There are many steps along the way in a recruiting career path. After some time as a recruiter, it’s only natural that you would want to take the next step in your career — and for many, this means going on to become a senior recruiter.

Senior recruiters play a vital role in the talent acquisition process, using their experience to work alongside other staffing professionals to fill open positions at a company.

By understanding what a senior recruiter does and how to get to this point in your staffing career, you can determine if this is a good next step in your career journey.

The Senior Recruiter Job Description

senior recruiter job description

The senior recruiter is a full-time position found at both staffing agencies and traditional companies. Senior recruiters are closely involved in everyday recruitment efforts. This includes many of the responsibilities that are often fulfilled by an entry-level recruiter, such as advertising job postings, reaching out to potential candidates, and using social networking and job fairs to connect with top talent.

However, as someone in more of a leadership position, the senior recruiter’s responsibilities go well beyond those of a typical recruiter. Senior recruiters are often involved in helping the company develop its sourcing strategies, candidate experience initiatives, and candidate communication strategy based on the business needs.

This could include regularly evaluating the recruiting process to identify potential areas for improvement in the company’s recruitment strategies. A couple of examples of process improvements are switching to a different applicant tracking system or advising the hiring manager of the need to hire additional staff. Senior recruiters use their knowledge and expertise to help shape the hiring process to meet the unique needs of their company.

Senior recruiters are very involved throughout the hiring process. This often begins by writing or editing job descriptions, including working with other senior management to determine which qualifications are needed for an open position.

They often use applicant tracking systems to manage the candidate pool and ensure no high-quality candidates slips through the cracks. This candidate database is used to track phone calls, emails, interviews, and other communications. It can also be used to write notes on which candidates are a good fit for a particular position. Even when the senior recruiter isn’t the one doing the interview, they will often oversee the process using these tools to help everything go smoothly.

Senior recruiters will frequently train entry-level recruiters. By ensuring that the entire recruiting team is following interview best practices and working to improve the candidate experience, these professionals help to make the company more appealing to top talent.

Finally, senior recruiters will often work alongside the Human Resources department to create a consistent, positive experience for people who join the company. They are frequently involved in the onboarding process to help ensure quality of hire and transition a new hire from the recruiting staff to the HR department, which handles the day-to-day needs of employees.

How Much Does a Senior Recruiter Make?

how much does a senior recruiter make

With increased responsibilities, the senior recruiter salary is much higher than that of an entry-level recruiter. According to Glassdoor at the time of publishing, as of 2022, senior recruiters have an average base pay of about $72,000 per year, with an average of around $32,000 per year in “additional pay.” 

However, senior recruiters in some major markets can make much more than this. For example, the average senior recruiter salary in New York is $124,000, and in San Francisco, it’s over $147,000 – and that’s before additional cash compensation is added in!

The estimated additional pay comes from nonsalaried forms of compensation that are relatively common in the recruiting industry, such as commission, profit-sharing, and cash bonuses. This additional pay essentially serves as a performance incentive. The better a senior recruiter does their job, the more they can potentially earn beyond their base salary.

Keep in mind that these numbers are averages. Some senior recruiters can earn significantly more, while others will earn less. Your exact salary will vary based on factors like industry, location, and your level of experience.

How to Become a Senior Recruiter

how to become a senior recruiter

Senior recruiters are in high demand. In fact, you’ll find senior recruiter jobs in a wide range of industries, including banking, the military, tech, healthcare, and more.

As a senior-level position, however, this isn’t a job you can apply for as soon as you graduate from college. While a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for most senior recruiter positions, that’s also true of most entry-level recruiter positions! Degrees in business administration, Human Resources, and psychology are generally preferred, as they focus on topics and skills that are often needed in recruiting.

So, what sets senior recruiters apart? It largely comes down to their years of experience. Most senior recruiters typically have at least three to five years of experience in recruiting or a related field (such as Human Resources). Depending on the industry, they may also need more specialized experience, for example, if they work as a technical recruiter for a technology company.

Qualified candidates for a senior recruiter position thrive in a fast-paced environment. They also have strong interpersonal and communication skills. After all, they not only need to make a positive impression with potential candidates—they must also effectively communicate with others in senior management to help the entire hiring process go smoothly each time a hiring need arises.

Because they often oversee the recruiting process, senior recruiters should be detail-oriented and organized. They should be proficient in using applicant tracking systems and other tools used in modern recruiting, such as LinkedIn and other social media channels. And, of course, they should have a great track record of identifying quality placements when filling open positions.

Though not always required, many employers prefer that senior recruiters have additional certifications, such as a Professional Recruiter Certification (PRC) or a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

What Comes After Being a Senior Recruiter?

While becoming a senior recruiter can be a great career goal in and of itself, it isn’t necessarily the end of the line for someone looking to advance their recruiting career! After some time as a senior recruiter, you could advance to a variety of other positions:

  • Hiring managers (also sometimes called recruitment managers) oversee the entire recruitment process. They supervise recruiters and lead the development and changing of the company’s recruiting processes as needed. Hiring managers can further advance to a position like recruitment director.
  • In an agency setting, you could move on to the role of account manager. Account managers are largely responsible for maintaining strong relationships between a staffing firm and its clients. They often meet directly with clients to discuss their hiring needs, and they oversee the recruitment strategy to ensure each client’s open positions are filled appropriately.
  • Senior recruiters can also transition to recruiting-adjacent positions, such as Human Resources managers. The interpersonal and communications skills that are so important in recruiting also play a major role in these positions, which typically focus on improving day-to-day experiences for employees, which ultimately improves retention of top talent. Human Resources managers often collaborate with recruiting teams to coordinate the administrative aspects of these roles, with the goal of ensuring that the right people are put in the right positions to succeed.

Taking the Next Step in Your Recruiting Career

In many ways, the job of a senior recruiter simply builds upon the experiences and skills you’ve already developed during your recruiting career. Whether you work for a private staffing agency or in a company’s recruitment department, your ability to find top talent to fill open positions will go a long way in helping your company succeed.

Prelude can help you improve your hiring process with a platform that modernizes the candidate experience. From streamlined scheduling to interviewer training, Prelude gives senior recruiters the tools they need to succeed.