No One Goes to School to Be a Recruiter, Right?

Have you been a part of this conversation before?

“So, when did you become a recruiter?”

“Well, I started in a (…normal person role…) when the recruiting team picked me up because they thought my personality would be a good fit. They were right!”

“That’s how it goes! We all fall into recruiting one way or another – it’s not like anyone goes to school for it!”

*Cue understanding and supportive laughter*

You’ve heard that one before, right? The first time I was in one of these conversations, I found myself laughing nervously in the background as I realized I was the ONLY person in that circle who went to school intentionally to be a recruiter. That was probably just a coincidence, right?

Nope – to this day, I am the only person I know who got their degree to pursue a career in recruiting.

I’m still holding out that there are others like me (WHERE ARE YOU. DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING.) But for the rest of you wondering how in the world this happened, allow me to share my story.

As you may know, there aren’t really degrees in talent acquisition or recruiting so how could someone really go to school to be a recruiter?

To be fair, I didn’t decide that I wanted to be a talent acquisition professional in the 3rd grade. Like 99% of all college students, I was clueless my freshman year. I took one of those fancy personality/skill assessments at the career services office, and after reading my results, they recommended pursuing a degree in Human Resource Development (HRD).

Ooo – awkward. That was the same degree that my older brother just earned. I mean, my brother is cool and all, but like most younger siblings, I was hoping to forge my path.

“I’m not sure that’s quite the degree for me,” I countered after hearing my results.

“There are lots of options within HR though!” the lady said, “Your brother does instructional design? Well, you don’t have to do training. You could try employee relations, benefits, or recruiting if you wanted”

“Recruiting?”

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“They’re the ones you see typically see at career fairs and campus events. They facilitate the hiring process. Lots of interviewing candidates, lots of interaction.”

Whoa, mind-blown! There’s a job for hiring people? And interviewing? Sign. Me. Up.

See, I’m the kind of person that walks into a crowded room and doesn’t see a single stranger. Only friends I haven’t met yet! I’m the kind of person that has to try hard not to finish someone’s sentence because I love trying to understand their thought processes and motives. I’m also the kind of person who gets excited before extending every offer because I genuinely believe that I’m setting someone up for success with a company I believe in.

Getting my HRD degree put me on a fantastic path for the TA world. I got a comprehensive education that covered all aspects of HR from employment law to benefits, labor relations, and HRIS systems. Many of those components are interwoven with the recruiting work I do now and gave me a fantastic perspective from the very beginning.

Unfortunately, I was unable to score a recruiting internship while in school. In my market, HR-specific internships were hard to come by, so I was lucky to have gotten the one I did. Wouldn’t you know it, that first internship was on a training team. Funny how that works out!

I sincerely enjoyed the work I did with training. As you can imagine, most recruiter personalities don’t mind commanding attention, so facilitating and presentation came quickly to me. However, that didn’t stop me from glancing dreamily over at the talent team from time to time. Their side of the office was always buzzing with life from their countless phone screens to interviews and tours of our facility. They were the first ones to meet the freshest faces, the ones to make that first impression (and most exciting of all) the ones to make that dream call to extend an employment offer and change someone’s life. Who wouldn’t love that job?

Once I was close to graduation and ready to start full-time, a position on the talent team just happened to open up. The timing was perfect. I made the transition and knew instantly that it was right. I was going to love it.

Turns out, the recipe that made me an anomaly was pretty simple: one part fate, one part luck and mostly a whole lot of expertise from that career services office! I’m incredibly thankful those stars aligned, because just like everyone else who sticks around after “falling into recruiting” I know our roles carry an incredible impact while also fully utilizing so many technical and interpersonal skills.

So, when did you become a recruiter? And how did you know it was the right fit for you? Regardless of how you got here or what you went to school for, I’m sure there was a little luck and fate in your recipe too. And that biology degree of yours still looks excellent up framed and hung on the wall, am I right?

Abby Mandley started her recruiting career just before graduating from college and currently works as a Talent Acquisition Specialist in the public accounting industry. She has experience in campus recruiting and full cycle recruitment for a variety of accounting, finance, IT, HR and business-related roles. Her passion for recruitment stems from her zestful enthusiasm to genuinely connect with others and play a key role in their career paths.

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