All You Need To Know About A Headhunter Career
You consider becoming a recruiter but need additional information before making your final career choice?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a recruiter in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn how much recruiters can make, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, educational requirements, duties, work-life balance and much more.
You will also find an FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about working as a recruiter for you.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what working as a recruiter really looks like and whether you still want to pursue a recruiter career or rather want to go for a different job instead.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Table of Contents
What does a Recruiter do?
Recruiters search highly-qualified employees for companies that are rare to find so that corporations can grow without having to worry about recruiting problems and can scale as much as possible.
Not only do headhunters conduct job interviews, but they also scan the CV of applicants for all features corporations search for to find the best possible candidate for open positions.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Recruiter
- Advertising job openings
- Scanning the CV of applicants
- Conducting job interviews
- Making sure that candidates fit the requirements of companies
- Forecasting future job market trends
- Adjusting to an increasingly digitalized world
- Using social media to attract potential candidates
- Presenting companies well so that as many suitable candidates apply for open positions as possible
- Working and agreeing with the inhouse HR department of corporations
- Filing paperwork
- Complying with laws, rules and regulations related to hiring people
What a Typical Day of a Recruiter looks like?
Most recruiters get to work between 7 and 9 a.m.
After checking and answering their emails, recruiters schedule appointments and structure their workday.
Recruiters use modern technologies to make application and selection processes as efficiently as possible to find the best possible candidate for a vacancy.
They also do a mix of office work and conducting job interviews in person.
Thus, you need a good understanding of the digital world as well as empathy for applicants and a good understanding of human nature.
After doing some organizational tasks, headhunters screen CVs, conduct job interviews and file related paperwork for many hours before they finally finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m. most of the time.
Recruiter Salary 2023
Recruiter salary brackets 2023
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $103,000||> $51.43|
|Top 25 %||$83,000 – $92,000||$41.47 – $45.88|
|Bottom 25 %||$46,000 – $52,000||$22.92 – $25.94|
|Bottom 10 %||$34,000 – $39,000||$16.97 – $19.39|
|Range||$34,000 – $117,000||$16.97 – $58.48|
Recruiter salary 2023 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$36,000 – $48,000||$16.97 – $23.92|
|Junior||$45,000 – $57,000||$22.41 – $28.45|
|Professional||$56,000 – $64,000||$27.91 – $31.89|
|Senior Professional||$62,000 – $79,000||$30.94 – $39.43|
|Expert||$77,000 – $93,000||$38.47 – $46.42|
|Top Expert||$91,000 – $117,000||$45.39 – $58.48|
Recruiter salary by state 2023 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$67,100||$33.53|
Job Security of Recruiters
Headhunters don’t have high levels of job security since they often work self-employed and even if they work as employed recruiters, they still have to fear losing their jobs on a regular basis since educational barriers to entry to be able to work in this field are rather low and almost everyone can work in the headhunting industry.
Thus, you will have to deal with fierce competition and will never know when you might get fired.
Future Outlook of Recruiters
Not only current job prospects for recruiters are rather poor, but also the future outlook for headhunters is rather sad since many jobs in this field will be lost to intelligent machines and fewer recruiters will be needed in the future.
Consequently, many headhunters will lose their jobs and you will also have a harder time finding a new job in this industry just a few years from now.
Working Hours of Recruiters
Most recruiters start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Therefore, headhunters work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will have more than enough time to meet up with their favorite people after work while many other people like investment bankers often have to work long hours and don’t have enough time to spend with their loved ones.
Job Satisfaction of Recruiters
Since recruiters can make decent money while they still don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work and also have lots of leisure, many headhunters are pretty happy with what they are doing for a living.
Promotion Opportunities of Recruiters
Since you will often work self-employed, you will not have any promotion opportunities as a recruiter.
Even if you work as an employed recruiter, you will still do the same job for many years to come and it may take you decades before you get additional responsibilities and get the chance to lead a team.
Career Levels of Recruiters
- Recruiter intern
- Junior recruiter
- Senior recruiter
- Senior recruiter leading a team of recruiters
- Manager of a recruiting firm
- Owner of a headhunting business
Fields and Types of Recruiters
- Recruiters focused on college students
- Recruiters focused on young professionals
- Recruiters focused on experienced experts
- Headhunters specialized in the financial industry
- Headhunters focused on the medical field
- Recruiters specialized in the law sector
- Headhunters focused on the construction industry
- Internal recruiters
- External recruiters
Educational Requirements for Recruiters
There are no fancy formal educational requirements for recruiters.
