Recruiting as a Career: The Transferable Skills of Recruiting

March 2016 | Riviera Partners

As we noted in our previous post on recruiting as a career, there are a variety of backgrounds that apply well to a recruiting role at Rivi. The reverse is also true: The skills you acquire in a role at recruiting are transferable to many...

As we noted in our previous post on recruiting as a career, there are a variety of backgrounds that apply well to a recruiting role at Rivi. The reverse is also true: The skills you acquire in a role at recruiting are transferable to many other careers as well. These skills run the gamut, from strategic and tactical implementation to execution.

One of the most fundamental skills you learn is time management, which is particularly useful if you’re just starting out in your career. To succeed here, you need to make sure you’re doing right things at right time with right people; you learn to put the effort where it should be, not necessarily where you want it to be. This is critical delivering the best experience to clients and candidates alike. Conversely, if you work at a big company, chances are you’re not expected to deliver on the daily, so it can be easier to get distracted by tasks that may not be of critical importance.

Unsurprisingly for this industry, you do learn how to sell to an extent–but here, it’s more about positioning (which is really more valuable on the whole). You need to think on your feet and be strategic, so you learn to use analogies to position various things with clients and candidates, as well as use examples from tangential industry to explain how a company is doing something. There are very few roles and careers in the business world that do not require you to know how to pitch, whether it’s a point of view, a new idea/initiative, or generally to convince others to support your desired direction.

A recruiting role at Rivi will also teach you the art of professional services, including how to be a good partner to your client and the rest of the recruiting team. We tend to be different from other service placement firms; it’s not every person for themselves. We work with teams, so you learn to work with different personalities and different styles. Additionally, you’re constantly interacting with a bunch of companies and talent, which gives you even more experience across the spectrum of working styles.

Another skill you pick up is the ability to truly influence a business and a person’s career path. By constantly listening and learning, you can influence how a client thinks about a role, or how a person thinks about a company (and the available position)–even how a company goes to market. Similarly, your insight and advice around career management can influence a person’s direction in their career.

An offshoot of that is that you learn what some the best companies in tech do to succeed. This teaches you by observation what a good CEO does; project management, and how it’s done well; and how to be introspective and objective. In the larger scheme of things, being able to ask yourself “Am I really doing this right?”–and answer in the affirmative–leads to your own success.

Sam Wholley is a Partner and leads executive searches at Riviera.