Top 5 Books Recruiters Should Own

January 24 13 Comments Category: Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading from Recruitment DadThere is a lot to be said for experience. With experience we gain wisdom and have the opportunity to learn from our earlier mistakes. Getting good as a recruitment consultant, in part, takes experience. Once you have successfully (and unsuccessfully!) filled a number of requirements you get to know your own strengths and weakness better. It can take a good 6-12 months to really start to see a consistency of achievement in this job. Part of that is experience. There is many a recruiter out there who has “arrived” at this point and quite rightly has celebrated the success and can feel justly proud of what they have accomplished. Some of these individuals can start to become complacent. “I know what I’m doing” (Yes – in the main you do, you know what it takes to be as good as you are currently) “I don’t need any training or coaching” (Yes you do! Everyone needs a consistent opportunity to develop more skills or improve on existing ones!). Yet despite this there are those who consider themselves to be beyond the need for personal development. These are the consultants I meet who plateau out at what I would describe as “consistent mediocrity”. That doesn’t always mean they are bad, just “vanilla”. You know what I mean by that, plain, expectedly safe and blending into the masses. Eventually the wheels fall off the machine as the consultant or recruiter starts to unknowingly cut corners. They forget what they took for granted. The lack of consistent focus on skill development creates a dulling of the senses and performance starts to slip. On occasion it can take a loss of a client (or a recession) to highlight how “comfortable” they have become with their existing clients. These are the people you may have heard say “I need to go back to basics”. What they should say is “I should never have taken my eye off the ball and left the basics behind.”

One of the most popular reasons for joining the company I work for is to benefit from the extensive training available. Being biased I agree it is pretty good. What surprises me more when I meet these new starters (often with 2 – 5 years experience gained elsewhere) is how little ownership of their own development they take.

“My previous employer didn’t value it’s employees and there was very little training available for me”

I hear that, though it sounds more like this to me:

“I didn’t take personal responsibility for my own development and expected my employer to do it.”

You may think I am being harsh. I disagree. When each of these recruiters is prepared to pay, yes! Pay! To have their car serviced every year (even when it appears to be working fine!!) as much as £300. Why can they not make a similar investment in themselves? Do they not see it as their responsibility or as a worthwhile investment?? £300 could pay for an open course for a day, a couple of sourcing webinars or a pile of books!

The best I have worked with have invested in themselves and taken ownership of their own development. Even when there has been training available where they work. It is good to hear another person’s ideas and perspective. It is good to read about other people’s experience (it is experience that gives the opportunity to write a book with authority).

So, for those of you willing to make an investment in yourselves, I have compiled my personal list of books that I would recommend you buy to read. Now, I have to write “buy to read” as some people have been known to “buy to keep on a shelf”. To benefit – read it. All these books are on my bookshelf and I am recommending them because they are good. I have also read a lot of books that were crap (perhaps another blog post??).

So here they are:

  1. Breakthrough! – How to explode the production of Experienced Consultants – Steven M Finkel. This book has been a constant companion to me for 12 years now. A regular book I still read. Full of great pieces of advice and stuff that truly works. It looks at the whole process and takes each area and breaks down what to do to ensure maximum success. Steve Finkel is a master at being able to simply summarise what it takes to succeed in a search environment. Order direct from Steve as not in mainstream circulation.
  2. Selling to Win – Richard Denny. An easy reading book that gets right to the heart of what it takes to succeed in sales. Big focus on relationships which makes it perfect for recruiters. No jargon, no rubbish, just down to earth easy to implement advice. The author has also subsequently set up his own recruitment business specialising in Sales Professionals!
  3. New Solution Selling – Keith M Eades. Massively eye opening and one I would recommend to the seasoned veteran. Anyone who thinks that they know it all about sales has got to get this book. This is the person who trained Microsoft and IBM to sell properly. Scaleable to RPO £100m+ sales or for single transaction based recruitment opportunities. More technical in content and a little more challenging to read than the other two, it is still none the less exceptional. With template client letters, emails and full of really useful flow diagrams this will really make you think about what you are trying to do with your sales activity.
  4. Influence The Psychology of Persuasion – Dr Robert B Cialdini. 30 years of research have created this definitive title looking at how to create more influence. Full of true stories, experiments (the scientist in me loves to read about experiments) and loads of ways to make your job easier by making influence easier to replicate. Just buy it, before everyone else reading this hits amazon before you!
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey. I tried hard to select publications you may not have heard of. This book is one of the best selling business books of all time. I will point out though most people I know who own it have not read all of it. Many can talk about habit 1; Not many can talk about habit 7 as they didn’t get that far! A book I can read again and again and find other learning points I missed previously.

