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Recruiters' Pivot: Exploring Transferable Skills and New Career Avenues

Year 2023. 962 tech companies. 228,566 employees laid off. 

In fact,  this number exceeds the total number of tech layoffs in 2022, as reported by

With the global economic downturn millions of people have been losing their jobs almost every day. Among the most impacted ones are, of course, the recruiters - professionals at the frontline of talent sourcing.  

The dire situation has put many of them on an unemployment halt until the best times, while others have taken a harder decision of totally switching their careers. To support the latter category of recruiters to make the jump, below we’ve put together some key transferable skills they can rely on in their career change, as well as a list of potential career options they can consider. 

Key transferable skills for recruiters in transition

Recruiters possess a unique set of transferable skills that extend far beyond the realms of hiring. 

Their finely tuned abilities in communication, relationship building, data analysis, management and strategic thinking make them versatile assets in any professional arena. 

These skills, honed through years of identifying top talent and understanding organizational needs, equip recruiters to excel in roles ranging from sales and marketing to HR and project management. By recognizing the breadth of their expertise, recruiters can confidently embrace new career horizons and make a lasting impact in diverse fields.

Referring to the first steps needed for switching from a recruiter role, Maria Santos, VP People at Belvo, notes: “First know yourself, know what you like, understand which are your strong points and develop the other ones that you don't have.” 

Top common jobs for recruiters in transition

If you’re a recruiter looking to change your career, it’s first important to realize that there is no one fixed list of jobs for you: everything depends on your strengths, interests, skills, preferences and ambitions. 

Nevertheless, based on Global LinkedIn Data, below are certain functions that many recruiters often transition into. 

Furthermore, LinkedIn research also points out some popular job titles recruiters prefer moving into. As you can see, they are broken into HR and non-HR jobs. 

Let’s address each of those roles separately, seeing what kind of skills you will need for each. 

HR Roles

Obviously, HR is in the top 1 when it comes to transitioning from recruitment. 

As Rosa Blanca, Head of HR at Porsche Digital notes: “Definitely HR is the main one because actually recruitment is kind of the door to it: During your career as a recruiter you acquire so many skills that you then will be able to use in HR - communication skills, management skills, stakeholder skills. Obviously you need certain knowledge depending on what you really want to do but definitely HR for me is one of the next natural steps.”

Referring to her personal experience, Rosa says: “I started as a recruiter and then my first job inside of HR was an HR Manager setting up an HR department. I had no clue how to do that but I had the confidence that I could do it. So I looked for ways of acquiring the knowledge. I think that self-confidence, curiosity, and eagerness to learn new skills are so important for making this jump.”

As to some practical steps for transitioning to HR roles, Rosa continues: “If you want to get into HR, my piece of advice would be to start with positions like HR administrator and HR coordinator, as well as start learning about the law of the country where you want to work. That will bring you the admin side of HR with the skills that you already have in Recruitment and that's the base for growing your career objective.”

Some of the other skills you will need to successfully pursue a role in HR include leadership, organization, management, performance management, HR development, .etc 

Account Management

Another natural transition could be managing accounts instead of recruitment for clients. For this you will need some transferable skills like managing client meetings, processes and expectations, project and time management, negotiation, etc. 

“If you are an external recruiter and you work for a consultancy in the end somehow you're doing sales,” notes Rosa Blanca. 

Adding to Rosa, Maria Santos says: “If you are inside the team, you also do sales because it’s all about candidates. So I think it's part of the skills that we do have. But I also think that one of the problems with recruiters [in sales] is normally they are not that data driven. I think it's one of the key skills that we need to have for any position.”

Business Development Manager 

Because it’s in recruiters’ DNA to find candidates and build relationships with them, they could also consider the role of a Business Development Manager. 

In this function they can contribute to the company’s growth by finding new business opportunities, researching client leads and establishing new relationships with clients. Some of the skills necessary for this job include communication, collaboration, negotiation and persuasion, project management, research and strategy, etc. 

Business Partner

Still another alternative for recruiters could be the role of a Business Partner. In this role they can use their unique knowledge as people professionals to create and implement effective HR strategies and work closely with leaders to build organizational and people capabilities. 

Some of the skills required would be communication, decision-making, problem-solving, collaboration, delegation, planning, etc. 

Account Executive

If you’re into sales, you can join your company's sales team and focus on sourcing new company clients. In this function you can easily use your recruitment sales to help represent the company's service and brand and establish relationships with new clients. 

Some of the skills you will need here are presentation and communication skills, high empathy, organization, negotiation, etc. 

Project Manager 

Finally, recruiters can also choose the journey of a Project Manager to lead a team in planning, executing and monitoring company projects. Here the main challenge will be to establish project scopes and timelines and make sure the projects are completed on time, at the same time managing the resources and overseeing the project team. To do this, recruiters will need to rely on or develop certain soft skills like leadership, teamwork, time management and collaboration, as well as some hard skills like project planning and scoping, project roadmapping, etc. 

“If you are working in recruitment one of the skills that you have normally is project management. So if you are going to apply for a position of a project manager, why not give examples of the experience that you already had? Not as a project manager but actually doing the same job in recruitment. We have the tendency as humans to just see what we don't have. Do the opposite: What can we use that you already have? Use that to your own advantage,” notes Maria Santos.

Final Thoughts

In the current dynamic business landscape, recruiters have evolved beyond traditional hiring roles, showcasing their impact on talent management. From managing projects, finding the best candidates to negotiating and building relationships, recruiters' expertise knows no bounds. With evolving workplaces, recruiters' choice for their next career is getting limitless. By leveraging transferable skills and embracing roles as brand ambassadors and data-driven decision makers, recruiters become catalysts for growth and innovation, promising a more inclusive and vibrant future for organizations.

Workfully's mission is to create the most trusted recruitment experience in the world, aiming to give everyone their chance to build a better world. We are building a decentralized hiring ecosystem for the talent acquisition industry, where recruiters can independently grow, engage and monetize curated talent pools for the benefit of all.


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