What is the best thing about being a recruiter?

I sat down with our Recruiting Team Lead, Sarah Safley, to ask her about her role as a talent acquisition specialist. Her answers are below.

What is the most rewarding part of being a talent acquisition specialist or recruiter?

This one is easy for me. The most rewarding part of being a talent acquisition specialist is when you find the perfect position for your candidate and it changes their life, not only for their career path but for many other reasons. A new job for someone can mean much more than just a new job. It can provide more challenge, a better team, a better commute, more flexibility in their schedule and much, much more. I have placed over 700 people in the past 10 years and have some of the most rewarding stories from my candidates. Like when a candidate calls to thank you for finding him the best job, which led him to meeting his now wife! :)

So, you're pretty much a matchmaker! What is the biggest challenge (or challenges) you face in doing your job?

The biggest challenge is that people are human beings with real lives and real stories. They aren’t widgets that are all the same. Each person comes with a different level of expectations and requirements when searching for a new opportunity. It takes not only getting to know the individuals career strength but also getting to know what is most important to them. For instance, is it health insurance, location, flexibility or the team environment? It is being able to really build a relationship to get to know each individual and what is important to them in their next opportunity. Another challenge is the ever changing technologies. Just when you think you have figured a technology out, they change it, add a new version or features. It is a constant learning curve and you have to be able to work fast and think on your feet and really enjoy learning new things.

What skill (or skills) do you use every day?

There are a ton of skills I use everyday as a recruiter! Time management, organization, patience and persistence. Oh and don’t forget…negotiation.

What type of person excels as a recruiter?

Someone that is a good listener, enjoys getting to know people and their stories and also someone that is good with follow up! This position can be challenging for many reasons, so you have to be patience and thorough each day. This includes timely SLA’s on returning emails and phone calls, scheduling interviews and qualifying new job orders. Someone with thick skin who has a passion for relationships but isn’t afraid to set boundaries. Otherwise, you can fall behind and/or get bull dozed.

How should someone prepare for a career as a talent acquisition specialist?

Given that hiring and recruiting is all about people - get to know them! Network. Talk to people about their jobs and talk to hiring managers about what makes someone a great fit. I also recommend getting really good at using LinkedIn search and learn how to use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Learn how to research and do Boolean searches. Learning industry terms and job descriptions can help you place the right candidate with the right skills in the right job.

Are there any common misconceptions about what being a talent acquisition specialist or recruiter?

I think the biggest misconception is that it is an easy job. It is the exact opposite. We aren’t curing cancer or building the newest application, but we are finding the people that will do these things. The other misconception is that we don’t care about people; we just care about filling the seats. That may be true for some, but the majority of the talent acquisition specialists that I know truly care about people and their careers and are true advocates for the candidates that we represent. We are not only a free set of eyes in this crazy, ever changing market, but we are also a sounding board, often times set realistic expectations and provide guidance for our candidates.