From entry-level talent to seasoned executives, recruiters are in demand. With talent shortages, skills gaps and crushing competition, a good recruiter can be an invaluable asset to an organization. But if you’re considering a career in recruitment, you may have realized by now that there’s not really a “recruiting” major in college. So what should you study if you’re planning to become a talent acquisition professional?

We turned to a few of today’s top recruiters to find out what their college majors were. It turns out, (almost) anything goes — many different backgrounds can translate into a successful recruiting career. Here are a few of our favorites:

What does it take to be a successful recruiter?

While there’s no undergrad degree for recruiting, there are many certification programs available. But getting started in the profession, and making sure it’s the right choice for you, all depends on whether or not you have certain skills and qualities.

It starts with emotional intelligence (EQ). Recruiters are keen listeners who recognize visual and physical cues: when an applicant is passionate about their work, or fudging a little about their credentials. Recruiters are strong communicators, with the ability to translate information in a positive way, like explaining hiring processes. Recruiters are self-managers, often juggling dozens of vacancies at a time. They’re relationship managers, as well. Working with every team in the organization, they leverage their connections for positive outcomes throughout.

It comes as no surprise, then, that many recruiters major in areas that focus on high emotional intelligence. According to LinkedIn research, the top degree program for recruitment professionals is psychology, followed by business, marketing, HR and sociology. 

#AskaRecruiter: What was your college major? 

A recent thread on LinkedIn revealed the broad array of backgrounds that can lead to a career in recruitment:

“Management and Corporate Finance with a concentration in HR.”

Natalie Brown, Lead Recruiter, Hirewell

“I majored in Communications and Business Management. Both are very broad, but each major offers material that will help you understand how to be successful in talent acquisition and other areas of business. Some of these skills include leadership, business acumen and how to diversify your communication style to your audience.”

Tonja Rodgers, Corporate Field Recruiter, Meyer Utility Structures

“I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance.”

Jennings Wynn, Senior Customer Success Manager, Yello


Sofie Yellin, Technical Recruiter, Hirewell

“Sociology and a minor in Psych.”

Keisha Newcomb, Recruiter, Yello

Recruiting roles and responsibilities

Wondering what other skills you may need to become a recruiter? Here’s a sample job description with a few common roles and responsibilities:

Sample recruiter job description:

We’re looking for someone with: 

  • 2+ years as a recruiter or similar HR role
  • Candidate interview experience
  • Hands-on experience with candidate sourcing databases and Applicant Tracking Systems
  • Familiarity with recruitment marketing techniques
  • Good networking skills
  • Ability to travel at least 6 months of the year

How you’ll make an impact: 

  • Define and execute the organization’s recruitment process
  • Recruit entry-level and mid-management level talent
  • Work with hiring managers to understand hiring needs, open roles and job responsibilities
  • Foster strong relationships with the career center on university campuses
  • Attend college career fairs, interacting with students and sourcing potential candidates
  • Host information sessions to promote our employer brand
  • Screen resumes, conduct interviews and perform skills assessment tests
  • Identify opportunities to improve and optimize our hiring process

Many degree paths develop the skills needed to be a success in recruitment. It starts with EQ and a desire to with people and be of service. For recruiters, the chance to help individuals, teams and the organization overall are all part of a day’s work. What’s more rewarding than offering someone a job that could literally change their life?