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10 Best Recruitment Books To Hire Better in 2021 and Improve Your Business

Recruiting the right person for the right job is easier said than done.

It’s no longer possible to simply rely on your own instincts in the hopes of selecting the best candidate for the job. We now know that there are numerous considerations to keep in mind to ensure the recruitment process is fair and effective. 

The fact of the matter is that recruitment as we know it has continued to dramatically shift from years past. Recruitment trends show that remote hiring and new recruitment technologies are just a few of the trends shaping not only who we recruit, but also how.

With so much to think about, it’s not surprising that many recruiters and hiring managers find it overwhelming to keep up.

It’s a good thing, then, that there is no shortage of experts to turn to. Below, you’ll find the best recruitment books to read this year that take a deep dive into these hot topics. 

Our list showcases a range of highly reviewed books that explore current best practices, trends, skills, and considerations that recruiters and hiring managers need to be cognizant of in 2021. You’ll learn about everything from how technology is redefining the recruitment process, to practical tips to attract the best talent.

Keep reading to discover the best books for recruiters and hiring managers.

1. Hiring Success by Jerome Ternynck

Book cover of hiring success by jerome ternynck
Hiring Success by Jerome Ternynck

What’s it about? 

When it comes to effective hiring and retention practices, no one can say Jerome Ternynck hasn’t put his money where his mouth is. 

The author of Hiring Success is the founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters, a recruitment platform that recently raised $110 million in Series E funding at a $1.5 billion valuation. Notably, Ternynck credits the company’s colossal success in large part to the very recruitment and retention strategies he outlines in this book. 

Packing in Ternynck’s 30 years of learnings, the book highlights how CEOs can use different recruiting strategies to enhance their hiring practices, and ultimately, grow their businesses. By the end, readers will be equipped with the ability to “attract, select, and hire the best on demand.”

The beauty of the Hiring Success methodology is that while it requires commitment on behalf of CEOs to see it through, it’s relatively straightforward to implement. Just ask Visa, Twitter, and Sketchers – a few of the many well-known followers of Ternynck’s methodology. 

If you’re unsure if it could benefit your company, you’ll find that the book’s easy-to-understand explanations give you the confidence to try it out for yourself.

Who should pick up a copy?

CEOs striving to develop a practical framework for how to hire and retain top talent will enjoy reading this book. Recruiters and hiring managers will also revel in learning about the unique recruitment strategies Ternynck puts forward. 

Memorable quote

“In a recent survey by McKinsey Global Institute, nearly three-quarters of employees said they were thinking about another job. Why wouldn’t yours be, too? So more likely, you’re sitting on a time bomb—fighting to get and keep talent while your competition is becoming more and more aggressive at trying to steal that talent from you.”

2. Recruiting in the Age of Googlization: When the Shift Hits Your Plan by Ira S. Wolfe 

What’s it about? 

We know what you’re thinking: “Another resource about Google?”. It’s true, there is an abundance of books, articles, and YouTube videos discussing the effect the search engine giant has had on our lives. But Recruiting in the Age of Googlization: When the Shift Hits Your Plan is different. It specifically hones in on the substantial impact it has had in the field of recruitment. 

Author Ira S. Wolfe discusses how technology has completely disrupted the recruitment industry. He brings to light the phenomenon of traditional jobs disappearing, new jobs emerging, and technology rapidly advancing, as well as what it means for recruitment in the 21st century. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be sure to appreciate the need for recruiters to adapt their practices to address these changes. 

If the name Ira S. Wolfe sounds familiar, we’re not surprised. He’s made a name for himself in the HR world, having shared his expertise as a recruiter on all manner of mediums. This book is in fact his fifth book, and it’s arguably one of his best. 

Who should pick up a copy?

Anyone who doesn’t want to be left behind in the Internet age should make reading this book a priority. Whether you’re a recruiter, hiring manager, job seeker, or just curious about what the future of work holds, you’re bound to get a kick out of Wolfe’s latest offering. 

Memorable quote

“Shift or die. It’s that simple. To make matters worse, humans suck at exponential change. We think when one thing happens it has only one effect. We assume we know all the dots and where they are. We don’t.”

3. The Robot-Proof Recruiter: A Survival Guide for Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals by Katrina Collier 

What’s it about? 

No list of top recruitment and selection books would be complete without The Robot-Proof Recruiter: A Survival Guide for Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals. Katrina Collier’s book is one of the most highly regarded when it comes to modern staffing books.  

Similar to Wolfe’s book, Collier covers how technology is reshaping recruitment now and in the future. However, she takes a much more cautionary tone, warning of the repercussions of recruiters’ overreliance on technology.  

