20 Books Every Recruiter Should Read

Like any field, recruiting is constantly developing. New strategies, methods, systems, and insights are appearing all the time. But there are also bedrock concepts that form the foundation of the discipline.

These 20 books for recruiters will teach you everything you need to know, from basic recruiting concepts to the latest innovations in data-backed hiring.

Whether you’re a recruiter, a hiring manager, or an executive, these recruitment books will help you attract better talent, weed out potential problems, and hire top performers for your company.

Who: The A Method for Hiring

The title is a little strange (it took me a moment to parse it correctly), but the insights contained in this book are essential for recruiters and hiring managers. The authors spent over 1,000 hours interviewing billionaires and CEOs about successful hiring, and condensed what they learned into a single concise book.

You’ll learn why the average hiring manager makes so many mistakes and why those mistakes are so costly (the average hiring mistake, they say, costs a company $1.5 million a year).

The A Method promises to improve successful hiring rates from 50% to 90% through defining outcomes, asking the right interview questions, and emphasizing the right points to get the candidates you want.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Like it or not, the recruiting process is often biased toward extroverts. Introverts tend to not perform as well in the standard interviewing process. But that’s limiting your recruitment pool by up to 50%.

As Cain points out in Quiet, introverts tend to excel in many important areas of business—and you could be missing out on their skills.

This book will help you open your mind to recruiting introverts, and teach you to make the interview process more introvert-friendly. By combining these insights with the practical recruiting and interviewing advice in the rest of the books on the list, you’ll open up your company to a new and powerful group of employees.

Social Media Recruitment: How to Successfully Integrate Social Media into Recruitment Strategy

With a less-than-exciting title and a cover that looks like it belongs in a university library, you might be tempted to pass this one up. But Headworth’s thoughts on social media recruitment are valuable to any recruiter that wants to keep up with the modern world of job searching and networking.

This is a highly practical book. You’ll see how companies have successfully used social media for recruitment and learn to apply the lessons to your own business. You’ll learn how to begin and end the process. You’ll find out how to calculate your social-media-recruiting ROI. And in the end, you’ll be an expert on social media recruitment.

Hire With Your Head: Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Great Teams

A modern classic among recruitment books, Hire with Your Head presents a simple premise: you should hire based on performance.Performance-based hiring includes sourcing, screening, interviewing, and recruiting—all with a view to how top candidates look at the jobs they’re offered.

The focus is on job requirements, not skills and experiences; career-oriented networking, not job board postings; and analysis of a candidate’s background instead of application forms.

It’s an involved process, but Adler’s book has been the basis of an extremely effective recruiting paradigm that you can’t afford to ignore.

Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude

While some companies find success in looking for candidates based on the skills they have, Murphy argues that they’re going about it all wrong. Instead, he writes, they should be focused on a candidate’s attitude. He cites his own experience as well as scientific research to back up his claims that a good attitude is more important than a specific skill set.

It’s a unique approach to recruiting, and this break from how things have been done is likely to make many recruiters and hiring managers uncomfortable. But Murphy makes a compelling case that we should think about recruiting differently.

Of course, recruiting doesn’t have to be one or the other; if you can combine the insights from this book with another practical guide to recruiting, you’ll be a formidable force indeed.

Creative Hiring: The Pinnacle Model for Spontaneous, Imaginative, Collaborative Interviews

Every step of the recruitment process is important—and interviewing is no exception. But the traditional model is outdated, inefficient, and
ineffective (and maybe most importantly, no fun). This book helps recruiters and hiring managers get to the candidate behind the canned answers.

The Pinnacle Model is a seven-step process for interviewing that will help you see the competencies that candidates find difficult to express, like creativity, curiosity, and genuineness.

A combination of sociology, psychology, communication studies, and the authors’ years of experience come together to form a new and extremely valuable interviewing tool.

Recruiting 101: The Fundamentals of Being a Great Recruiter

Whether you’re just getting started in a recruiting career or you’re a life-long professional, the basic skills of recruiting are crucial for your success.

Even if you’ve been recruiting for years, it’s valuable to go back to the beginning and make sure you’re using all the tools at your disposal to get the best candidates.

Recruiting 101 covers 15 basic skills for recruiting success, including social media, recruitment marketing, cold calling, and interviewing. Not all 15 skills will be applicable to your job—but this book will help you nail the basics and become a better, more well-rounded recruiter.

Hiring Smart!: How to Predict Winners and Losers in the Incredibly Expensive People-Reading Game

More than anything else, successful recruiters need to be able to read people. They need to get at the motivations and competencies that otherpeople have difficulty identifying with a few interviews. It’s not easy.

Dr. Mornell shows interviewers how to judge a candidate’s fitness for the skills required in the job as well as the organizational fit, something that’s often overlooked in the interviewing process.

Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business

If you think your job is about building a workforce, you’re aiming too low; you need to be working toward creating a talent force.

Rueff and Stringer write about how the world of business employment is changing and the new expectations that employees have. And, of course, how you can meet them.

