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Oct 8, 2018

Ever met anyone who majored in recruiting?

Who used to say, “I want to be a recruiter when I grow up.”?

How crazy is that, considering when I just searched the word “recruiter” in people on LinkedIn, I had over 1.5 million hits?

Which got me thinking, why wouldn’t someone grow up thinking that they wanted to be a recruiter and help connect people with jobs? Why isn’t there a college major for people who want to learn about recruiting and learn how to connect people with jobs?

And, within a college setting, where would this major sit? What classes would someone take? What would a recruiting education look like?

Shout out here to Social Talent and SourceCon Academy who are building a curriculum to help recruiters learn best practices in all aspects of our roles.

Back to our freshman recruiter wanna-be, what classes would they take? Part of it depends on what part of recruiting they would want to be focused on, so maybe a minor would be in order (someone who wants to recruit for manufacturing may want to minor in that, someone who wants to recruit in banking may want to minor in finance). Since we’re thinking of someone who is starting their career, I would want them to learn generalist skills so that they can decide what part of the recruiting process (sourcing, front end, management) to specialize in once they’re out applying their learning to the workplace. I can see this recruiting major sitting between the business school, engineering school and school of communications (recognize here that I went to the University of Wisconsin, a huge place. I do realize that many small schools aren’t as siloed).

Core classes in our recruiting major:


Writing to Capture an Audience– Basic journalism skills, writing compellingly, tailoring communications to different audiences. Learn about diversity communications and how to appeal to broad audiences.

Business Communications– Build your public speaking, business writing, and phone etiquette skills. Be able to read an audience and communicate appropriately, verbally and written. Phone and email etiquette are included in this curriculum.

Social Media Communication– How to gather an audience using different social media outlets. The successful student here will understand when to use what social channel in different situations, and be able to put together compelling messaging for any situation.


School of Engineering:

Basic Search Queries– X-ray, search and uncover any information you are looking to find. Code to find the coders.

Web Development– Build web pages, surveys, and ways to capture, reproduce and analyze data.


School of Library Science:

Research– Learn online and “old fashioned” research skills to be able to find answers in any medium. This class will teach you to be a Boolean savant.


School of Business:

HR 101– Learn legal guidelines for the workplace. Learn what topics and behaviors are appropriate (or not) at work. Learn how to figure out compensation, benefits and different ways to reward employees. Know your way around an HR handbook, and about performance management.

Marketing Non-Tangible Products– How to spread a message, build a reputation, go viral, and have people talking about the news you share.

Finance 101– Understanding the finances of running a business. Spreadsheeting. Budgeting. Checks and balances. Understanding equity and valuation.

Business Negotiations– How to read a room, structure negotiations, understand compromise and get things done. When to give up, and when to stand firm. Learning how to figure out people’s stopping points, and how to mediate tough conversations.


I think we’re on to something here; In my recruiting major, I would have senior year include both an internship at an agency and one with an in-house team, so the person would understand the differences and learn how to operate in both. The more we professionalize our industry, the more businesses will see how critical we are to their operations.


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