“Technical recruiting is no walk in the park”, that’s what I always hear from my colleagues in the recruitment industry. And, yeah, I gather it requires persistence and a million tons of patience.

But how exactly does one end up becoming a recruiter? Why choose such career path, and how does one succeed? 

LinkedIn wanted to see for themselves, so they asked over 100,000 recruiters how they end up in the profession. Our friends from LinkedIn prepared a nice and informative infographic, to sum up, what they found out.

Apparently, it takes lots of years of heroic hard work (and that’s about 10 years on average), some background in psychology, and the odds may be slightly in your favor if you are a woman.

what it takes to become a recruiter

Source: LinkedIn Talent Solutions

Once upon a time in college….

It all starts in college. Your college major is a great tell-tale sign of your true passion. Recruiters generally are passionate about people, as such, most recruiters LinkedIn asked were from these six (6) major college degree programs:

  1. Psychology
  2. Human Resource
  3. Sociology
  4. Communications
  5. Political Science
  6. Business (Marketing, Economics, Business Administration)

Another interesting finding to note is an outlier in the lower rung of the list: Computer Science. Our friends at LinkedIn believes that these recruitment professionals studied computer science and went into programming, then switched to become technical recruiters later in their careers. Hmm, perhaps, perhaps.

And your first job out of college is probably….

Sales. Yes? No? Well, most of the recruitment professionals LinkedIn studied went into sales first before exploring a career in the recruitment industry. Sales is, in fact, an excellent preparation for talking to and closing candidates. Another interesting finding is that only 1 out of 5 recruiters gets a master’s degree.

Onto the recruitment nirvana (?)

And finally, you decide to become a recruiter. And as a recruiter, you will most likely rock. You start to acquire many skills that don’t exactly relate to recruiting, such as training, customer service, talent management, and employee relations. And to become a top recruiter, you will have to learn some strategies and acquire leadership skills (according to LinkedIn’s data that two qualities are the fastest growing skills of top recruiters). Leadership and strategy are fundamental traits of top performing recruiters because as talent advisors, they will and should know how to persuade hiring managers and influence hiring decisions.

And up the ladder, you go.

Many recruiters eventually become recruiting and HR executives, search firm managers, of top executive recruiters. But then, of course, it’s not easy climbing up that ladder. In order for a recruiter to become an HR leader, they’ll have to acquire the necessary skills, closing their personal skills gap, so to speak. That means getting experience in performance management, employee engagement, organizational development, succession planning, and personnel management. According to our friends from LinkedIn, a much needed and desired skill among HR leaders is workforce planning – helping their hiring managers plan for future hiring needs and as well as for the needs of the present. This is an edge a recruiter must aim to have.

Topping it all, if you dream to become a talent leader, all it takes is plenty of experience, double than an average recruiter’s experience. And of course, the right, much-needed skills and expertise.

We can’t have recruiters made of origami – folds under pressure. But even though we rock, it doesn’t mean we’re made of stone. Click To Tweet