Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Recruiter

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Occupation: Recruiter

Overview: A recruiter is a human resource specialist who seeks out, vets, and interviews potential job candidates for the management to consider for a specific position before referring them onward. They may be a recruiter within their own company (an internal recruiter) who looks to fill positions that come up, or they may be hired as a third party by a firm, tasked to look for potential matches for a particular job placement (an external recruiter). These individuals tend to be well-connected and tech-savvy, using Linked In, social media and special databases they have access to when they search for potential job candidates. If one is found they then will reach out to see if the person is interested in the position (regardless if they are currently employed or not). This type of recruiter is also known as a headhunter.

People might recruit for a business, a big project (like a new condo or office building high rise build), do executive searches for a CEO, CIO or another high-level executive position, recruit athletes for a sports agency or university, seek enlistees for the military, or many other areas.

People looking for work may also seek out a headhunter in hopes of finding employment quicker. They do not pay for this service as the headhunter will be paid by the business they are contracted to should there be a suitable match.

Necessary Training: To become a recruiter most require a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration. There may be certification programs that one must finish prior to being hired as a recruiter.

Recruiters must be extremely detail-oriented, observant, and learn the art of influence. Because recruiters can succeed or fail on reputation, being honest and building trust with their business clients and prospective candidates is key. They should be determined to find the best match possible every time, not just fill positions with whomever has a passing fit. Depending on their resources, they may invest time and money “wooing” a particular client to secure a contract with that company.

Paying attention to the little things, and being an expert in the ability to perform well in an interview room, a recruiter will use their skills to help a candidate. For example, should they know what a prospective employer is passionate about aside from work, they may, upon discovering a candidate has the same interest, suggest this might be beneficial to bring up during the meeting as a way to form a bond in the interview room. However, this must be done authentically and in the right situation, not as a way to encourage an employer to overlook the faults and shortcomings of a mediocre match.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, a knack for making money, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, ESP (clairvoyance), exceptional memory, gaining the trust of others, good listening skills, haggling, hospitality, making people laugh, multitasking, promotion, reading people, writing

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adaptable, ambitious, analytical, charming, confident, cooperative, courteous, diplomatic, discreet, easygoing, efficient, extroverted, friendly, honest, honorable, hospitable, industrious, intelligent, loyal, observant, organized, patient, perceptive, persuasive, proactive, professional, resourceful

NEGATIVE: obsessive, perfectionist, workaholic

Sources of Friction: a prospective job candidate that lies about their qualifications (and only discovering this after they have been placed with a company), a job candidate who has an impressive resume but does sub par work (or is lazy, entitled, or is high maintenance in some way, etc.), being asked to loosen one’s standards or fast track sourcing in order to gain the fee (perhaps because the recruitment firm is struggling financially), placing a candidate with a company only to discover later discovering some unethical meddling was involved to encourage the candidate to switch companies, one’s reputation being damaged because other recruiters working within the same company are lazy or unethical with their placements

People They Might Interact With: CEOs, CIOs, COOs and other executives at different companies, prospective candidates being interviewed, social media managers, technology specialists, delivery people, other recruiters

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Esteem and Recognition: constantly placing others in industries that constitute one’s “dream job” might cause a recruiter character to question their own path and make them feel like they settled in their career, leading to lower self-worth
  • Safety and Security: If a character becomes embroiled in an ethics review due to poor hiring practices in their recruitment firm, this could cause them to lose their job or struggle to move to another firm because their reputation is stained, regardless if they were involved or not

Common Work-Related Settings: boardroom

Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: Recruiters in fiction can be portrayed as not being ethical or being willing to do anything to secure a commission, but in an industry where reputation is everything, mistreating clients or letting them down by providing candidates who look good on paper but who are not great fits for the job will only hurt the recruiter’s practice. A recruiter who is good at what they do will take the time to really get to know a clients needs and strive to bring them exactly what they need, time after time.

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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2 Responses to Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Recruiter

  1. Shani says:

    Can you add
    Train Station Manager (USA) (UK) Master/ Mistress

    and Caterer/ someone who owns and operates their own business from home as a cook for parties etc.

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