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Becoming an Excellent Recruiter

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What does it mean to be a recruiter? Basically, a recruiter is a person who finds qualified individuals to fill positions at top companies. He does this by perusing stacks of resumes and interviewing candidates to determine who is best for the job.

Why is a recruiter necessary?

One reason recruitment is important is because most companies waste too much time and money interviewing unqualified applicants and posting openings on job boards and in the newspapers. These are broad and general tools that are often ineffective at finding the right employee, especially with regard to top executive positions that require a unique blend of talent and experience.


There are two types of recruiters-the in house or internal recruiter and the contract recruiter. The internal recruiter works for the company, generally in the human resources department, and has a whole host of responsibilities in addition to recruitment. Typically, the internal recruiter is charged with hiring, firing, negotiating contracts, and helping to settle disputes. The contract recruiter, on the other hand, works outside of the company, often at an employment agency.


A headhunter is a contract recruiter whose job it is to locate highly skilled workers for top executive positions. Generally speaking, a headhunter will only search for applicants to fill positions that pay over $100,000 a year. One reason for this salary stipulation is that headhunters receive a percentage of the base salary as a fee, typically about a third. But their job is not an easy one because the pool of qualified individuals is generally small and the headhunter must often put in many hours before he finds the right man or woman for the job.

When to Hire a Contractor

Believe it or not, even companies that employ in-house or internal recruiters occasionally hire outside contractors. The reason for this is simple-contractors are generally better at recruiting. After all, that is the one and only thing they do. The internal recruiter, on the other hand, has many tasks to occupy his time and recruitment is only part of his job. When it comes to headhunting, i.e., locating top executives, the average internal recruiter simply doesn't have the skills or the resources to do the job.


As you might expect, a recruiter needs to not only be good at locating qualified applicants, but he must also be good at selling. That is he must sell the company to the right candidate, he must convince him why his client's company is a great place to work. To do this, a recruiter must know the company he is working for. Of course, he must know what the company is looking for in a new employee. Additionally, he must have a good understanding of what the position entails. Simply reading the job description will not be enough. Oftentimes outside contracts will actually speak with internal recruiters to get a better idea of exactly what they are looking for.

Another important part of recruiting is interviewing. A recruiter must know the right questions to ask. Some of these questions may be given to the recruiter by the company or client, and others are more candidate-specific. So, the recruiter must be intuitive and know when to ask these questions. That is why most recruiters, whether they're contractors or work for a large company, define themselves as good with people. The simple fact is that if you are not a people person you probably will not excel at recruiting.

As we mentioned earlier, a recruiter must also be a good salesman. This is the part of the job that is impossible to teach. After all, you are either born with this skill or you're not. Experience and on the job training might help you refine your technique and improve your delivery a bit, but chances are if you are not a natural salesman, you won't become one, no matter how hard you work at it.

Lastly, recruiters must be persistent. Yes, we realize persistence isn't really a skill. But it is essential to recruiting, because recruiting is hard. It is time consuming. It involves making hundreds, maybe thousands of phone calls, reading hundreds of resumes, and conducting dozens of interviews. Oftentimes, it will seem as if you are looking for that proverbial needle in the haystack. This is where persistence comes in.


Recruiters are expected to have earned a bachelor's degree in either business or communications. On occasion, people with strong sales backgrounds go into recruiting for obvious reasons.
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