Recruiters can work self-employed and therefore don’t need to have a fancy degree.
Instead, headhunters can start their careers right after finishing high school and can start making money at a rather young age.
How to become a Recruiter
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a recruiter
- Apply for internships in the recruiting field
- Make a good impression during your internship
- Stay in touch with your recruiting colleagues
- Finish high school with decent grades
- Get a college degree in HR management or a related field (optional)
- Apply for recruiter jobs
- Master the job interview
- Sign your labor contract
- Get some experience and make important contacts
- Start your own headhunting business
Character Traits you need as a Recruiter
- You need to be good at dealing with people
- Empathy for the needs and preferences of applicants and companies
- Patience for people who have a bad day
- Persistence helps you overcome difficult periods of your career
- Ability to deal with drawbacks in an emotionally healthy manner
- You should be client-focused
- You should be a good listener
- Outgoing personality helps you attract more candidates
- You should understand human nature
- You have to get into the heads of people
- You should be trustworthy
Hard Skills for Recruiters
- Knowledge of the most effective recruiting techniques
- Good digital skills help you attract more applicants
- Digital marketing skills help as well
- You need to know where the attention of your target audience currently is
- Expertise in using latest recruiting software
- Knowledge of body language helps as well
- You should understand how the recruiting landscape changes over time
- Excellent understanding of human nature
- Good problem-solving skills
- You should know how to lead a conversation
Soft Skills for Recruiters
- Patience for candidates who have a bad day
- Ability to deal with critical feedback in a proper manner
- Attention to detail helps you find the perfect candidate for a vacancy
- You should be a good communicator
- You should be good at understanding human behavior
- You should know how to build a strong network of people
- Ability to deal with snarky comments in a healthy manner
- You should not get discouraged by drawbacks
- You should be good at figuring out the truth
Exit Options for Recruiters
Since recruiters are pretty specialized, they don’t have many exit options and may get trapped in the headhunting business for quite a long time.
Even though they might have a rather easy time finding a job in the HR department of companies, headhunters often have a pretty hard time finding a job in a different field due to a lack of hard skills.
Recruiter – Similar Careers
- Human resources manager
- Recruiting coach
- Social media expert
- Public relations manager
- Career counselor
- Content writer
- Digital marketer
Recruiter Career FAQs
Is working as a recruiter physically demanding?
Working as a recruiter is not physically demanding since you will just conduct job interviews or work with a computer most of the time.
Thus, while miners and many other people often have to work in a hard physical manner, you as a headhunter will have a rather easy time in this regard.
Is working as a recruiter mentally demanding?
While you have to use your brain as a recruiter to find the best possible candidates for the respective vacancy, you still don’t have to stress your brain as much as financial controllers or other people who work with complex mathematical models all day long.
Is it dangerous to work as a recruiter?
Being a recruiter is not dangerous at all.
You will just work in a pretty safe environment your risk of suffering from serious accidents or other incidents at work will be pretty low while many other people like policemen or firefighters have to risk their lives on a regular basis.
How long do recruiters stay in their jobs?
Recruiters stay in their jobs for many years since they are pretty specialized and often have a hard time finding a job outside the headhunting industry.
Moreover, many headhunters are pretty happy with overall working conditions since they can make decent money while they still have enough leisure and thus, their incentive for changing jobs will be rather low.
Is it easy for recruiters to find a new job?
Due to machine learning and artificial intelligence, many jobs in the headhunting industry will be lost to intelligent machines in the near future and you may therefore have a pretty hard time finding a new job as a recruiter.
Is it hard to switch from being a recruiter to another field of work?
Since recruiters are pretty specialized, they often have a hard time finding a job in a different industry since they often lack the skills needed in other parts of the job market right now.
Do recruiters have a high social status?
Recruiters have a decent social status.
However, you will still have a much lower standing compared to doctors, teachers or professors who can change the minds and the lives of people on a daily basis in a positive manner and do a more important job for society.
Can you help out your family and friends as a recruiter?
You can help out your loved ones as a recruiter since you can scan application documents and give advice to your family or friends on how to improve those documents to improve the chances of getting invited to job interviews.
Moreover, you can also give your loved ones helpful tips on how to master the job interview and what mistakes you have to avoid at all costs.
