Good morning all,


I am a new grad who has been trying to break into the recruiting world for a while. What advice would you give to a person who is new to the recruiting field? I have been doing quite a lot of research, but I would like tips from different people who have been in the industry for a while. Thank you in advance!

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Comment by Paul Alfred on May 9, 2012 at 8:28pm

Sandra makes a good point about starting out as an internal Recruiter for an established company first.  If not look for a Large 3rd Party Agency $100 million in revenue or more - this way you get to learn one aspect of the role first sourcing where you support Account Managers by supplying candidates - here you get to learn sourcing techniques, interviewing, closing, reference checking - understanding how to read resumes and the terms with respect to the industry served IT, Healthcare, Bio tech etc ...   Hopefully you would be assigned a mentor. 1- 2 years doing this - you should have some fundamentals on working with candidates - why deals closed and why they did not  - Now it would be time to look at working on the Client Account Side - where you can learn about picking up clients, learning how to qualify a client and understanding and determining if a client's requirements are realistic - and more importantly understanding the client's competition and their market - where are you going to source candidates from etc.  This should be done with a mentor.  I would do all of  this for 5 years - If you still want to ride with the cowboys in the Agency business, you would now have a little experience to work with  and a better idea as to whether or not you are a candidate or client focused and eventually a master of both sides of the business.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 10, 2012 at 12:20am
Good luck Cristina let us know how it goes :)
Comment by bill josephson on May 10, 2012 at 7:49am

Cristina, I can elaborate but will hit the main themes.

Keep your personal expenses as low as you can.

Find a market niche where market demand outstrips candidate supply.

Be careful, skeptical--today many will be lying taking advantage of you for their financial benefit.....I'm referring to agency owners you're working for and company internal recruiters telling you what's in their best interests to know, not what the real situation is.  Not like the old days where you could take commitment/information given to the bank.  Think of it in terms of not gullibly believing every guy who says he loves you.

Know your market place/niche ensuring you proactively make savvy recruit niche decisions before becoming obsolete in the market place.  "Obsolete" is when companies don't need the service you're providing.

Remember that recruiting is a skin/mentally toughening how much adversity can you personally take profession.  Your emotions, nerves, sensitivities, self-esteem, will all be challenged.  You're only in control of your behavior, yet dependent on a client and a candidate's following through behavior to make money.  You control only yourself, yet depend on others out of your control.


It's why usually older people who've been successful elsewhere come to recruiting as a 2nd or 3rd vocation.  Knowing the ropes today, unlike 32 years ago when easier to be a learning rookie in different times, is advantageous, IMO.


Good Luck!

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on May 10, 2012 at 9:29am

And another on bites the dust....

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 10, 2012 at 12:33pm
Christina, the best advice I could give anybody before accepting any job is to do some research, find several people who have worked there and moved on to a different place. Contact them and see if they will tell you why they left, what it was like to work there, is management supportive, are people who have been there a long time helpful to new employees or are their turf wars. Keep in mind that those who have left may not have been productive so talk to several if possible and see if there is any common thread,; ie, "they told me they had good training, but that didn't happen. Etc.

Then if offered ask the firm owner or manager how many people have they hired in the past four years who are not there any longer and why they left. Again look for a common thread. If it is that they could not produce then ask how quickly they anticipate a new recruiter should be producing or at least covering their base.

If your reason for wanting to be a recruiter is that you like people don't do it.

If your attitude is you like to make things happen or fix problems, you can handle people and problems you probably have the mind set to have a good shot at being an effective recruiter. The biggest problem I have seen rookies have is getting bogged down with a candidate they like or feel sorry for or not being able to work with a candidate they don't like. Not getting emotionally involved with candidates or clients one way or the other will keep you focused on evaluating both the candidate and the job to make a successful match has worked for me.
Comment by pam claughton on May 10, 2012 at 2:36pm

I once applied to a recruiting firm as  a fresh grad and the manager told me that they never hire people without sales experience and that I should go get a few years of professional business experience in sales before going into recruiting. Best advice ever.  When I did move into recruiting, it was after having solid years of sales under my belt which makes this job much easier and also just having professional work experience too helps relate to job seekers, which is difficult to do if you've never gained any experience after college.


But, if you are determined to go into recruiting now, then know it's a sales job and find a company that has a good training program as that will make all the difference in the world. You don't want to be somewhere where people are going home crying....that is not normal in a top recruiting firm. I was fortunate in that I landed in a company that had great training and also good tenure. I'd ask about that too, as high turnover is not a good sign. Some turnover is normal as this job isn't right for most people, but there should be a core of happy recruiters that stay with the company.


Good luck!

Comment by Ben McGrath on May 11, 2012 at 12:59pm


There are several excellent individuals that offer training and information.

Find the successful leaders and see which one most closely matches your personality and apply those principles and theories.

Peter Leffkowitz, Shally Sterkl, Steve Finkel, Larry Nobles, all the people here, and many, many others will be people you can learn from.

Sandra also had good reality information when she said it is not a 9-5 gig. Be prepared to work at some odd times doing both research and calls.

Most of all perseverance is a big key. I'm glad to hear you say that nothing worth it is easy. You are absolutely correct. If this job was easy everybody would do it.

Best of luck and be sure to go to whatever sources necessary, to gain insight and acquire help, to hone your skills and lend knowledge and support.


All the best,


Comment by Elizabeth on April 29, 2013 at 6:06pm

I am a new Recruiter and new to Recruiting Blogs(so I am doing a little "blog stalking" LOL), I saw your profile when I was joining the CSP event coming up in May. I started reading your Blogs as I am new and wanted a little bit of an idea how this thing works and noticed this blog post. Very interested to hear what advice you have for me as now I am coming in as a new Recruiter and according to this post you are almost a year in! If you have any advice for me I would love to hear it. I work with a Technical Staffing Agency and I have been recruiting here for a little over 3 months.


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