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Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$41,190 per year

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Recruiters seek out, interview, and test applicants to locate qualified employees for job openings. Recruiters—also called personnel recruiters or employment, recruitment, and placement specialists—often travel to universities and colleges to interview promising students for employment. They may also select applicants from resumes that job seekers send to the company.

Whether they travel to school sites or do their recruiting in a company's human resources departments, recruiters evaluate applicants on their technical skills, education, work history, personality, salary requirements, and managerial abilities. To inform candidates of company benefits and job opportunities, they often give promotional presentations. Recruiters also test prospective employees during follow-up interviews, analyze the results, and maintain files on applicants. They may also check applicants' references.

An important part of the recruiter's job is to understand and implement the government's guidelines on discrimination. Recruiters must also know their company's needs, programs, benefits, management structure, and advancement policies.

Some recruiters work exclusively for private consultants or employment agencies, which assist companies in finding qualified employees. Other recruiters are employed by large corporations.

Education and Training Requirements

A college education is usually required in this field. Majors in human resources management, business, psychology, sociology, or economics are accepted. Some employers prefer liberal arts graduates. Courses in management, marketing, industrial relations, organizational behavior, and public relations provide excellent preparation for this field. A master's degree in business administration (MBA) may be helpful in some cases.

Getting the Job

A graduating student's college placement office may be a good source for locating recruiting positions. Interested individuals should consult the classified ads in local newspapers and job sites on the Internet. Some companies use employment agencies and human resources management magazines to locate recruiters.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Recruiters can advance to higher levels in human resources or other managerial departments in a company, depending on their skills, experience, and performance. Advanced jobs in the human resources field include training specialist, human resources director, and manager.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, recruitment, employment, and placement specialists held 182,000 jobs in 2004. Employment of recruiters was expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. In times of recession when jobs are scarce, the opportunities in recruiting may diminish. Because recruiting is often a one-step assignment on a career ladder, there will always be a need to replace recruiters who advance to higher positions. The job market will be competitive due to the abundant supply of college graduates and experienced workers with suitable qualifications.

Working Conditions

College recruiters travel extensively from city to city during the height of the recruiting season, which can be both exciting and grueling. Also, recruiters frequently may be required to work on weekends and in the evenings. They should know how to use audiovisual equipment and other office equipment, including computers.

Recruiters must have excellent communications skills and an interest in people. They must be able to quickly judge a person's suitability for a job. This part of the job creates pressure.

Where to Go for More Information

International Public Management Association for Human Resources
1617 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-7100

Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-3440

Earnings and Benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recruitment, employment, and placement specialists earned a median salary of $41,190 per year in 2004. Benefits include paid vacations and holidays and health insurance.

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