Can recruiters work remotely?
Recruiters are able to work remotely at least part of the week.
While they might be present at work in person to conduct job interviews, many applicants are fine with doing those interviews with the help of video calls and it will likely become standard for headhunters to work fully remotely in the near future.
Is it easy to find a partner as a recruiter?
Since recruiters can make decent money and also come home from work rather early, they have more than enough time to spend with their families and can also afford some nice things for their loved ones.
Consequently, recruiters are considered good providers and usually have a rather easy time in the dating market when it comes to finding someone for a long-term relationship.
Do recruiters have to work on weekends?
Recruiters don’t have to work on weekends. However, in case you work as a self-employed headhunter, you may still want to work during those days to make as much money from your job as possible and to really scale your business.
Do recruiters have to work on holidays?
Headhunters also don’t have to work on holidays.
Instead, you can use those days for making nice trips with your family or spend them on your favorite hobbies.
Do recruiters have to work at nighttime?
If you go for a headhunter career, you also don’t have to work at nighttime.
Instead, you will work in a pretty standard 9 to 5 environment and will come home from work relatively early, which allows you to spend enough time with your loved ones or to meet up with your favorite people after work.
Do you have to travel as a recruiter?
There is no need to travel as a recruiter.
While many other people like consultants who work in demanding roles in the corporate world will be away for business trips quite often, you as a headhunter will be able to stay at home and spend your leisure with your family.
Are recruiter pensions good?
Since recruiters can make decent money, many recruiters also receive decent pensions.
However, you should also try saving some money during your active career to avoid getting into financial problems later in your life when you quit your active career and retire.
Are recruiter salaries going up?
Recruiter salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years since an increasing number of people aspire to a career in this field while many jobs are lost due to the automation of processes.
Thus, with an increasing supply of people who are willing to work in this field and decreasing demand for recruiters, also the salaries will likely not increase or even drop in the near future.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a recruiter?
While you can do good for many people on an individual basis, you will still not have the same high social impact as engineers or judges who can really make a positive difference in how the world will look like in the future.
How long does it take to become a recruiter?
Since you don’t necessarily have to get a degree for working as a recruiter, you can start your headhunter career right after finishing high school and can start making money at a rather young age while many other people out there have to spend lots of time and money on college education.
Is it difficult to become a recruiter?
Since you don’t have to get lots of fancy education, becoming a recruiter is rather easy.
However, staying successful in this competitive industry is pretty hard and you always have to work on your game to stay successful with what you are doing in the long run.
Do you need to be smart to work as a recruiter?
You don’t need to be super-smart to work as a recruiter.
What’s much more important than having a high IQ is that you have lots of emotional intelligence and that you have a talent for understanding human nature.
Only then will you be able to figure out people and can make a good decision when it comes to selecting the best possible candidate for an open position.
Do recruiters have a good work-life balance?
Recruiters enjoy pretty good work-life balance since they don’t have to work on holidays or weekends and also come home from work rather early.
Thus, they can spend lots of time with their families while still making decent money at the same time.
Do recruiters have to work many extra hours?
Recruiters don’t have to work many extra hours.
They just work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and once their shift is over, headhunters just finish their workday and continue with their duties the next morning.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a recruiter?
The higher your qualifications and the more experience you get in this field at a rather young age, the higher your chances of finding a job as a recruiter.
Thus, to maximize your chances of becoming a recruiter, you might want to get a college degree in HR management and also work as an intern at a headhunting company.
Can recruiters work part-time?
Recruiters can work part-time as well as full-time.
However, most recruiters are not able to make enough money from a part-time job and therefore have to work full-time to be able to pay their bills.
Do recruiters work indoors or outdoors?
Recruiters work indoors all day long and therefore don’t have to worry about climatic conditions outdoors as roofers and other people who work outdoors have to do on a regular basis.
What does the workplace of a recruiter look like?
Recruiters work in a classical office environment and do lots of paperwork.
They also conduct many job interviews and you should therefore be a friendly and outgoing person to stay happy and successful with what you are doing in the long run.
Becoming a recruiter can also be great for you if you don’t want to work in a heavy physical manner but rather want to use your brain to make money.
Do you have to look good for working as a recruiter?
You don’t have to look good for becoming a successful recruiter.
However, you should still look groomed so that you can represent the company you work for in the best possible manner and job candidates don’t get deterred by your appearance.
