Building Your Street Cred When You’re the New Recruiter on the Block

Monday nights at 9 pm ET, there is a great Twitter community that comes alive for #internpro, hosted by @YouTern. We network, share some laughs and above all, provide meaningful career advice to Gen Y and one another. This past week, the topic was on credibility as a young professional. A few days later, I happened to help train one of my company’s newest recruiters.

This got me thinking: how do new recruiters build credibility at work and show they’ve got the right stuff?


As defined by Merriam-Webster, credibility is the “quality or power of inspiring belief” or the “capacity for belief.” As recruiting professionals, we must possess the power to inspire belief in ourselves, candidates, hiring managers, leadership teams, clients, colleagues and communities. That’s pretty amazing and no small feat!


  • SHOW INITIATIVE. Early on, set up meetings with your hiring managers and other employees who are involved in the hiring process. Talk about their department’s goals and initiatives, open positions, what the vibe is on the team, what type of person they look for, and what it takes to be successful. Step by step, building your product knowledge and rapport will assist you moving forward.
  • LISTEN INTENTLY. This may sound like an easy one, but to truly listen is an acquired skill. (I took an entire college course on it!) Listen to your hiring managers’ needs. Listen to feedback (the positive and negative) on your candidates. Listen to what’s going on in your industry. Listen to what your senior leadership is discussing. Never stop actively listening … and learning.
  • PRESENT QUALITY. I can’t think of a better way to build your “recruiter cred” than to consistently present awesome candidates to your hiring managers. The ultimate goal is to get your hiring managers to trust your judgment and that the candidates you send to them are worth their time. A great way to identify quality candidates is to first meet with current top performers. Identify the hard and soft skills they possess, and then look for those qualities in your applicants.
  • WORK HARD. This means showing up on time and possibly working through lunch or past the closing bell. It also means planning your work and working your plan, providing exceptional service to all of your customers, and not giving up or making excuses.
  • PLAY NICE. There is a lot of chatter about aptitude and attitude, and how they both play a role in our careers.  I don’t think that nice guys (or girls) finish last; I believe that good things happen to good people. Striving toward a spirit of collaboration and being a positive presence at the water cooler will help you build trust, which is a key component to credibility.
  • BE CONSISTENT. As with many things in life, consistency is important. As you build your credibility, you’re also developing your professional brand and recruiter reputation. I love this quote from Warren Buffett, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” True.

So, there you have it! Six ways to build your street cred whether you’re new to recruiting or recruiting for a new company. We don’t all get it right the first time out of the gate, though I’m sure there are a handful of perfect recruiters, possibly? I’ve failed miserably a few times over the course of my HR career. I’ve been yelled at, cried at work, led a real doozy of a project and was once put on a warning. Many years ago, I was fired from a pretzel shop at the mall … but that’s a story for another day.

The point is, even if you give 110% you may still mess up. It’s how you get back up and whether you can hang tough that matters.


This recent Undercover Recruiter post on “How to Spot if Your New Recruiter is Destined to Fail” adds some additional perspective to consider. So, be sure to read it and if you think you’re emulating those five bad habits, then start working on your recruiter street cred, pronto!

Posted in ,

Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Steve Levy says


    Need to add a few more:

    MEET WITH THE COMPANY’S CUSTOMERS. Yep, the ones who spend the money that ends up on your company’s balance sheet. If you know what your customers like, you’ll be far better at identifying the traits of potential employees that are needed to support your company’s customer service objectives.

    ATTEND KEY LOCAL/NATIONAL ASSOCIATION MEETINGS. These are you “other” customers – your potential future employees. You NEED to be in their presence and ask them what they think of your company – without holding anything back.

    • Shannon says

      SL – So true. Thank you very much for reading, commenting and RTing on Twitter. I appreciate your insight! – SS

  2. Jeff Newman says

    Steve, I cannot thank you enough for tweeting this, and Shannon for sharing it. I am not going to reiterate beyond saying, SO TRUE. (Yeah, I unleashed the fury of the caps lock). I quote this all the time, but it always goes back to my favorite Greg Savage quote: “Integrity is like Virginity; When you lose it, its gone forever”. Every point you both make above, it is about having intergrity in who you are and what you do.

    • Shannon says

      Hi Jeff – Thanks for reading and connecting with me on LinkedIn! What are we without our integrity? Recruiters can sometimes get a bad rap. We have to build credibility for ourselves and profession. – Shannon


Newest Jobs in HR & Recruiting

Ultimate Staffing is hiring a HR Assistant - Covid Administrator (Irvine, CA) [Click to View]

Scion Staffing is hiring a Benefits Analyst (Pension) (Portland, OR) [Click to View]

Hays is hiring a HR Director (Cyber Security) (Tampa, FL ) [Click to View]

Ledgent is hiring a Payroll Specialist | Payroll Lead (Upland, CA) [Click to View]

Robert Half is hiring a Human Resources (HR) Assistant (Thornton, CO) [Click to View]

Pin It on Pinterest