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24 skills every recruitment manager needs to succeed

April 23, 2019

24 skills every recruitment manager needs to succeed

If you’re in the business of hiring candidates, then you likely have a pretty good handle on the recruitment skills you need to be successful. But, if your job is to lead a team of recruiters or drive the hiring strategy for your organization, you’ll need to rethink and expand on your skill set in order to thrive. This is what it takes to be a successful recruitment manager.

Like most leadership roles, recruitment managers wear many different hats. They’re team leaders, thought leaders, corporate policy advocates, and innovators. They need to be in the trenches, screening candidates, while at the same time preparing for the corporate results meeting coming up.

This requires a unique set of skills that are a combination of personality and years of hands-on experience. If you think that you have what it takes to be a recruitment manager, or you’re curious about what is needed, then this article is for you.

We’ll take a look at what a recruitment manager does, what their responsibilities are, and what skills and qualifications you’ll need to be successful on this career path.

What is a recruitment manager?

If you do a Google search for “recruitment manager,” you’ll see ads for open positions across a wide variety of industries. That’s because a good recruitment manager is a highly sought-after commodity, one that can help a company hire and retain the best talent and drive better business results.

While recruitment manager job descriptions may vary, these professionals will usually act as the leader for a team of recruiters, manage day-to-day operations for hiring department, report in to the VP of Human Resources, and drive process improvements for the overall hiring strategy. They act as both “head” recruiter and the liaison between the executive team, hiring managers and their employees.

Specific recruitment manager responsibilities will obviously vary depending on the company, size of the team, and business goals. But there is a list of typical responsibilities you can expect, and specific skills you’ll need to have if you take on a recruitment manager job.

What are recruitment managers responsible for?

The duties and responsibilities that recruitment managers are in charge of can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Team management
  • Corporate strategy
  • Innovation
  • Employer branding
  • Networking

For the sake of this article, let’s assume you’re applying for a particularly lofty recruitment manager position. Here’s a list of responsibilities you can expect.

Team management

A recruitment manager is just that: a manager. They lead a team of recruiters. As such, you can expect to:

  • Supervise a recruiting team and its daily operations.
  • Set goals for your team, monitor performance, and report results.
  • Conduct performance reviews.
  • Recommend and monitor professional development.
  • Train and supervise team members on company processes and policies.
  • Act as a coach and mentor.
  • Act as your own hiring manager when new headcounts are needed.

Team management will inevitably involve responsibilities that are not listed here. Recruitment managers should expect to encounter any and all responsibilities associated with managing a team, both good and bad.

Corporate strategy

As a leader in your department, a recruitment manager is expected to collaborate and align with the direction the organization is heading in.

Corporate strategy responsibilities can include:

  • Aligning your team’s goals and priorities with the corporate strategy.
  • Auditing and updating current recruitment procedures.
  • Creating new recruitment procedures.
  • Keeping track of and reporting recruitment metrics to the executive team.
  • Coordinating with hiring managers across the organization to forecast future hiring needs.
  • Stay up-to-date on labor legislation, and inform your team and hiring managers about changes to those regulations.
  • Monitor overall staffing numbers, and ensure that they are sufficient and properly distributed in order to meet corporate goals.

Your corporate responsibilities will inevitably lead to opportunities to drive recruitment strategy and innovation within your company.

Innovation

This is where the expertise and vision of the recruitment manager shine through, and where you can help drive the company forward.

Some innovative initiatives you can expect to lead include:

  • Working with your recruiters to manage and improve sourcing, interviewing, and employment processes.
  • Researching and implementing new sourcing methods and job advertising platforms to find untapped talent pools.
  • Reviewing and implementing new recruitment software to streamline processes and improve results.
  • Advise hiring managers on interviewing techniques, and implement progressive techniques to improve the process and experience.
  • Monitor results, adapt to change, and implement new processes to continuously move the dial.

Innovation, by nature, involves constant changing and adapting to new trends and innovations in the industry.

