How Recruiters Get Promoted

RJ Morris Always Be Closing, Career Paths, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Kris Dunn, Recruiting, RJ Morris, Uncategorized

Like a lot of folks, I fell into recruiting. I did not go to college to be a recruiter. Instead, I wanted to be an astronaut. A life inside Corporate HR? Sure, it’s a close second.

Seriously, though, after 18 years in recruiting, one of the top questions I get asked is, “How can a recruiter get promoted out of the recruiter chair into something else?” KD hit on this a while back, looking at promoting a recruiter to the HR manager role. Here’s what he had to say:

… It stands to reason that recruiters are great candidates to be HR Managers. Of course, not all recruiters would make solid HR Managers. But many would. Here’s my list of the top three reasons why recruiters would potentially make great HR Managers, then my top three barriers that have to be validated before you would ever put a recruiter in the HR Manager role.

Why I love Recruiters as potential HR people:

  • Energy
  • Always Be Closing
  • Employment Brand Awareness

Things to check for

  • Patience
  • Judgement
  • Tolerance for Administrivia

KD’s list is good, but he’s looking at it from the hiring manager perspective. What about the recruiter who wants to get promoted, either into HR or somewhere else? Unfortunately, a lot of recruiters limit themselves by boiling their lives down to these six words:

Get a req, fill a req.

If that’s all they do, or all they think they do, then I tell them to settle in for the long haul, smile and dial. They are going nowhere—just trying to fill more jobs than yesterday. However, if a recruiter wants to get promoted, point them to the list below. Think of this as a recipe to position yourself for a bump, beyond just trying to fill more open jobs. Here you go:

– Process manage: Make things around you run better. Solve problems both within recruiting and in the business. This is baseline, first-level stuff.

– Analyze: Develop and perform analysis regarding the TA function, successful candidates, quality of hires, hiring manager batting average, etc. Show off some critical thinking chops.

– Generate content: Effectively communicate the analysis, results, changes to processes, etc. in writing to a group. Get ideas out of your head and in front of leaders. Show you can do more than just go 1:1.

– Improve hiring managers: Balance loyalty to your clients with challenging and teaching them. Elevate senior hiring issues to senior management, and coach like a son of a gun.

– Develop wide loyalty: Solve business problems for multiple people and groups, even the toughest hiring managers. You need people who will support the idea of you breaking into other fields.

Now, where you go from the recruiter role is based largely on the size and complexity of the organization where you work. In agency recruiting, you might move into sales, account management, or recruiting management. In the corporate world, you can head into a generalist role, recruiting management, or leave HR and head to marketing or BD. Regardless, just filling more jobs is not gonna get it done.  Be great at acquiring talent, but mix in these other key attributes.