How to choose a recruiter career path

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By The Fetcher Team

How to choose a recruiter career path

12 mins read

Finding you recruiting career path
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A recent Udemy report shared that recruiting is a surging HR & talent development skill. Udemy noticed a 145% growth in consumption of recruiting courses from 2017 to 2021. Companies depend on recruiters, but as you reflect on recruiting, it may not be your end goal.

Recruiters learn skills that will take them far in HR and other business roles. Let’s uncover:

  • The exciting career opportunities that exist for recruiters.

  • How to pick the right career path.

  • How to take advantage of training opportunities in and out of work.

6 HR-Specific Career Paths for Recruiters

If you are already in recruiting, you’re likely interested in continuing your experience by going with another talent acquisition career path. There are many options, depending on your experiences and the training you undergo.

1. Consider different areas of recruiting

One of the most accessible career transitions a recruiter might consider is looking into different recruiting areas. For example, you could move to an in-house recruiting role if you are currently working for a recruiting agency. If you work in a general area of recruiting, you could try specializing in recruiting students or people from diverse backgrounds. Each of these recruiter career paths could be highly rewarding, depending on how much you enjoy working in the recruiting industry.

Building your recruiting career might take some skill, but this process will give you a more well-rounded experience as you look toward managerial and director-level roles.

2. Human resources business partner

As companies get larger, they need strategic partners who can understand the needs of managers, HR departments, and employees. Companies with thousands of employees have a lot of voices to consider, and a human resources business partner helps the business understand what everyone’s saying. HR business partners handle many tasks across the company, from conducting investigations to workforce planning.

To become an HR business partner, you must first work on general HR knowledge. You might want to become a generalist and gather an understanding of HR at different levels. Most companies expect you to have about five years of HR experience if you are going for HR business partner roles.

3. Diversity, equity, and inclusion leader

According to a Glassdoor survey, 76% of candidates find diverse workforces important when evaluating companies and job offers. Recruiters impact how DEI works in an organization, but there are roles designed to make a larger impact. The field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at companies has various job titles that need to be filled. Whether you want to be a diversity coordinator at the individual contributor level or a Chief Diversity Officer at the executive level, there’s room for you.

Most recruiters have a Bachelor’s in HR management or business administration. These degrees will likely serve you in your role as a DEI leader. However, if you’d like to lead, there is a chance you’ll want to go back for a more advanced degree like a Master’s to continue your education.

You could also consider an addition to your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification by getting one of SHRM’s specialty credentials. For example, the Inclusive Workplace Culture specialty credential is a perfect addition to your education as you consider DEI leadership.

4. Director of talent acquisition

If you enjoy recruiting, your best career move might be in a leadership position in talent acquisition. Talent acquisition is a strategic position that works on how to bring in more candidates long-term. While recruiters mainly focus on filling an open role, talent acquisition leaders think about things like:

  • Creating an employer brand.
  • Managing recruitment partnerships.
  • Building out a talent pipeline.
  • Planning out long-term hiring needs.
  • Analyzing hiring metrics and making adjustments to improve them.

You’ll likely start your journey to director by working in recruiting in some capacity. If you can, try seeking out a recruiting manager role to get some management experience before going for a director-level position.

5. HR Director/Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

If you want to get outside of recruiting, try something more general by going to an HR director role. These individuals direct every aspect of your company’s HR efforts, not just recruiting. They lean on help from different specializations within HR and are a forward-thinking member of a company’s executive team.

Before you get to HR director status, you’ll need to put in some work first. Many HR leaders started as HR generalists and then moved into managerial roles. According to SHRM, you’ll want to have at least 15 years of HR experience before going for a CHRO role.

6. Career counseling

If you’d prefer to work with candidates before they officially start looking, you might consider becoming a career counselor. HR professionals make great career counselors because they know what makes candidates successful.

Career counselors work in a variety of places. You often see career counselors in schools helping high schoolers and college students. Career counselors can also work at staffing agencies, social services offices, and own private practices.

To become a career counselor, you’ll want to go for continued education. You’ll need a Master’s in counseling to make this a viable career choice. If possible, you should consider getting your counseling degree with a specialization in career development.

How to pick the right career path as a recruiter

With so many career opportunities, it might be challenging for you to think about your next move. Here are some tips to help you pick your next career move:

Consider your favorite parts of the job

One of the best ways to determine your next career move starts by thinking about why you like (or don’t like) your current job.