Is a recruiter career beneficial for your private life?
Working as a recruiter can be beneficial for your private life since you can make decent money from what you are doing while you will still come home from work relatively early and have more than enough time to spend with your family.
Thus, the risk that your partner starts to cheat on you will be rather low compared to other people who work long hours, don’t have enough time for their families and are away from home quite often.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a recruiter?
You may need a college degree if you want to work as an employed recruiter in some states.
However, if you want to work as a self-employed headhunter, you don’t need a degree or any other formal education and can start your recruiting career right after finishing high school, even though you might have a hard time competing in this industry.
Do you need to be certified to work as a recruiter?
You don’t need to be certified for working as a recruiter.
However, getting some certificates may still help you increase your credibility and you may just get more jobs since companies will trust you more compared to someone who doesn’t have those qualifications.
How much does it cost to become a recruiter?
Since you don’t necessarily have to go to college for becoming a successful recruiter, you can start your headhunting career at almost no cost and can start making money at an early age when many other people have to spend lots of time and money on college education to get their dream jobs.
Is being a recruiter a good career?
While you can make decent money and have lots of leisure, many jobs in the recruiting industry will still be lost to intelligent machines in the near future and you will therefore have to deal with lots of insecurity related to your job in general.
Thus, whether you consider being a recruiter a good career greatly depends on how well you are able to deal with this insecurity related to losing your job.
Is it easy to start your own business as a recruiter?
It is pretty easy to start your own headhunting business since you don’t have to spend lots of money on machinery, land or other equipment but can rather use your workforce to start building something meaningful for you.
You can also start out as one-man show and scale as soon as you get enough new clients.
Can recruiters teach themselves?
Recruiters are able to teach themselves most things they need to become and stay successful in this field.
In fact, you can learn everything you need to know online for free without having to spend lots of money on expensive coaching.
Do recruiters make good money?
Recruiters are able to make decent money.
However, dentists or financial analysts still make far more and if money and luxury are really important to you, you should not become a headhunter but rather go for a career in a different field.
Is it ever too late to become a recruiter?
Since you don’t have to get fancy formal education and also don’t have to work in a hard physical manner, you can become a recruiter at any age as long as you are really good at dealing with people and also understand human nature pretty well.
Do recruiters have to quit their careers early?
Most headhunters don’t have to quit their careers early since they don’t have to work in a hard physical manner and their risk of suffering from serious health problems related to their jobs will be rather low.
What is the hardest thing about working as a recruiter?
The hardest part about being a recruiter is that you have to deal with many different people on a regular basis and every person will have different opinions and attitudes.
Thus, you will have a hard time making everyone happy and will also have to deal with many snarky comments along the way.
Can you provide for your family by working as a recruiter?
While you might be able to provide for your family if you live in a rather cheap region, recruiters often have a hard time providing for their families in case they live in expensive regions where rents and living costs are extremely high and a headhunter salary will often not be enough to pay the bills of your loved ones.
Will recruiters suffer from old-age poverty?
While recruiters receive decent pensions, many of them still suffer from old-age poverty since they don’t save and invest enough money during their active careers and get into serious financial trouble once they quit their jobs and retire.
Can recruiters retire early?
Even though recruiters can make a decent living on average, most recruiters are still not able to make enough money to retire early and have to work until official retirement age.
Do recruiters get a fixed or variable salary?
While employed recruiters often get a fixed base salary with a variable salary component, the income of self-employed headhunters greatly depends on the number of people they recruit and therefore greatly varies over time.
Can you get rich as a recruiter?
While you can make decent money, it is almost impossible to get rich as an employed recruiter.
Thus, if you want to make really good money, you have to start your own headhunting business and scale it as much as possible or work in the medical or financial sector instead.
Do recruiters need a second job?
Recruiters don’t need a second job to pay their bills most of the time since they receive a decent salary which is most often enough to cover their expenses.
Do you get continuous training as a recruiter?
You don’t get continuous training as a recruiter.
Instead, it is on you to hone your craft and to get really good at what you are doing to stay successful in the recruiting industry in the long run.
Do you get sick pay as a recruiter?
Most recruiters don’t get paid in case they get sick and are no longer able to work anymore.
Thus, you should build an emergency fund that you can use during bad times when you get sick and don’t receive an income anymore so that you are still able to pay your bills.
Do recruiters have a high level of responsibility?
Recruiters don’t have a high level of responsibility.
