What is it like to be a Recruiter?
If you’ve been looking for a job in the past few years, you’ve probably had a job interview with a Recruiter. Recruiters are the connection between the business and the jobseekers. As such, Recruiters have to deal with the expectations and emotions of all the parties involved.
We asked Iva Vasileva to tell us more about what it is like to work in the recruitment industry. Iva is an experienced Technical Recruitment Consultant at BISAM, a FactSet Company as a Contractor from PFG Bulgaria.
- First, let’s clarify if there is a difference between a Human Resources specialist and a Recruiter, and if there is a difference, what is it?
Many people think that HR and Recruitment are the same. Even though Recruitment is part of HR as a whole, in the last years there has been a global trend of identifying Recruitment as a separate profession and therefore, a Recruitment Specialist role is quite different than an HR Generalist one. Recruiters are usually responsible mainly for the workforce planning, employer branding, talent attraction and selection and in some companies, onboarding of new employees. HR Generalists, on the other side, are more often engaged in payroll and benefits administration, training and development, onboarding, teambuilding events and many more.
- When we talked on Linkedin, you told me that you are specialized in IT and Telco recruitment. Why is important for a recruiter to be specialized in an industry and what are the differences between the recruitment in the different industries?
Being specialized in a particular industry is not a “must” for a Recruiter, but I would say it definitely helps. The fact that I have been working on roles in IT for over 2.5 years now has let me get a deeper understanding of the specifics of the industry, the market and what is significant for stakeholders in this sector. In addition, in order to be a good recruiter, you really need to “speak the same language” as the professionals you are working with and my belief is that you cannot be good at everything. Hardly anyone understands the specifics of banking, software development, restaurant management and a dozen more industries equally.
I have recruited students for an NGO, HR professionals for a Recruitment Consultancy company and many roles in IT from Technical Support Specialists to Engineering Managers and I have to say, it is a very, very different experience and often requires different skills in the Recruiter.
- Is it possible the Recruiter to work with specialists from different industries, e.g. IT and Finance?
Yes, it is definitely possible and a lot of recruiters are doing it. If someone is starting a job in recruitment, they should ask themselves what kind of service they want to provide. If they want to know the market in its depth and to have insights on the trends in this industry, then I believe it’s better to focus on one or two industries. If they want to be more flexible or meet with people from different background, then they should go with more industries at a time.
And also, if you are into IT and Finance in particular, why not work for a FinTech company – you kill two birds with one stone.
- How important is for a company to have a professional Recruiter to facilitate the recruitment process? Is it a job that another employee can perform?
When a company doesn’t have a resource for a recruiter, there is no other choice but to assign those responsibilities to whoever is in charge of HR (usually the HR Generalist).
However, I believe that having a person who is dedicated to recruitment is a really valuable asset to a company, especially one that is planning a bigger expansion of the team. The value that a recruiter can add is enormous when it comes to building awareness to the company’s brand as an employer, building a good recruitment process that will fit both the company’s and the candidates’ needs, as well as improving candidate experience which turns out to be a major factor in the recruitment efforts of an organization. This not only helps with the recruitment itself, but also has its impact on the employees’ engagement and retention and employee relations, to say the least.
- Please describe the working day of the Recruiter. What do you have to do every day?
Usually, my day starts with checking my mail, LinkedIn and the job boards that we use at my company. I spend some time in meetings with hiring managers to discuss the progress we have made, some challenges we are facing or a new role we will start working on. A portion of the day also goes to reaching out to potential candidates and posting job ads or social media posts to attract more applicants. On a daily basis I also maintain communication with past candidates and interview new ones. I also prepare some reports and keep our Applicant Tracking System up to date.
Even though this is not a must and I don’t have time for it every day, I also make sure to read the news so that I can know what new technologies or companies are becoming part of the “landscape” in the industry.
- Please describe the different phases of the recruitment process – from identifying the need of hiring a new person to the final signing of the contract.
- Is there a moment when the recruiter decides to reject a candidate or all the decisions are being taken by the manager?
Usually, most decisions whether to continue with an application are made by the manager. Even though I read about technologies and have a clear idea about what exactly we are looking for, a recruiter is not a technical person so it’s hard to always make a true judgment. However, the recruiter is there not only to source candidates and post job ads, but also to consult the company when it comes to choosing the right candidate. For example, sometimes a candidate might fit the profile perfectly in terms of technical competencies and experience, but wouldn’t be a good cultural fit for the team or company. In these cases, I believe it is important for the Recruiter to speak up and share their opinion and if this is possible, come up with a solution that will ensure both sides are content.
