Our best recruiting books 2021 list is a compilation of our 19 favourite books for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals to read this year.
In 2005, when I started my career in recruitment, there wasn’t much content out there for recruiters beyond a few classic sales books and a handful of blogs. It was all about learning by doing, figuring it out for yourself, and stomaching a lot of rejection. Whilst these are still essential to becoming a recruiter there are some great books that can help shortcut some of the painful experiences most of us go through.
Here’s a compilation of the books I have found most valuable for a recruiter to read, organised by the different areas in which recruiters spend their days.
This book covers how to leverage the Law of Familiarity to reduce prospecting friction and avoid rejection, how to use social selling to build relationships with prospects, a more effective script for cold calling and how to get more replies with cold emails. All of which a recruiter needs in her arsenal.
Today it’s harder than ever to get a candidate’s attention, so if you’re looking to inject some creative thinking into your recruiting efforts and take them to new heights in the process, then this book is for you. Like many books on this list it’s not a recruitment book, but one with principles which when applied to your craft will make you stand out.
In the age of employee reviews delivering a great candidate experience is critical in sourcing the best and keeping a reputation as a top employer. Using the 10 principles in Matt Wilkinson’s book about customer experience and applying them to the candidate experience will leave you in the top 1% of companies when it comes to candidate experience.
The landscape of recruiting is changing at a rapid pace. Different methods are needed to reach talent, and social media is a key channel. This book is great for anyone looking to overcome the fear and doubts they have regarding using social media for recruitment.
A staggering 46% of new hires fail in the first 18 months and out of these 89% are down to attitude and culture fit. Whereas skills levels can be changed through training, attitude is hard to shift. Hiring for Attitude combines valuable insights with relatable examples on how to assess someone’s attitude alongside their skills and experience.
Although the phrase “A-Player” makes me cringe, if we run with it for a second then this best-seller does propose to help ask the right interview questions to dramatically improve your ability to quickly distinguish an A Player from a B or C candidate. If you follow the steps outlined in this book they propose a 90% hiring success rate vs an industry standard of just 50%.
Recruitment doesn’t really have any celebrities, but if it did, Lou would be the Brad Pitt or George Clooney of recruiting (if you know what I mean). In Hire with Your Head Lou introduces the concept of “Performance-based hiring” which is hiring based on what the candidate needs to do to be successful in the job, versus relying on what the candidate has in terms of their qualifications. He argues that this approach is likely to attract top candidates, provide better hires, and contribute to reduced turnover over in the long term.
Made into a film starring Brad Pitt (not Lou Adler) and Jonah Hill, Moneyball follows the story of the Oakland A’s and their data driven approach to player selection. Sabermetrics, or moneyball, is the practice of crunching data in an effort to build a stronger and smarter team. This method holds that the skill of individuals aren’t what makes or breaks a team; in the long run, the goal is to make sure that each necessary skill is accounted for. The team will work like a clock, with each cog serving its own purpose (no matter how hopeless they may be at another area). Effective in recruitment? Possibly. Controversial? Definitely.
Written by Stanford professor Robert Sutton, the theme of this book is that bullying behaviour in the workplace worsens morale and productivity. A rule is suggested to screen out the toxic staff with the no asshole rule. To be honest, this isn’t one I’ve read but THAT title *clap clap clap emoji*
With increasing awareness that recruitment is becoming more like marketing than ever and standing out to attract the best talent is becoming more difficult. In Thinking Fast And Slow, Kahneman gives a deeper understanding of what drives human decision-making, which employers can use to get a real advantage in attracting and delighting the best talent.
By investing in this book, you’ll learn the stages of a sales call, a breakdown of classic closing techniques and their effectiveness, the right way to obtain commitment from buyers, how to uncover and develop needs, the SPIN framework (Situation, Problem, Implication and Needs-Payoff), and handling objections.
Influence explains the psychology of why people say “yes” and how to apply these understandings. Authored by Dr. Robert Cialdini, a seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion, his thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book. Perfect for people in recruitment roles looking to persuade people to take job offers or attend interviews.
I first read How to Win Friends and Influence People around 10 years ago and it’s had a huge impact on me. A lot of what Carnegie proposes doesn’t seem all that profound, and can even seem like common sense. Simple things like “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.”, “Smile”, “Become genuinely interested in other people.” and “Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.” Applying these principles in our interactions with people yields a better result for all concerned. Highly recommended!
We are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions that make us poorer, less healthy and less happy. And, as Thaler and Sunstein show, no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way. By knowing how people think, we can make it easier for them to choose what is best for them, their families and society. Using dozens of eye-opening examples the authors demonstrate how to nudge us in the right directions, without restricting our freedom of choice. As recruiters we often make it too difficult for candidates to behave in the ways we’d like them too. Applying the principles discussed in ‘Nudge’ to your recruitment process should make things a little easier.
From the visionary head of Google’s innovative People Operations comes a groundbreaking inquiry into the philosophy of work and a blueprint for attracting the best talent to your business and ensuring that they succeed.
I loved this book. It correctly identifies the trends in emerging ‘exponential’ organisations (companies who can grow 10 times in an exponential way without the need to grow their assets in a linear way. Different from traditional companies growing X% per year) that can make companies and entire industries obsolete. It will prompt you to think about how to structure your organisation for rapid growth and hopefully inspire you to think of new ways to hire at scale.
A book that sings to your heart. Laloux’s take on organisational development was simply ground-breaking. His passionate beliefs in “soulful workplaces” full of authenticity, community, passion, and purpose are being prompted by “a new shift in consciousness” is infectious. Reading will provide you with plenty of hope that some day soon all businesses will become more than performance-optimised, mood-hoovering cubicle farms.
What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policymakers alike to face the implications. Are we facing a bleak dystopian future? After reading this, you’ll be smashing all your IOT devices and encouraging your friends to do the same…
Super easy to read (you’ll rattle through it in a 2-hour flight) but hugely engaging Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Rework talks about building a product and running a business, from inception to hiring and release, with a writing style that is as terse and no-nonsense as you can get. Funny, too.
What are you reading? Leave me a comment with your favourite recruitment books. 😉
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