Recruiter Job Description and Career Overview


Recruiter Job Description and Career Overview

Think you might possess a talent for discovering talent? If so, you could make a good recruiter.

Recruiters act as employment matchmakers. They help job seekers identify opportunities, and they assist companies in finding potential workers that suit their needs.

Within this HR career path, two common employment scenarios exist for recruiters. Some get hired by companies that employ their own team of recruiters. Others work for third-party recruiting/staffing agencies to fill positions on behalf of various clients.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies recruiters as part of the category “HR Specialists,” a field projected to grow 5% from 2018 to 2028. The median annual wage for an HR specialist is $60,880.

If you’re interested in becoming a recruiter, the following overview provides basic information on what it takes to get started and what’s involved in building a career.

Recruiter Job Description

People informally refer to recruiters as “headhunters” because their job is to search diligently for the best candidates to fill open spots. Hunting may involve actions such as:

  • Learning as much as possible about the employer and the role in order to figure out what’s pertinent to a successful match
  • Gathering potential applicants through strategically posting jobs, scouring resume databases, seeking referrals, attending job fairs, visiting colleges, and the like
  • Screening, interviewing, and testing candidates to get to know them and what they bring to the table
  • Verifying credentials and references
  • Making hiring recommendations or decisions
  • Working with the employer and chosen candidate to reach a mutually satisfying job offer

Training and Qualifications for Recruitment Careers

Recruiters tend to hold a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related area. Certification can increase employment options and pay. The Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) awards the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) to people who meet specific educational and experience parameters and pass a comprehensive exam demonstrating mastery of various industry concepts.

Recruiters who work in a specific area of expertise benefit from an understanding of that discipline. For instance, a technical recruiter well-versed in industry knowledge and concepts may have an easier time grasping what a certain engineering position entails and explaining the role to a prospective employee.


Strong networkers with a knack for connecting and conversing with individuals from a range of backgrounds tend to perform well in recruitment careers. Beyond excellent interpersonal and communication skills, there is a sales component so a recruiter’s job description. The bottom line of recruiting is pitching a prospective candidate on a certain position at a specific company, so the ability to connect with applicants can make or break a deal—especially when trying to fill spots where employer demand is high and available talent is limited.

A keen eye for detail helps with evaluating applicants’ qualifications, as do inherent “instincts” on someone’s potential fit with a company and its culture. Hard skills beneficial to modern recruiters include a thorough understanding of automated applicant tracking systems (ATS), online search methods, and social media.

Developing a Recruitment Career

While there’s no one route to becoming a recruiter, people often come to the position with resumes demonstrating previous success in sales, customer service, or other jobs involving significant interaction.

Joining groups such as the Society for Human Resource Management and the American Staffing Association can help newcomers learn about the industry and connect with other professionals.

Finding Flexible Recruiting Jobs

Exploring the FlexJobs database is a great way to learn about opportunities. You can find jobs at the entry-level to highly experienced (and everything in between). You can further refine your search with options such as part-time, flexible schedule, or 100% remote.

You’ll also want to check out our list of the best 100 companies for remote and flexible HR and recruiting jobs. Knowing which businesses support flexible work and frequently hire for recruiting positions can save valuable time when conducting a job search.


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Beth Braccio Hering, Writer, Freelance Jobs

Beth Braccio Hering has been a freelance writer for 20 years. In addition to extensive contributions to various Encyclopaedia Britannica products, her work has been published by outlets such as CareerBuilder, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter, Walt Disney Internet Group, and…Read More >

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