How to Become a Better Recruiter Right Now

December 20, 2017

As the end of 2017 approaches, I started thinking about how I can be a better recruiter next year. We all want to improve, but sometimes it’s pretty tough to find a few easy things we can implement right away.

So to help out, I’ve put together a list of nine activities I have tried throughout my career that have helped me improve and you can try. I know I will definitely be adding them all to my 2018 goals list, too. 

Be open to new tools and systems, or improve the ones you already use 

The way you're working and the tools you’re using can always be improved. It’s very easy to just say no to approaches from those aiming to sell recruitment tools, but I take the stance that it can’t harm having a demo.

This is a great way to keep in touch with tools in the industry and hopefully you’ll find something better than what you’re using. Sometimes it can feel impossible to change a system (especially when many people in your company rely on it daily) but if you give constructive feedback, research the alternatives and get others to do the same, you can make big changes.

Use surveys to gather feedback from your candidates and hiring managers

Survey data from your candidates and hiring managers is essential—after all these are your customers. If you’re not gathering this data, here’s a super easy way to start. After a candidate finishes your interview process (whether rejected or hired), aim to gather quantitative and qualitative data through an NPS score and a comments box.

For example, you could ask candidates “on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most likely), how likely are you to recommend interviewing with [x company] to a friend?” Then provide a comments box and ask them to explain their answer. Once you’ve gathered a baseline over a quarter, then you can aim to constantly improve quarter over quarter.

Shadow other interviewers to pick up new techniques

It’s so easy for a recruiter to fall into the same pattern when screening or interviewing candidates. But I’ve found that the best way to pick up new questioning techniques, ways to sell a position or even just tips on how to start a conversation can come from shadowing other interviewers. I’m not going to lie, this can feel a little awkward. But if you can push past that you’ll reap the rewards (I promise!). Ensure you reciprocate the offer to clearly show you’re doing this for the benefit of both of you.

Sit among the teams you hire for

When you think about it, it is a little odd that recruiters will more often than not hire for teams that they don’t interact with on a daily basis. So, request to sit among a team you recruit for. For example, at EA I spend 2 days of my week sitting in our studio (Criterion) and the value is incredible. I can genuinely speak to candidates about what it's like to work in the studio and in turn recruit better talent.

Take a course online

Thanks to sites like Lynda, Coursera and Udemy (to name a few) there are so many ways to embark on a free online course. You might be thinking, what course should I do? The role of a recruiter is varied and requires a whole bunch of different skills, try looking at courses in online marketing, negotiation tactics, leadership, diversity, presentation skills, process management or sales.

Another idea is to try and become more knowledgeable in the field you hire for most often. I hire for a lot of Software Engineers for example, and I’ve found it super useful to take coding courses on Codeacademy.

Consume content with your eyes and ears

A few months ago my commute changed from getting on an underground train to driving my rather cosy Citroen C1 to the office. No longer could I read the amount of books I used to, so I entered the amazing world of podcasts.

Consuming the right content habitually is key to learning. My top podcast recommendations are Recruiting Futures, HBR IdeaCast, TED Radio Hour and Freakonomics. I also listen to IGN Game Scoop! as I want to keep up with everything in my industry (video games). All of these create weekly content, but also have a huge backlog of content to make your way through.

Improve your sourcing skills

Learning the fundamentals of sourcing is easy, but mastering it is tough. A really fun way to test your skills is on You should also check out Boolean Blackbelt and join the SourceCon LinkedIn Group.

But sourcing doesn’t have to be all x-ray searching and crazy boolean strings, referring back to my previous section on tools and systems, take a look at what you’re using for sourcing. LinkedIn Recruiter is an obvious choice but I also like using social networks like GitHub for Software Engineers or ArtStation for video game artists. Many of these networks are free to sign up and help you discover others with ease.

Work on growing your network online

The bigger your social network, the more people know who you are and what you recruit for. Simply, the bigger your network is, the easier it is to recruit. Make time in your calendar each week to connect with others in your industry, post content and engage with online communities. I’ve seen a lot success from promoting my LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and blog. Post little and often to ensure you’re spending your time wisely.


I know what you’re thinking—what a meta suggestion, Joe. But you should start writing! Whenever I write an article I need to put in a ton of pre-work to ensure that what I’m writing about is valuable for the reader. The best by-products of writing are that you actually learn more about that topic and hone your writing skills (always handy when crafting enticing job advertisements).

Even if you only have time to do one of these things, it's worth it. I know from expereince that each have helped me become a better recruiter, and they can help you too. 

*Image by clement127

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