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A Typical Day for a Recruiter

Updated: Oct 2

Just kidding.

There is no “typical” day for an external recruiter, because no two jobs, candidates, hiring managers, interview process, job markets or Applicant Tracking Systems are the same.

While it’s true, most days will have some combination of the following components (sourcing, resume review, screening, interviewing, job posting, email and calendar management, and meetings), it’s what happens outside of the span of control, that can make a recruiter’s day highly unpredictable.

Most recruiters start their day with a set of expectations, a schedule of tasks and a plan for progress, and before they know it, everything has been reprioritized, canceled, or in some unpredictable way, changed.

Does this ring true for you?

The Day You Planned:

Wake up early, eat a balanced breakfast, do some morning stretches, grab some exercise outdoors if the weather is nice, log into email, check your calendar, begin to prepare for a busy day with client meetings.

There is blocked time for screening, your confirmed interviews are spaced apart with enough time to prepare before, document after, and submit qualified candidates to hiring managers. You’ll have time to step out for lunch and maybe a little afternoon caffeine boost before turning your creative juices towards sourcing hard-to-find, passive candidates.

You’re in your flow, the internet is stable, Indeed is producing good results from your search with no technical difficulties, everyone you reach out to on LinkedIn is interested, qualified, responsive, and already on your calendar for later this week.

The icing on the cake is that you get the email you’ve been hoping for all day: Your client is making an offer to one of your candidates, and you get to call them with the exciting news! You alert the rest of your team, share a virtual high-five, and log off feeling satisfied and content at helping another jobseeker find their dream role.

The Day You Really Have:

Oversleep the alarm and jump out of bed with just enough time to shower, get ready, look quickly at your calendar on your phone and see that you have back-to-back calls for the first 3 hours of your day, beginning in 15 minutes. You grab a granola bar, the largest cup of coffee you can find, a glass of water, you take a deep breath and settle in at your desk.

You check your posture, turn on the space heater and do a quick, seated, stretching routine while logging into Zoom and your email simultaneously. As you are waiting for your first interview to enter the Zoom meeting, you review incoming email and see that the candidate has canceled the interview because they accepted another position. You then check additional email anticipating feedback from a client on your candidate submittal from earlier in the week (they have not). You send brief emails to your candidates to update them on the status, letting them know you’re still waiting for feedback, and that you’ll be back in touch soon.

You resist the urge to call or email the client to inquire about interest but decide to wait a little longer because you don’t want to appear pushy. You decide to review resumes on Indeed with the “extra” time in your day, only to experience Indeed “technical difficulties” and you’re not able to access the resumes of the candidates who have applied. You begin to take deep breaths, sigh dramatically in frustration and switch over to LinkedIn, only to find that your InMails are not receiving responses and you begin to wonder where all the interested job candidates have gone.

With eternal optimism, you conduct your remaining scheduled interviews, most of which begin with technical difficulties and end with the standard, awkward video meeting exit of fumbling to find the “Leave Meeting” button.

You document your interview notes into the ATS and go back into your email to get ready to submit qualified, vetted candidates to the hiring managers, only to see that the job you just spent countless hours interviewing people for, has been filled by an internal candidate, or the position has been closed – hiring on hold. You communicate this unfortunate news to your candidates and cancel any remailing scheduled interviews for that position.

In the meantime, a new client intake meeting has appeared in the only available time slot on your calendar, meaning you won’t be able to squeeze in a lunchtime walk. You take 5 minutes to step outside, stare up at the sky, and take a few deep breaths before microwaving the coffee you poured this morning and didn’t have time to drink. You grab another granola bar.

Your afternoon meetings all go over schedule, but that’s okay. Somehow, you’ve made it to the end of the day. You start closing your browser tabs, close your calendar, then your email…only to find the draft of the email to your client that you started at the beginning of your day staring at you, unfinished. You debate quickly pushing it off to tomorrow, but decide to send a quick, friendly “Just checking in to see if there’s any feedback email” before officially logging off for the day, spent and exhausted.


If you have worked in recruiting for any length of time, you know it’s a numbers game. Your ability to roll with the punches and pivot as often as necessary is what ultimately leads to success in the role.

External Recruiters (or headhunters as we have been called), are brand ambassadors for our clients.

We are curious, engaging, process driven, and resilient. We are knowledgeable about our open roles and our clients’ employer value proposition. We navigate the art of interviewing from building rapport, to asking tough questions, always seeking to understand where candidates are in their career journey, and how it aligns for today’s open jobs, or opportunities in the future.

At Wynne Hires, we are honored to serve the clients and candidates who trust us to guide them through the hiring process, and we strive to add value to every connection we make.

Follow Wynne Hires for more insights, tips, and more!

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