What Most People Don’t Understand About Recruiting

Many people start a career recruiting accidentally, because they aren’t sure what else they want. As such, there’s a common misconception that recruiting is a stepping-stone job that almost anyone can be successful in.

What most don’t realize about recruiting, however, is that screening resumes and scheduling interviews only scratches the surface of a modern recruiter’s smorgasbord of responsibilities. Recruiting is a career in its own right, and it’s not one that just anyone can excel in, especially in today’s competitive talent market. Rather, the best recruiters recognize and employ a wide range of skills from sales, marketing, and customer success.

Sales

Only a few years ago it was the employers’ market. Demand for jobs exceeded the supply of open positions, and companies could let the talent come to them. Today, it’s the candidates who are in control and companies are duking it out to employ top talent. Recruiting isn’t about the administrative work of managing volumes of resumes and scheduling anymore, it’s about being able to sell an opportunity and convincing someone to choose you over the competition.

Recruiters are tasked with selling the vision of a career and the company. Just as sales reps engage in discovery in order to understand a potential customer’s needs and pain points, recruiters do the same. After discovery, salespeople tailor their sales pitch to emphasize the points that will make that person more likely to buy. Paolo Casumbal, Lever’s first recruiter, spends a lot of time strategizing on how to tailor the pitch. “I need to make a case for how the company and career maps to the candidate’s motivations.” The best candidates are looking for a company they believe in, all-star colleagues, and challenges that will keep them engaged every day. If the recruiter doesn’t sell the career and company well enough, they’ll lose to a competitor.

Marketing

Traditional recruiting focuses on efforts that go into candidates who are already in the active pipeline. But there are two major, less obvious areas that the best recruiters strategically own using methods from marketing: building an employer brand and generating leads.

Top talent wants to work for the best companies, and they rarely apply through job boards, so deliberate building of the employer brand and lead generation is required to get them to even know you exist. Since marketing departments are focused on branding and lead gen for sales, recruiting gets de-prioritized, requiring the high-performing recruiting teams to become marketers themselves.

Top recruiters focused on employer marketing will take on extra responsibilities from attending conferences as company brand ambassadors, to empowering employees to speak at public events and write blog posts, building compelling company profiles sites like on AngelList, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor, and more.

Customer success

Customer success reps and recruiters alike are constantly balancing client expectations and trying to deliver on results. For a recruiter, client relationships that require constant attention involve hiring managers, the hiring teams, and of course, candidates. Hiring managers and hiring teams are the internal stakeholders or ‘clients’ that have expectations. “It’s the recruiter’s job to manage expectations around timelines to hire, quality of candidates, and the number of interviews being conducted, to always make sure the client is satisfied,” said Paolo. As for candidates, the best ones have their choice of employers, so one poor interaction can be the difference between closing out a req or starting from scratch.

Keeping such a varied range of clients happy takes a lot. Recruiters are constantly setting candidate profile expectations, scheduling interviews, and managing communication across multiple roles and dozens of people. Simply fielding questions from a few candidates or scheduling an interview panel with several busy coworkers can consume hours in an already packed day. When you account for recruiting for multiple roles, the customer success aspect of a recruiter’s day can be enough for one full-time job. For recruiters, it’s often just one facet of their many responsibilities.

More than process tracking

It’s a recruiter’s job to find top candidates and sell them on the vision of a company. To build a company’s employer brand so the best people want to work for them, and to keep the stakeholders who are invested in each role satisfied and engaged in the process. It’s a lot to juggle. But for those who can find a way to juggle it all, recruiting is a dynamic, challenging, and exciting career.