“When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Recruiter”

“When I grow up, I want to be a recruiter,” said no one, ever.

Seriously, did any of us actually plan to be in this profession?  I love to talk to talent acquisition professionals about how they found their way into our world.  I have yet to recruitermeet anyone who had a master plan to become a recruiter.  We all kind of fell into it for one reason or another.  For many of us, like myself, it was a fantastic accident.  I have had a challenging and interesting 17 year career in talent acquisition and wouldn’t change a thing.

While some people join staffing firms out of college because they didn’t have a plan or others use recruiting as a gateway into an HR generalist career, the truth is there aren’t any real barriers to entry into our field.

While there are degree programs in human resources at many universities, very few offer any coursework in recruitment strategy or tactics.  Those that do offer the coursework only offer it as an elective, not a requirement.  Unfortunately, recruiting is often viewed, by those inside and outside the HR profession, as something that just about anyone can do.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Recruiting requires a specific set of skills and abilities.  Each function inside recruiting also has its own specific skill sets.  For example:

  • Sourcers require strong problem solving skills, research skills, creativity and extreme patience.
  • Client-facing recruiters require exceptional communication skills, the ability to learn business requirements quickly, negotiation and persuasion skills that rival the best sales people, and the ability to manage competing priorities and personalities with aplomb.
  • College recruiters require event planning skills, advanced presentation and persuasion skills and energy that is off of the charts.
  • Recruiting coordinators require attention to detail, multi-tasking skills and the ability to operate under pressure.

And, everyone in talent acquisition must have strong interviewing and talent evaluation skills.  They must also fully understand the company culture and be able identify individuals who will, and who won’t, thrive in that culture, regardless of their skill set.  How many people do you know that were born with great interviewing skills?

We need to work together as talent acquisition professional to build true profiles of success in our profession.  In addition, we need to build true career paths and career development opportunities.  We need to make it a career with requirements for entry and improve the view of talent acquisition among those outside our world.

Stay tuned for future posts on my ideas on who to do this.

About Kara Yarnot

Kara founded Meritage Talent Solutions to provide tailored talent acquisition solutions to employers and employment services companies. Kara has over 17 years of leadership experience in talent acquisition and recruiting for several FORTUNE® 500 organizations, including Boeing, Intel, and SAIC.

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