Here is What It Takes to Become a Recruiter [INFOGRAPHIC]

May 6, 2015

How did you end up becoming a recruiter? Do you remember the exact string of events and decisions that led to that career-defining moment?

Here at LinkedIn, we wanted to see for ourselves what is the road most traveled to becoming a recruiter, so we analyzed the member profiles of over 100k professionals like you. The findings were fascinating and you can see the highlights in the infographic below. Apparently, it takes a lot of years of hard work (10+ on average), some background in psychology, and the odds may be slightly in your favor if you are a woman.

Download our Savvy Recruiter’s Career Guide to find out even more about the career paths and possibilities ahead for recruiters.

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Here is the breakdown:

It all starts in college

Your college major is a telltale sign of your true passion. For recruiters, that passion is people, with the five most common majors being psychology, human resources, sociology, communications, political science and business (marketing, economics, business administration).

One interesting outlier that's lower down the list is computer science. It’s possible that recruiters who studied computer science first went into programming, then switched to become technical recruiters later in their careers.

First job out of school

After college, recruiters tend to go into sales, which is stellar preparation for talking to and closing candidates. While some eventually get a master’s degree, it isn't a necessity - only about 1 in 5 recruiters has one.

You’ve arrived - the recruiting promised land

Once you become a recruiter, you start to acquire many skills that don’t directly relate to recruiting. These include training, customer service, talent management, and employee relations.

To become a top recruiter, leadership and strategy are the essential soft skills you’ll need - those are the two fastest growing skills of top recruiters that aren’t found on the LinkedIn profiles of average recruiters. CEB agrees, as these are two fundamental traits of top performing talent advisors who know how to persuade hiring managers and influence hiring decisions.

From recruiter to HR leader, staffing partner, and beyond

Further down their career path, many recruiters eventually become recruiting and HR leaders, search firm leaders, or top exective recruiters.

In order to become an HR leader, you’ll need to close your own personal skills gap. For most recruiters, that means getting experience in performance management, employee engagement, organizational development, succession planning, and personnel management. A growing skill of HR leaders is workforce planning, which many recruiters will have an edge in, having helped their hiring managers plan for future hiring needs as well as present ones.

The bottom line: If you want to become a talent leader, you'll need plenty of experience in the industry. Talent leaders tend to have 2X the work experience that recruiters have.

Choose your own adventure

Being a recruiter is a starting point for many different career paths, HR leader being one of them. Now it’s up to you to pick your path.

To learn more about recruiter and talent leader career paths, check out our Savvy Recruiter’s Career Guide.

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