- What are the required skills and experience to become a Recruiter?
As far as I am concerned, one needs many skills from different areas to become a really good recruiter. You will need really strong people-related skills – this includes active listening, asking the right questions, being able to analyze the behavior of the candidate, and communication and consulting skills as a whole. You also need marketing and sales skills so that you can communicate the opportunities at your company in an attractive manner. Problem-solving is a huge part of the job too as you will face many challenges and need to come up with solutions so that the job gets done well. In addition, you will need computer and internet skills, some skills related to SEO, Experience with applicant tracking systems would definitely be a benefit.
The skill or more of a trait that I believe is most significant for my job is curiosity. If you are not curious to find out more about the company, role, technologies, candidate or channels you work with, you won’t be able to reach a deep understanding and you won’t be able to deliver a quality service. If you are not curious, most probably, recruitment might not be the right job for you.
- What are the career path options for a Recruiter?
The answer to this questions depends a lot on what you like the most about your job, but usually, Recruiters continue their career development with either a leading or management role in Recruitment, or they take on a role in HR as a whole – HR Generalist, Training, and Development, Employer Branding, etc.
Some recruiters might change their field completely and usually go to marketing or sales roles as they already have significant skills in these areas as mentioned above.
- How do recruiters get paid: a base salary + a commission per each hired candidate?
Usually, the salary of a recruiter working in an agency/consultancy company consists of a base salary and bonuses, based either on the number of hires or the revenue from these hires.
When it comes to internal recruiters, i.e. recruitment/talent acquisition professionals within the company they are recruiting for, the remuneration is usually a base salary. Of course, some companies might have a performance-based bonus system or other types of rewards in addition.
- What is the difference between being a Recruiter employed by a Product company, e.g. Coca-Cola, and a Recruiter employed by a recruitment company, e.g. Adecco? Which option is better for a junior Recruiter?
The main difference in the two jobs comes from the roles you are working on. Usually if you are working as an internal recruiter, you focus on similar roles and this gives you some stability – you know what you are doing and hopefully, you are good at it, whereas working in a recruitment company gives you flexibility as you have the chance to communicate with people from various companies, even if you are specialized in a particular industry.
When it comes to junior recruiters, I believe it’s better to start your career at an agency/consultancy company – this will give you the chance to see the differences in recruitment processes in many organizations (the clients you are working with) and give you more clarity on how you want to continue your career.
- What do you like most about your job?
Most people in this industry would say that their favorite part of Recruitment is communicating and getting to know a lot of people. Even though I like this too and this was the reason I started my career in Recruitment, what I love the most about my job is consulting. I love it when I am able to match the expectations of candidates to those of the company and vice versa. Compromises are sometimes needed in order for the organization to hire the perfect person for the role and especially in the IT industry, having an expert who knows the market well and is able to consult the company on the right channels for Recruitment, the specifics of the role itself, the salary ranges, the recruitment processes and many other might be the difference between a company that has successful hiring and a company that always faces enormous difficulties and doesn’t manage to execute its Recruitment plans.
- What you don’t like about your job? What kind of difficulties do you face?
Specifically, in IT there are a million things that might be quite challenging – from defining the exact profile you are looking for, to finding the right people and attracting them to apply for the role, to telling your candidate their application has been rejected.
There are times when most people are not looking for a new job. Who would think about interviews while they’re at the beach, right? These periods might be quite discouraging for recruiters and I would lie if I said my colleagues and I haven’t “begged” to have at least one interview a week in the midst of July.
Nevertheless, the thing that I dislike the most about my job is that it’s not all up to me – there are usually so many people involved in the recruitment process and everyone has their own idea of how things should be that sometimes it’s impossible everyone’s needs and aspirations to be satisfied.
However, acting as a consultant and not only as a recruiter really helps – you cannot imagine the satisfaction you get when you have helped both sides match their expectations and at the end, everyone is happy with the result. And so am I!
- Do you want to keep working in the recruitment industry in future as well?
Definitely! I love my job – it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and it is quite challenging too – I would be happy to continue working in this industry. Of course, I would love to take a look at an HR role (remember, Recruitment and HR are separate fields) but I want to leave that for the further future. For now, I believe I have much more to give and take in Recruitment, so I’m not going anywhere soon!