So that’s my top 5. I am sure there are books you have read you feel should be on the list. I may not have read them so please tell me what they are! My final words are these: Make some time to read one of these. Everyone has the time (we all have exactly 24 hours each it just seems others are better at managing it) so, in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk “Stop watching F*****g lost!” and do something more worthwhile. Develop yourself – buy a book, download a podcast (coming at some point in the future from Recruitment Dad) or watch a TED talk. Most of all, do something that will help you to continue to improve.

Really want to make a difference to your sales ability? Read Recruitment Dad’s Top 10 tips for planning success.

Liked this post? Then you might like these:

Recruitment Suicide – A Dummy’s Guide

The 7 Deadly Sins of Recruiters

Billing Managers in Recruitment

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13 Responses

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  1. Your comments on career responsibility are absolutely on target! Even with the tremendous changes in the employment market, people wear blinders about being responsible for their own security.

    Isn’t it interesting that in a country where we so highly prize home ownership for its stability and security, so many people only “rent” their careers? It’s how we take on career responsibility and development that creates the security we want and need.

    Thank you for voicing this in your post…I will reference you in one of my upcoming posts!

    Janine Moon

    Janine Moon 25 January 2010 at 4:43 pm Permalink
  2. Hi Janine,

    I am pleased to hear you agree and I look forward to reading your future posts. You’re right, and I would go further and say that it is when we take responsibility that we not only generate security, we generate opportunities. We start to stand out for being exceptional. I think it is a shame that there are so many out there who do not fully realise that their own future lies in their own hands. It comes down to ownership and responsibility.

    Kind Regards,

    Recruitment Dad

    RecruitmentDad 25 January 2010 at 9:32 pm Permalink
  3. Thanks for the list. I would also include any of the old Zig Ziglar books, ‘The Greatest Salesman in the World’ by Og Mandino and maybe ‘The Red Book of Selling’ by Jeff Gitomer

    Bill Morgan
    the job swami speaks… the career blog
    also, Regional Recruiting Manager Segula Technologies

    Bill Morgan 28 January 2010 at 5:46 pm Permalink
  4. All good books Bill, there are some classics from Zig that are priceless. Also in my list though not in top 5 is SPIN selling – a really powerful book for those in high value sales or consultative approaches. Unfortunately only room for 5 in a top 5 :)

    RecruitmentDad 2 February 2010 at 8:30 pm Permalink
  5. A book I’ve very much been enjoying recently is Keith Ferrazi’s “Never eat alone”, which is all about networking. I’ve found the section on uncovering people’s real needs (as opposed to business needs) and building relationships based on this particularly valuable.
    Keith took to task those who thought ‘relationship building’ was simply taking someone to dinner or to a sports event – unfortunately, this is one I’m particularly guilty of.

    Dave 4 February 2011 at 4:28 pm Permalink
  6. Thanks for the comments, RecruitmentDad. The bad part of writing books is that it is enormously tedious and time-consuming; the good part is reading that your efforts have helped readers to do better in their professional and personal lives.

    Breakthrough!, by the way, is now available on Amazon as well as directly.

    I agree with early-American author Joseph Addison:

    “Reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body.”

    Steve Finkel 5 September 2011 at 4:41 pm Permalink
  7. Am looking for An IT Book in Recruitment where its more or less like a guide of what kinda positions, technology and so on.

    Could someone revert to me. Appreciate it. Thank you.

    Priscila Sinnathamby 5 January 2012 at 11:25 am Permalink
  8. Priscila

    I would recommend you read a book called IT Demystified by Ade McCormack.
    You can find it here:

    Hope this helps!

    Recruitment Dad

    RecruitmentDad 8 January 2012 at 8:11 pm Permalink
  9. Hi All,

    There is one called “The Complete IT Recruitment Survival Guide”. We use it for new trainees who come into our business. Just another option for those getting the IT Demystified book.

    Hope this helps,


    natasha 12 March 2012 at 4:57 pm Permalink
  10. Hi

    I’m graduating in September and I want to get into recruitnment could you recommend a couple of books for beginners? Thanks very much!


    Neil Mc Namara 5 April 2012 at 11:50 am Permalink
  11. Hey,

    A great collection, lots of knowledge to be found in each one. Even though they’re not specifically ‘recruitment’ books, they will equip any recruitment manager with the additional skills and knowledge required to set them above the competition. Thanks for posting, just discovered your blog, I will be subscribing!

    Flat Fee Recruitment 14 June 2012 at 9:44 pm Permalink
  12. You had my attention at Breakthrough. You ended with Seven Habits.Your suggestions just in my opinion are spot on. Thank you.

    Sean Fanning 3 December 2012 at 8:42 am Permalink
  13. Hi,

    I would suggest Brian Tracy’s books for productivity & performance improvement for a recruiter


    eljay 1 February 2013 at 12:22 pm Permalink

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