Recruiter Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Recruiter, or HR Sourcing Specialist, is in charge of seeking out quality candidates, confirming their qualifications and placing them in open roles at a company. Their duties include researching job seekers and inviting them to apply to a job, screening candidates through phone interviews and filling out hiring paperwork.

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Recruiter duties and responsibilities

The kind of company or agency the Recruiter works for will dictate their specific responsibilities. All Recruiters need to have strong people skills and the ability to synthesize information quickly and efficiently. They should foster good relationships with recruits and company staffing agents and be able to follow through on a project. Different types of Recruiter responsibilities may include the following:

  • Staffing or Temp Agency: These agencies have a large talent pool who may have a more general skill set. The Recruiter knows who is available for immediate work to fill either temporary positions or jobs that may transition to full-time. 
  • Contingency Recruiter: A Contingency Recruiter gets paid only when a candidate is hired by a company. They will get to know the clients’ needs and wants in detail, and develop a good relationship with the hiring managers. For the candidates, they may provide career guidance and resume advice.
  • Retained Search Firm Recruiter: This kind of agency typically specializes in matching executive-level talent with companies who need new leadership. Placing from the more specialized pool of candidates comes at a higher cost to the company.
  • Internal Recruiter: Some companies employ a salaried internal Recruiter who can use current employee networks to find talent for open positions. They review resumes and arrange interviews while acting as a support system for before and after hiring.
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What does a Recruiter do?

Recruiters work in the human resources department of a company or at third-party recruiting businesses that help connect qualified candidates with competitive employers. The role of a Recruiter is to act as a liaison between an employer and applicants for a job, especially for roles that are hard to fill and require a list of special qualifications. Recruiters use databases, advertising and their professional network to find people who could be a good match for a job, researching each candidate then talking to them about the opportunity.

Internally, Recruiters process applications, schedule interviews and manage new hire paperwork. They help onboard the candidate to their new employer’s team, assisting with all parts of their transition. Recruiters also help refine job descriptions to make sure they accurately reflect the needs of the company.

Recruiter skills and qualifications

A successful Recruiter will have a set of prerequisite skills to qualify them for the job. Duties always include effective communication and organization skills. Industry experience will prepare the recruiter for career advancement. Other attributes may include:

  • Positive attitude: People on both sides of a job-seeking relationship may encounter challenges and frustrations as they search for employment. A successful recruiter will be encouraging, positive and realistic about potential matches.
  • Good research techniques: A recruiter spends a significant portion of their time finding resumes from professional job search sites, networking and personal interaction. They accumulate a pool of candidates and keep that information organized.
  • Good interviewing skills: Whether the Recruiter speaks with a candidate or hiring manager in person, on the phone or electronically, it is important to know how to efficiently ask questions that help them understand the applicant’s skills or the company’s job requirements. 
  • Advocacy: The Recruiter will represent the applicant until it is time for an interview. They should accurately represent the candidate’s skills and qualifications and sell those criteria to the hiring manager.

Recruiter salary expectations

A Recruiter makes an average of $56,429 per year. Salary may depend on level of education, experience and geographical location.

Recruiter education and training requirements

Being hired as a Recruiter typically requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field such as business administration. Without a bachelor’s degree, years of on-the-job experience may suffice. Some employers may require professional certifications or periodic training for advances in the field. Professional organizations that provide certificates typically require some kind of education followed by a test.

Recruiter experience requirements

Experience in customer-service-related fields can be valuable training. Professions that focus on interpersonal skills, deft organization skills and proficient communication can prepare someone well for a career as a recruiter. These kinds of careers can also provide networking opportunities that can provide recruiting mentors.

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Frequently asked questions about Recruiters


What is the difference between a Recruiter and a Headhunter?

Recruiters and Headhunters are both responsible for filling open roles at a company. Headhunters specifically focus on hard-to-fill roles, particularly for executive-level positions. While Recruiters generally seek out applicants that are actively looking for work, Headhunters might research a business’s competitors in the industry and find highly successful individuals. They pitch the new job to the potential applicant and advertise reasons they should leave their current job to work for this new employer. Recruiters may manage multiple openings at once, while it’s common for Headhunters to dedicate themselves to attracting applicants to a single important role.


What are the daily duties of a Recruiter?

When a new position opens up, the Recruiter communicates with that role’s supervisor and the human resources department to determine what kind of employee they want to hire next. They adjust the language on the job description and develop a timeline for filling the role. The Recruiter creates job postings on social media and job boards to attract applicants online. They may search employment databases for past applicants and reach out to notify them of the opening and invite them to re-apply. They email and call prospective candidates, making note of people who show interest in the company. 

Once the Recruiter has attracted enough quality applicants, they process background checks, review resumes and collaborate with the Hiring Manager to conduct assessments and interviews. They inform rejected applicants that they didn’t get the job and contact the selected candidate about their job offer.


What are the characteristics of a good Recruiter?

Good Recruiters are hardworking, dedicated individuals with a goal-oriented mindset. They enjoy collaborating with others and working as a team to find the perfect person for a job. A Recruiter should be a good judge of character who can save time searching for applicants by using first impressions of a candidate’s resume and application to decide which candidates to pursue. Successful Recruiters are organized and coordinated, able to communicate with dozens of applicants at once about several different positions and guide them all through the hiring process.


Who does a Recruiter report to?

Recruiters report to Human Resources Managers, Hiring Managers and department heads about their progress finding interested, qualified candidates. They communicate with these key roles to provide updates about where they are in the staffing process, identifying when they are ready to start conducting interviews or submit an offer of employment. Recruiters may accept direction from their supervisors about the methods they use to find employees.

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