9 Steps Recruiters Can Take To Get Promoted

June 1, 2015

Stab in the dark here – you want to be promoted. You’d love a role where you can have more influence over your organization and can help shape your company.

The question, of course, is how.

It isn’t guesswork. The following are 9 actionable steps recruiters can take to be masters at their profession and be on the short-track to a better title with more money and more influence.

They are:

1. Become a talent advisor, not a recruiter

The best recruiters aren’t only recruiters, they’re talent advisors.

What’s a talent advisor? A talent advisor doesn’t just take orders from a hiring manager and then fill a position.

A talent advisor knows the labor market, has data-driven discussions with their hiring managers and challenges them when appropriate.

Recruiters too often are treated as order takers. Talent advisors are seen as partners, with the hiring manager the subject expert and the talent advisor the hiring and labor market expert.

Talent advisors are promoted, recruiters aren’t.

2. Get along with hiring managers, really well

Along those lines, do you know the most critical factor to being a great recruiter? According to a study by Deloitte, great recruiters have great relationships with their hiring managers.

And, as mentioned in step 1, a great relationship doesn’t mean being a yes-person and doing whatever a hiring manager says. It means being a trusted talent advisor who has conversations like these with the hiring managers, showing your expertise.

3. Embrace the tools at your disposal

A carpenter can’t build a house unless he knows how to use a circular saw, a nail gun and how to read a plan. And a recruiter can’t build an organization unless they know their ATS and tools like LinkedIn.

LinkedIn data shows top recruiters are masters of LinkedIn – they both both know how to use it and are popular on it as well, with the best recruiters having 20 percent more connections than average. Additionally, the most-popular skill listed on top recruiters’ LinkedIn profiles (and not listed on regular recruiters’ pages) is ATS expertise.

So don’t fight against the tools you have. Master them and make them work for you.

4. Think strategically by looking at the big picture

One of the skills top recruiters – i.e. the recruiters most likely to be promoted - have on their LinkedIn profile that regular recruiters don’t is “strategy.”

So think beyond the day-to-day tasks and ask questions like “is this really the best way to do this,” understand what each task means to the company, figure out how can you improve hiring in the long-term, etc.

5. Know the whole organization

The top five skills that talent leaders have that recruiters don’t – performance management, employee engagement, organizational development, succession planning and personnel management – are all related to having a mastery of an organization, not just the hiring process itself.

Part of being strategic is thinking about how you can improve some of these things at your company. Granted, these might not be directly related to your day-to-day job, but thinking about them and adding to the discussion whenever you can goes a long way.

6. Stay abreast of the industry

This is also part of being strategic. If you want to be a leader, you have to know the industry. The easiest way to do that is to spend 30 minutes a day reading some of the industry’s top blogs and thought leaders to find out what’s working, what’s not and what’s on the horizon.

Some good ones to follow: ERE, TLNT, Wall Street Journal’s career section and, of course, ours.

7. Blog and post on social media

Fifty-four percent of talent leaders said improving their employer brand is a major priority for their company. If you want to be elevated to a higher role, it means you’ll have to be able to improve your company’s employer brand, and that includes blogging and posting on social media.

Start small if you have to, but the quicker you master creating an online presence, the faster you’ll be ready for a higher position.

8. Hire at all levels

One skill we saw consistently listed on top recruiters’ LinkedIn profiles is “executive search,” or that they are hiring for the highest levels of the organization. Perhaps this is a correlation instead of causation – it makes sense companies would put their best recruiters on hiring their highest-profile positions – but it’s worth noting.

But this is a mindset as well. If there is an opportunity to hire top positions, take it. If there isn’t an opportunity, make one.

A great way to get promoted is to nail a high-profile project, and for recruiters there are no higher-profile projects than hiring an executive.

9. Keep at it

I know, not very sexy. But the fact is the average talent acquisition leader has 19 years of experience – compared to 10 for the average recruiter.

So if you don’t get recruited within a few years, you’re not alone. But the longer you follow the first eight steps, the better chance you have of getting ahead.


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*Featured image by Martin Strattner