Employer branding

The recruitment manager is in charge of managing the brand and reputation that the company presents to potential hires. Being the gatekeeper of employer branding can involve the following:

  • Audit the existing employer brand to determine if it aligns with the overall culture and corporate goals.
  • Recommend ways to improve and showcase the employer brand.
  • Ensure that all recruiters are adhering to and presenting the employer brand as a unified front for all candidates.

This important brand image responsibility ties directly into the final category – networking.

Networking

As the face of your employer brand and hiring team, a recruitment manager will be expected to network and mingle within their target industries. Networking responsibilities can include:

  • Participating in job fairs and career events to meet new candidates.
  • Attending conference, workshops, seminars and so on to build the company’s professional network.
  • Speak with other HR professionals regularly to gather ideas into new policies and hiring processes.

As you can see, a recruitment manager is expected to tackle a huge variety of tasks and responsibilities. It takes a special kind of person, with a special set of skills to thrive in a recruitment manager job.

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes, then let’s take a look at the skills and qualifications you’ll need to be successful.  

What skills and qualifications are on a recruitment manager’s resume?

Like responsibilities, the skills and requirements a recruitment manager needs can be broken into categories. For the sake of this article, these categories will be:

  • Education and experience
  • Hard skills
  • Soft skills

Luckily, many of these skills can be learned over time to help pad your recruitment manager resume. Let’s take a look at what constitutes an “ideal” recruitment manager skillset.

Education and experience

Years of experience and education requirements can and should vary depending on the candidate. Gone are the days when recruiters hire purely based on a minimum requirement of “five years of experience” and a “bachelor of science degree” alone.

That being said, here are some common education and experience items you’ll want to have on your resume.

1.    Proven work experience as a recruiting manager, recruitment consultant or recruiting coordinator. You’ll need to show that you’ve worked in recruitment before you can lead a team. Naturally.

2.    HR academic background, or a closely related field. Again, this isn’t a requirement, but it definitely won’t hurt. A BSc in HR Management or Organizational Psychology are two common credentials for this role.

3.    Significant experience in screening and evaluating candidates. You should have enough hiring experience under your belt to know what works, what doesn’t, and how you can coach a team to success.

4.    Knowledge of labor legislation. This is a core responsibility for recruitment managers. Knowledge can be learned, of course, but it’s a nice addition to any resume.

5.    Past managerial experience. Depending on the size of your company, you may be managing a large team of recruiters. Experience doing so will definitely help your application.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t tick all of these boxes just yet. Recruitment manager is an advanced role, and it takes time to get there.

Hard skills

Hard skills are learned on the job, in school, or on your own time, and are tools to make you a more effective recruitment manager. For recruitment managers, these include:

6. Experience and proficiency with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) and HR databases. These are the core tools you will work with every day, and use to audit and streamline your processes. You should have an expert level understanding of how they work, and how to get the most out of their features.

7. Excellent understanding of recruitment processes. Again, you’re the leader of these processes. It makes sense that you should have expert knowledge and experience in a variety of different types.

8. Experience with candidate selection methods and sourcing platforms. See above. You can’t audit, improve, and coach your recruiters on new techniques if you don’t know them yourself.

9. Excellent understanding of employer branding strategies. You will be expected to critique and drive the improvement of your employer brand, as well as enforce adherence to it.

10.  Critical thinking and problem-solving. Auditing and improving processes, and handling daily roadblocks that require strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

11.  Team management and leadership. This can be developed if you are new to leadership, but it will help if you have experience leading a team. This can be small project teams or larger departmental teams.

12.  Data analysis. You should be adept at collecting and analyzing HR and recruitment data in your ATS to identify problems and opportunities for improvement.

13.  Networking and relationship-building. The ability to interact with other professionals in the industry and building lasting relationships is a definite key to success.

14.  Verbal and written communication. You have to be able to clearly communicate with your staff, bosses, and candidates.

15.  Strategy formulation. This is at the core of the recruitment manager role. You need to be able to take in information and formulate a strategy to reach your goals.