Even though poor decisions on their side may lead to some financial damage for companies, you will still not have the same high level of responsibility compared to doctors or nurse practitioners whose mistakes may take away the lives of people.
Can recruiters work abroad?
Recruiters are also able to work abroad.
However, while working as a recruiter in a foreign country will be possible in many cases, you should still make sure that you have excellent knowledge of the local language and that you are also familiar with working conditions and salaries that might be quite different from what you are used to at home.
Is it stressful to work as a recruiter?
Working as a recruiter is not stressful.
Most of the time, you will not have to deal with lots of time pressure but can rather spend your workday in a pretty relaxed manner.
Is it boring to work as a recruiter?
Being a headhunter may become boring since you will do many things over and over again and if you don’t have a real passion for finding the best possible candidate for job vacancies, you may get bored with what you are doing in the long run and may go for a career in a field that you are more interested in.
Is being a recruiter hard?
Working as a recruiter is not that hard since you don’t have to work in a hard physical manner and also don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work compared to many other people out there who suffer from excessive pressure at work on a daily basis.
Are recruiters at risk of burnout?
Since recruiters have a rather relaxed workday most of the time, they are not at great risk of suffering from burnout or other mental problems related to their jobs.
Is there a dress code for recruiters?
There is no fixed dress code for recruiters.
However, if you work for big corporations, you will often have to dress rather conservatively to represent the company you work for in the best possible manner.
What kind of recruiters are paid the most?
The more people you recruit and the better those people fit the respective vacancies, the more value you can provide to your clients and the more money you can make as a headhunter in the long run.
What percentage of recruiters are women?
Around 59% of all recruiters are women while 41% are men.
Thus, the recruiting world is pretty balanced between men and women, even though there are still more women working in this industry.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a recruiter?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a recruiter.
What’s much more important is that you have great people skills and that you also understand human nature to figure out people and to find the best possible candidate for the respective vacancy.
Do recruiters have a high life expectancy?
Recruiters have decent life expectancy since they work in a pretty safe environment and their risk of suffering from serious accidents at work is pretty low.
Do recruiters suffer from sleeping problems?
Since recruiters don’t have to work at nighttime, most of them also don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs since they can maintain a steady sleeping pattern.
What states are best for working as a recruiter?
Since you can work remotely as a recruiter, you should choose a state and a region where living costs are low so that you can make a decent living from your headhunting career and don’t have to spend a high fraction of it on rent.
Who do recruiters work with?
Recruiters work with many different people on a daily basis and it is therefore crucial that you are a friendly, reliable and trustworthy person so that candidates trust you and you can recruit as many suitable candidates as possible.
Is working as a recruiter cool?
Being a headhunter is not considered cool by the majority of the general public.
However, you should still not care about what’s considered cool but should rather make your career choice according to your own individual preferences.
Can you start a side hustle as a recruiter?
It is also pretty easy for recruiters to start a side hustle since they often have enough time to do so and can also share many valuable experiences with the general public.
For instance, you could start a YouTube channel or a blog where you talk about recruiting topics and how people can improve their chances of getting their dream jobs.
In the long run, you could also launch your own courses and make lots of money with your side hustle.
Do you have to be creative as a recruiter?
Being creative helps you succeed as a recruiter since you will have to deal with many different people and new situations on a regular basis and the more creative you are, the better you can handle unexpected questions.
Do recruiters suffer from being overweight?
Since recruiters work in a classical office environment, they often don’t burn enough calories during their workday and their risk of suffering from being overweight will be pretty high.
How employable are recruiters?
Since many jobs in the headhunting industry will be lost and will be done by intelligent machines in the near future, recruiters are no longer that employable anymore and may have to deal with lots of insecurity related to their jobs just a few years from now.
Are recruiters happy with their jobs?
Many recruiters are pretty happy with their jobs since they can make decent money from what they are doing while they still don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work and also have enough time to spend with their loved ones.
Is working as a recruiter exciting?
Working as a recruiter is not that exciting since you will do many things over and over again and if you are not really passionate about this kind of work, you may get bored and unmotivated with what you are doing pretty soon.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a recruiter?
Your positive effect on our environment will be rather limited as a recruiter since you will mainly focus on recruiting candidates for corporations and will not care about environmental topics at all.
What are the pros and cons of working as a recruiter?
If you still consider becoming a recruiter, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a headhunter career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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