Talent Hero

The Recruiter Life Survey Results

Last year, we published The Recruiter Life survey and asked you to dig deep into your life as a recruiter. After carefully combing through the data, we’ve compiled a special report to show you what your peers are doing and how you stack up.

Recruiters are slowly moving online to find new clients

If you’re a regular reader of Talent Hero blog, you’ll notice that I often tell recruiters that there is a vast opportunity to grow your business online if you’re willing to dedicate the proper amount of time and money to the task. This chart shows that some of you are listening.

In fact, 35% of recruiters’ new business is coming through online channels including email, social media, search and online advertising.

How do you find new clients?

However, if you’re one of the people who is exclusively using an old school method like cold calling or relying heavily on your network to produce more business, now is the time to branch out and grow.

Recruiters face a wide array of challenges when finding new clients

Recruiters cannot agree on the most difficult aspect of finding new clients. Whether it is competition from other recruiters, finding contact information for the decision-makers or getting those same decision-makers to reply to your initial outreach, there are clearly many challenges facing recruiters when they are looking for open jobs to fill.

What is the biggest challenge you face when finding new clients?

Even experienced recruiters tend to run into roadblocks. One recruiter with more than 10 years on the job noted that their biggest difficulty was “helping clients overcome their decision-making paralysis when they see candidates who have transferrable skills that are not an obvious match for their requirements”. Another noted a similar problem and commented that it can be difficult to “influence decision makers to take calculated risks on hiring someone without multiple years of experience in their industry even though significant results can be demonstrated through quick learning”.

LinkedIn is easily the most popular sourcing option

When asked how recruiters source new candidates, it was unsurprising to see LinkedIn dominate the rankings, with over 50% of candidates sourced through either the free version of LinkedIn or LinkedIn Recruiter.

How do you source new candidates?

However, note that social media is starting to chip away at LinkedIn’s lead. Almost 15% of new candidates were sourced through either Facebook or Twitter, an impressive number given that neither are known as sourcing platforms.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that among write-in candidates for sourcing tools, Hiretual absolutely dominated the competition (not shown in the chart). It may be worth checking out their platform to see why people love it so much.

Initial contact is a difficult challenge when sourcing new candidates

Over ⅓ of recruiters stated that the initial stages of sourcing are the most difficult. Finding contact information for potential candidates or getting them to respond to your initial request is still proving to be a challenge for recruiters. One recruiter summed up the challenge clearly. “I recruit for highly technical and specialized roles that are also in high demand. The challenge is differentiating sourcing strategies that set you apart from the high volume of contact they are receiving daily from recruiters. There are limited channels and we all are using the same ones (primarily InMails and cold calls/emails). There is a need for more strategic sourcing platforms.”

What is the biggest challenge you face when sourcing new candidates?

For those who struggle with this problem, stay tuned for an upcoming article where we explore how you can stand out from the crowd.

Contact finding tools are the most popular apps for recruiters

When we asked you for the apps and subscription services you use on a daily basis, you responded loud and clear. Contact finding apps such as Hiretual, Lusha, Snovio and ContactOut top the list of tools that are regularly used. Given the specific challenges that recruiters face when sourcing candidates, this should come as no surprise.

What are the apps and subscription services that you use on a daily basis?

However, in spite of their popularity, many recruiters still struggled with using these tools effectively. Multiple recruiters noted their frustration with the tools’ accuracy rate and others wished for better integration with their existing ATS or recruitment marketing platform.

The recruiter wish list for new tech is diverse

When we asked you for tools you wish existed that could make your job easier, your list of answers was long and varied.

Some wanted to simply improve on their existing software, asking for “an ATS that actually works the way recruiters work” and “an ATS with better user workflow”.

Others focused their attention on improving the interview and hiring process specifically, requesting “a way to keep track of which recruiter interviewed which candidate, their status within the company after being hired and if they quit immediately after training” and “a unified platform to screen, interview and test candidates, including mobile access”.

Still others focused on automating the recruiting process, talking about “a candidate sourcing system that allows for the input of a candidate profile, position profile, and company profile. The system then utilizes matching talent sources, assesses talent strengths, HR analytics, identifies the “best-in-the-business” talent, and delivers a “top 10 prospect list” to engage and recruit”, “a tool that would take a job description and break into metadata before plugging it into the various resume websites we use. It would create boolean searches, following each website’s particular style, and generate a list of leads automatically, cross-referencing them for most recent resumes on duplicate profiles” and “A service that could tell me the readiness of the candidate (using a scoring algorithm) to consider new propositions”.

Lastly, some wanted tools that would allow them to work on their own skills such as “a service that allows recruiters/sourcers to share best practices including organizational skills and desktop practices that work” and “a cohesive offline community for recruiting learning and development”

Recruiting is a tough job

The biggest takeaway from the survey is simple – recruiting is not for the faint of heart. It’s a job that requires a diverse skillset to manage many moving parts. While there are certainly ways to systemize a process that simplifies your daily tasks, there is no way to get around the fact that in order to get paid, you must often convince a hiring manager, an HR specialist, a business owner and a candidate that working together is in their collective best interest. It’s a task that is easier said than done.

One recruiter put it best. He said, “The hardest part about being a recruiter is managing a recruitment cycle where you have little control over candidate and hiring managers’ decisions. You live in a world of chance, and we cling to the small portion of things we can control.”


Zack Gallinger


Zack Gallinger is the founder of Talent Hero Media, a digital marketing agency that specializes in finding new clients and candidates for recruiting agencies. He attended the University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management, where he received his MBA. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and spending time with his (very large) family.