Write down a list of what you enjoy and want to continue doing in your next career move. Next, write down a list of what you don't enjoy and would like to stop doing.

Maybe you love connecting with people but don’t enjoy cold outreach. Are there jobs where you can connect with people after another party has qualified them? Are there jobs that allow you to communicate with people when they want to hear from you? Review other recruiter job descriptions, or job descriptions for the area you are interested in pursuing.

Once you understand what you love, you can look for jobs that match those experiences.

Shadow other departments and job titles in your organization

If you are having trouble finding your next role, shadow your colleagues. No matter your next job, your company likely has a person you can follow or connect with for a career development talk.

Here is a potential script you can use to email a colleague:

Hi [Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I am a recruiter for [Your Company]. I am considering my career development options, and [Desired Role] caught my attention. I would love to shadow you or grab a coffee sometime in the next few weeks. Can we coordinate a date? I'm available on [date] and [date].

Let me know and thanks for your time, [Your Name]

Once you have a confirmed date, you must consider the questions you’ll ask. Your colleagues are busy, and they can’t do your job for you. Ask specific questions about their career, what they like about it, and how they got there.

Read and analyze performance reviews for strengths and weaknesses

Your performance review is an excellent source of information about your strengths and weaknesses. While reading and learning from them can feel stressful, it’s a great way to understand how you can improve.

As you read through your reviews, consider how your skillset can help you in the future. You may not realize what you need, but you might have a good idea based on shadowing coworkers. How do your strengths and weaknesses impact your career transition? Connect with your manager and colleagues to uncover more of your hidden talents and potential pitfalls.

How to tap into training and professional development opportunities

Once you understand where you want to go, it’s time to get serious about training and professional development. Your career is a journey, not a destination. You’ve already identified the path you want to take. Now it’s time to pursue the skills and education you need to get there.

Analyze the job description for roles you want

It can be challenging to understand the gaps in your training and development. One of the easiest ways to get a crash course in what you need to know is to analyze job descriptions.

Open up a spreadsheet or an empty document. Go to Indeed or LinkedIn and analyze 5-10 job descriptions of a job you want. What skills, education, and experience are required? Write everything down in your spreadsheet and compare. What requirements keep popping up? How does your current skillset compare? Once you understand that, you can start looking for opportunities to strengthen your skills in those areas.

Attend free learning and growth opportunities

Before you spend any money, look into free learning and growth opportunities. For example, many companies frequently put on free webinars or classes. You can also look for low-cost opportunities at your local community college or read books from the library. These simple learning opportunities can become a foundation you can build on later. Free or low-cost options can be effective if you take the opportunity seriously and practice what you learn.

Look into your company’s education and professional development budget

Once you understand where your skill growth opportunities are, find a way to fund that development. Your organization may have a budget for education and professional development. As you can tell, there’s a chance you might have to go back to school for some of your career path options and funding that can be expensive.

Check out your company’s benefits for a look at what the budget is and how to use it. Some companies may prefer you use your budget for something closely related to your job. Chat with your manager about your personal career development goals to see if you can utilize the budget in a way that makes sense for you and the organization.

Investing in education and professional development can be time-consuming. Your employer may allow you to work on your education during work hours if the class impacts your current career. If not, you may have to spend time outside of work to prepare and learn.

Raise your hand to work cross-functionally with other teams/departments

Getting into higher-level roles without more direct experience can be challenging. Instead of going in with no real-world training, work on getting opportunities to work with colleagues in different teams and departments.

Cross-functional work shows that you are a team player and keeps you top of mind for your colleagues. As a result, the next time they see an open role inside or outside your organization, they will be more likely to send it to you. The employees must know your reasoning. Don’t hide the fact that you are interested in a career transition. Lean into it. When people know your goals, they can help you achieve them.

Make use of your recruiting time, so you have time and energy to learn

Recruiting can zap a lot of your energy. There’s always a new vacancy to fill, and the candidate pipeline is never large enough. You need to find the right tools that help you find the candidates you need while maximizing your time.

We know you are always helping others, but please take the time to help yourself. If saving time through recruiting automation can help you focus on the big picture, both personally and at your company, reach out to us to schedule your demo.

You’re on your way to the next stage of your career journey

Recruiting opens the doors to many HR career paths. Whether you want to stay in the human resources field or leave it, what you are learning now can be applied to many different career journeys. By embracing your strengths, learning, and taking forward steps, you can continue to develop and get promoted.

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