How to Become a Recruiter: An Entry Level Guide

Are you a people-centric person with a keen eye for finding new and exciting opportunities? Becoming a recruiter could be the perfect career path for you. Recruiters play a crucial role in the job market, acting as matchmakers between employers and job seekers.

In this article, we’ll look at the essential aspects of starting a career in recruitment, from the foundational skills required to the practical steps you can take to launch your journey. Whether you’re a recent graduate exploring career options or someone looking to transition into a new career, this will provide you with a clear roadmap to becoming a successful recruiter.

Is recruitment right for you?

Recruitment can be a deeply rewarding career for those who possess certain qualities and enjoy working in a fast-paced, people-centric environment. Before going any further, it’s vital to consider whether this profession aligns with your skills, interests, and career aspirations.

Key traits and skills

Successful recruiters typically exhibit the following traits and skills:

  • Strong communication – recruiters interact with a diverse range of individuals daily, including hiring managers, candidates, and colleagues. Effective communication, both verbal and written, is crucial for building relationships and conveying information clearly.
  • Listening skills – this is such a core skill that often gets overlooked. It is absolutely essential to be a good listener when working in recruitment as it is effective when working with both clients and candidates.
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence – understanding the needs and motivations of candidates is key to making successful placements. Recruiters should be able to empathise with job seekers and provide support throughout the hiring process, prioritising their needs and finding a solution that suits all parties.
  • Highly organised – managing multiple tasks simultaneously, such as scheduling interviews, reviewing applications, and negotiating offers, requires excellent organisational abilities.
  • Problem solver – Recruiters often encounter challenges during the hiring process, such as sourcing hard-to-find candidates or addressing hiring manager preferences. Being able to think critically and adapt to changing circumstances is essential.
  • Persuasiveness – Recruiting involves “selling” opportunities to candidates and persuading hiring managers to consider suitable candidates. A knack for persuasion can greatly enhance your effectiveness as a recruiter.

Common misconceptions

On top of the skills required, it’s also important to address some common misconceptions about recruiting. We’ve discussed many different roles with clients, so here’s some the most notable misconceptions we’ve seen from them:

  • “Recruitment is just about matching CVs” – whilst matching candidates to job openings is part of the role, successful recruiting involves much more, including relationship-building, negotiation, and problem-solving. Trust us – no two days will ever feel the same. Moreover, just because a CV says somebody can ‘do a role’ doesn’t necessarily mean that they will want to ‘do the role’ – recruiters need to be able to pick up on this.
  • “Being a recruiter is too fast-paced” – this is true and it will be fast-paced when you first start. However, when you begin to hone your skills, develop new connections, and begin to see the results, the work will come naturally and it will become incredibly rewarding.
  • “Being a recruiter seems too limited” – our personal favourite, this is just entirely untrue. Career progression is absolutely on offer, whether progressing into management or client account management. If you have the drive to build a career, recruitment can provide that for you.

What education and qualifications will I need to become a recruiter?

Whilst there isn’t a strict educational path required to become a recruiter, certain qualifications and educational backgrounds can enhance your prospects and equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills for success in this field.


Certain degrees will strengthen your core skills and traits needed for recruitment. Here are just a few of the most sought after degrees for becoming a recruiter:

  • Psychology or Behavioural Sciences – Degrees in Psychology, Sociology, or other similar subjects can be valuable for understanding human behaviour, motivations, and communication styles, which are critical in assessing candidate suitability.
  • Business Management – Business Management offers a broad understanding of business structure, management principles, and strategic decision-making, which are relevant in understanding roles for candidates.
  • Marketing – A Marketing Degree can be useful because it teaches skills in communication, persuasion, and understanding consumer behaviour, which are crucial for attracting and engaging candidates. Additionally, marketing knowledge can help with branding and creating job advertisements to reach new candidates.
  • History – History teaches you how to research, think critically, and analyse accordingly – all crucial when becoming a recruiter. These skills are incredibly important for dissecting candidate backgrounds and assessing their suitability for roles.

However, you don’t necessarily need a degree to start a career in recruitment. There are other options available, as listed below.

Certifications and courses

Obtaining relevant certifications or completing courses can also enhance your credentials as a recruiter. These are a great way to show initiative and show to potential employers you are committed to a career in recruitment:

  • SHRM certified – From the Society for Human Resource Management, this certification demonstrates your understanding of HR principles and can be beneficial for entry-level recruiters.
  • CIPD certified – From the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a CIPD certification shows you are a recognised human resources professional.
  • LinkedIn certifications – LinkedIn is a powerful tool for both networking and learning. These certifications validate your proficiency in using LinkedIn’s recruiting tools and can enhance your ability to source and engage candidates online.
  • Talent acquisition courses – Many online platforms offer courses specifically tailored to recruiting, covering topics such as candidate sourcing, interviewing techniques, and talent acquisition strategies.

Practical experience

In addition to formal education, gaining practical experience through internships, part-time roles, or volunteer positions can significantly boost your employability as a recruiter. Consider the following opportunities:

  • Explore coordinator roles – Entry-level roles like recruiting coordinator or HR assistant provide exposure to recruitment processes, candidate screening, and administrative tasks.
  • Internships – Interning with HR departments or staffing agencies can offer hands-on experience in sourcing candidates, conducting interviews, and assisting with onboarding procedures.

By combining relevant education with practical experience and certifications, you can build a strong foundation for a successful career in recruitment.

Importantly, the way you become a recruiter is entirely up to you. No way is considered the best, with each path having its pros and cons. Explore avenues that excite you and this will show in your work ethic.

Applying for recruiter positions and starting your career

Securing your first role to become a recruiter is an exciting step. Here’s our recommendations for making the best first impression on potential employers:

1. Tailor your CV and cover letter

Your CV and cover letter should focus on the job you’re applying for, and be tailored to best represent how you fit this specific role. This includes both the CV (highlighting your general skills, background, and experience) and a cover letter (a document explaining exactly why you think you’re a good fit for the job).

2. Networking and industry connections

All aspiring recruiters should be using LinkedIn to their advantage. LinkedIn is free and is the largest work-related social platform in the world.

If you prefer networking in person, you can always attend networking events to connect with businesspeople from various industries.

3. Nailing the interview

When you get an interview for a recruiting role, you should prepare for common questions related to recruitment, such as how you handle candidate objections, your approach to sourcing talent, and how you prioritise tasks.

Show off your understanding of recruitment processes and your ability to build relationships with candidates and clients. Most importantly, you should be showing the interviewer why they should invest in you, as your character is your unique selling point.

4. Career progression

Once hired, immerse yourself in the company’s culture and familiarise yourself with their recruitment procedures and tools. A lot of companies operate similarly, so the skills you learn in your first job will be valuable and transferable.

After you’ve settled in, you should seek mentorship from experienced recruiters at your company to find new career opportunities. Continuous development is key and you should always be proactive in trying to find it.

Becoming a recruiter: start your journey today

Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey as a recruiter? Whether you’re a recent graduate eager to enter the workforce or someone seeking a career change into a people-centric role, recruiting offers a fulfilling path where you can make a tangible impact on individuals’ lives and organisational success.

If you’re passionate about connecting talented individuals with great opportunities, we want to hear from you! Send us your CV and let’s explore how you can start your career in recruitment.

Share this article:

Related articles: