
Work in the industry
If you can’t get a job working as a recruiter, try working at a company that supports recruitment that will give you maximum exposure to recruiters. For example, you could become a customer success manager at an applicant tracking company like Greenhouse, Lever, etc. so that you are talking with recruiters and understand their problems and what’s important to them.
Asking good questions and being a good listener is a crucial skill to becoming a great recruiter. Reach out to recruiters and collect good questions.
Look for companies that are hiring a bunch of recruiters
You need to remember that you will always be going up against competition and you don’t know how good that competition is. You’ll have a better chance of getting a job at a company that has multiple openings for the same position. You can ace the interview, but it might come down to you and another candidate who also aced the interview and has more experience than you. Companies factor in things like how long it will take to ramp up a new hire etc.
Build something that helps Recruiters. This could be a list of places to post
specific jobs in a field, it could be starting a podcast like The Talent Bubble or maybe it’s compiling a list of free resources that will help recruiters do everyday things more quickly.
If you are working in another field but want to break into hr, people operations, or talent acquisition, then you might need to hack your way in. If you’ve already hacked your way into a recruiter role by doing something that wasn't mentioned on this like please let us know.
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