Like with experience and education, don’t be turned off if you don’t check all these boxes. Focus on developing these skills over time and you will eventually make a great recruitment manager.

Soft skills

These skills are tied closely to your personality and how you interact with those around you. They are typically an innate trait that recruitment managers possess that make them successful.

Here are some examples of soft skills that many successful recruitment managers share:

16.  The ability to make effective decisions quickly.

17.  Strong interpersonal, presentation, and communication skills.

18.  Good time-management skills.

19.  Results-driven mentality.

20.  Comfortable socializing with new people.

21.  Doesn’t shy away from a new challenge.

22.  Exceptional work ethic and thriving under pressure.

23.  Strong ability to meet deadlines.

24.  Respectful, patient and empathetic to others.

As you can see from this list, recruitment managers need to be good workers, have confidence in their abilities, and have strong networking and social skills. That’s because they will be juggling a wide range of responsibilities that will test many different skill sets on a daily basis.

Sample recruitment manager job description

Now that we’ve talked about the responsibilities a recruitment manager faces and the skills and qualifications you’ll need to be successful, let’s take a look at a sample job description.

Recruitment Manager at Company Inc.

Company Inc. is seeking a highly motivated, innovative, and personable recruitment manager to lead our recruitment team. In this role, you will lead our team of talent recruiters, and design, create and direct our hiring processes and procedures as we seek new employees for the organization. You will be expected to work closely with our management team to establish hiring goals for your team and adapt our existing hiring processes to meet those requirements. This is a highly people-driven position, and you will serve as the primary employment brand ambassador and recruitment representative for Company Inc.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervise a recruiting team and its daily operations.
  • Set goals for your team, monitor performance, and report results.
  • Liaise with the executive team to establish quarterly and yearly recruitment goals.
  • Audit and update current recruitment procedures.
  • Create new recruitment procedures.
  • Keep track of and report recruitment metrics to the executive team.
  • Coordinate with hiring managers across the organization to forecast future hiring needs.
  • Stay up-to-date on labor legislation, and inform your team and hiring managers about changes to those regulations.
  • Monitor overall staffing numbers, and ensure that they are sufficient and properly distributed in order to meet corporate goals.
  • Advise hiring managers on interviewing techniques, and implement progressive techniques to improve the process and experience.
  • Audit the existing employer brand to determine if it aligns with the overall culture and corporate goals.
  • Recommend ways to improve and showcase the employer brand.
  • Ensure that all recruiters are adhering to and presenting the employer brand as a unified front for all candidates.
  • Participate in job fairs and career events to meet new candidates.
  • Attend conferences, workshops, seminars etcetera to build the company’s professional network.

Education and Experience

  • BSc in HR Management or Organizational Psychology
  • 5+ years of HR management experience
  • An equivalent combination of experience and education.
  • Proven work experience as a recruiting manager, recruitment consultant, or recruiting coordinator.
  • Significant experience in screening and evaluating candidates.
  • Extensive knowledge of local labor legislation.

Required Skills

  • Experience and proficiency with Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) and HR databases.
  • Excellent understanding of recruitment processes.
  • Experience with candidate selection methods and sourcing platforms.
  • Excellent understanding of employer branding strategies.
  • Team management and leadership.
  • Strong data analysis skills.
  • Networking and relationship-building.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

About You

The ideal candidate will / will have:

  • The ability to make effective decisions quickly.
  • Strong decision-making skills.
  • Strong interpersonal, presentation, and communication skills.
  • Good time-management skills.
  • Results-driven mentality.
  • Comfortable socializing with new people.
  • Doesn’t shy away from a new challenge.
  • Exceptional work ethic and thriving under pressure.
  • Strong ability to meet deadlines.
  • Respectful, patient and empathetic to others.


Brendan is an experienced writer and content marketing professional with experience working for various HR tech and SaaS companies in Canada. He has an extensive background in web content marketing and journalism.
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