This book will help you change your thinking about the employees at your company; you’ll see that they don’t simply work there. They apply their talents and help the company move forward. And it’s your job to find the most talented people to help.

How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for Your Team—Even If You Don’t Have a Recruiting Department

If you’re reading this article, chances are you do have a recruiting department. But that doesn’t make this book any less relevant. Herrenkohl gives examples of companies that have had great recruiting success even without big recruiting departments, and shows how their existing marketing, networking, and sales processes helped them do it.

You’ll learn how to change your mindset to better attract top talent, how to leverage social media and your website to recruit, and how to turn your current B-players into A-level ones. It’s an all-in-one guide to getting the most out of your employees.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

While it’s not directly related to recruiting, Good to Great is a seminal business book about how companies succeed. And since you’re in the business of finding the people who will help your company succeed, this information will be useful to you.

Based on the findings of a long-term study, Collins looks at the factors that transform good companies into great ones. Management, discipline, entrepreneurship, and technology all play a role. And if you keep those things in mind while you’re recruiting candidates, you’ll help your company make the leap.

Lean Recruitment: Finding Better Talent Faster

Recruiting talent is a difficult process—and it often takes a lot of time. Lean Recruitment will help you make it faster. By identifying the right requirements, posting effective job ads, using your personal network, and interviewing effectively, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to fill vacancies at your company.

Romano and LaRocca also present a science-based scoring system that will help you narrow your applicant pool and remove bias from the hiring process.

Remote: Office Not Required

More companies are offering employees the ability to work from home, and most of them are seeing significant benefits. As a recruiter, you need to understand this trend and consider how it’s going to affect your own recruitment process.

Whether or not you’re recruiting remote workers, understanding why it appeals to both employees and employers will help you get a better handle on today’s recruiting landscape. And if your company isn’t yet offering remote as an option, this book might convince you to try it.

High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant

When do you start the recruiting process? When someone leaves your company? Wintrip says that’s the wrong way to do it. Instead, he argues, you should be constantly cultivating a pool of top performers that you can hire at a moment’s notice.

It goes against how recruiters have been working for decades, but Wintrip makes a compelling argument that this ongoing process of recruitment will result in a flow of high-quality employees that your company always has available.

It’s a very different way of doing things. But it might be one of the best.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Yes, this is a book about baseball, not a book on recruitment. But Michael Lewis’s classic account of how the Oakland A’s turned one of the lowest budgets in Major League Baseball into a team of great players that had a phenomenal cost-to-win ratio.

If nothing else, Moneyball shows the power of smart recruiting. You might not be trying to figure out which players to bring up from your farm team, but this book will be an inspiration to recruiters and help you start thinking about your resources in a new way.

The Best Team Wins: Build Your Business Through Predictive Hiring

Countless industries have been transformed by data science—but many recruiters are still using old methods. Adam Robinson lays out a new mindset for recruiting and outlines the tools that will help you bring on the best talent for your company.

With data-driven job profiles, candidate scorecards, competency ratings, and other data-driven tools, you’ll be more confident that you’re hiring the right candidate.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

As a recruiter, the maintenance of company culture isn’t among your primary responsibilities—but in choosing who to bring into the company, you play an important role in shaping it.

Daniel Coyle looks at some of the world’s most successful groups and identifies the actions and strategies that help them keep positive, engaging cultures. Reading this book might change how you think about hiring for culture, and that could have a big effect on how you put the practical recruiting advice from other books into action.

Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business

“Ninety percent of business problems are actually recruiting problems in disguise.” When you think of it that way, you can’t help but see the crucial importance of hiring rockstars for your company.

Another book that emphasizes data-based recruiting, Recruit Rockstars collects the experiences and wisdom of Jeff Hyman, a long-time executive recruiter.

The book has positive reviews from executives at Twitter, Google, the Kellogg School of Management, and Entrepreneurs on Fire, so you can expect great advice.

96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire

This book is going into its third edition for a reason: it’s become a mainstay of the recruiting field, and it’s one of the top recruiting books available.

These interview questions get at the real qualities you’re looking for, and get around the typical answers that everyone is prepared to give in an interview.

You’ll learn to define the criteria you’re looking for in a candidate and craft questions that get the answers you need. You don’t have to ask all 96 questions—but you’ll definitely find the right ones within this list.

Topgrading: The Proven Hiring and Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance

According to Dr. Smart, there are three problems that lead to poor hirings: dishonesty, incomplete information, and lack of verifiability. The topgrading method helps you solve all of those problems to boost your hiring success.

The latest edition provides tips for successful hiring at companies of all sizes, shows you how to screen out unqualified applicants in seconds, and provides a topgrading interview script. You’ll be ready to start the process in no time.

Keep Learning

Whether you’re just getting started as a recruiter or you’ve been in the game your entire career, there’s always more to learn. And these are the best recruitment books out there. There are always news ideas arising, though, so keep an open mind and keep learning!

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Dann is a content strategy and marketing consultant who helps B2Bs generate demand and leads. He also blogs about strategy and content marketing at www.dannalbright.com.