Collier uses eye-opening statistics, case studies, and her own expert observations to advocate what she calls a “human-first” approach to recruiting. The author stresses that while technology has its place in recruitment, it should be kept in a supporting, rather than a starring role. 

By following a human-first approach, Collier says that recruiters can drastically improve their human interaction and response rates. Moreover, she asserts that doing so will help to ensure recruiters are irreplaceable by article intelligence and robots. All in all, the book gives recruiters plenty of food for thought regarding the viability of their own recruitment practices.

Who should pick up a copy?

Are you willing to take an honest look at how you use technology to recruit? Are you open to changing this relationship? Then Collier’s is one of the best recruiting books in 2021 for you to read.  

Memorable quote

“Putting technology first and the human last was never going to create a positive outcome for recruiters, even if it was unintentional. For too long recruiters have used technology to spam, disrespect, ghost and even reject; using technology to cut the wrong corners, they have left people cold.”

4. The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence by Adele B. Lynn 

What’s it about? 

EQ, or emotional intelligence, is an attribute that’s often undervalued in the workplace. Even those who recognize its value don’t know how to go about hiring employees with EQ. 

The EQ Interview: Finding Employees with High Emotional Intelligence by Adele B. Lynn aims to answer the most pressing questions about hiring for emotional intelligence. By delving into the five areas of emotional intelligence, as well as their relationship to job performance, the book makes it clear why employers should value EQ. 

It usefully features over 250 behavior-based interview questions that can be used to put candidates’ EQ skills to the test. Lynn doesn’t just cover which questions to ask, though. As any recruiter or hiring manager worth their salt knows, asking the right questions is only half the battle. You also need to know how to interpret candidates’ answers. 

Fortunately, she also provides guidance on how to analyze candidates’ answers to predict future success. Lynn even offers tips on how to detect so-called “EQ frauds”. Overall, the book offers an ideal balance of theory and practical advice on harnessing EQ at work.

Who should pick up a copy?

This book covers everything you could want to know about hiring emotionally intelligent candidates. So if you want to learn more about the how and why of doing so, this is a must-read book.

What others are saying about it

“Perfect for HR departments large and small, this book is an excellent tool for determining the appropriate candidate for any given job.”

Houston Business Journal.

5. The Remote Revolution: How the Location-Independent Workforce Changes the Way We Hire, Connect, and Succeed by John Elston

What’s it about? 

While in a pre-COVID world, remote work was but a distant dream for many, it’s now become the new norm. But despite this seismic shift in how we work, employers have by and large failed to leverage the benefits that come with a remote workforce. 

This book aims to change that. One part business book and one part memoir, The Remote Revolution: How the Location-Independent Workforce Changes the Way We Hire, Connect, and Succeed explores why companies should embrace remote work. 

If you’re anything like us, you’ll find it hard not to be drawn in by Elston’s colorful recounts of his foray into remote work. That said, while Elston’s experiences are page-turners in and of themselves, what makes this book truly worth reading is that you’ll walk away with a new perspective. You’ll learn about the value of remote work for businesses, from boosting sales and productivity, to inspiring creativity and job satisfaction. 

Who should pick up a copy?

Business leaders who are interested in the remote working revolution will appreciate the insights The Remote Revolution offers. It may prove to be just the push needed to start building a remote workforce. It’s also a riveting read for anyone with a bit of untamed wanderlust, or those considering a location-independent life.

Memorable quote

“Embracing location independence can be a strong point of differentiation (POD) for forward-thinking companies that understand work and life are no longer two separate entities. The revolution is about fusing them together. I learned it because I lived it.” 

6. Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business by Jeff Hyman

What’s it about? 

Simply put, Recruit Rockstars: The 10 Step Playbook to Find the Winners and Ignite Your Business is a book that just about every recruiter and hiring manager will benefit from reading. 

Hyman breaks down the entire recruitment process into 10 strategic steps recruiters can take to hire the best candidates (or “rockstars,” as he puts it). His methodology is informed by data, so those who dislike more ‘fluffy’ recruitment and selection books may find its contents a welcome relief.

Recruit Rockstars is the type of book that you can easily breeze through in a few sittings. This speaks to Hyman’s unique ability to connect with his fellow recruiters. While some sourcing books can leave you feeling dejected about your recruitment efforts thus far, Hyman’s will leave you feeling empowered and motivated to improve.

Who should pick up a copy?

It’s one of the best books for recruiters to read as well as experienced HR staff looking to revamp their recruitment practices and increase hiring success.

Memorable quote

“I have a saying when it comes to Rockstars: ‘Recruit five, get the results often, and pay them like Eight.’”

7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

What’s it about? 

With more than 3 million books sold, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t is one of the most popular recruitment books on human resources. 

So what exactly has made it such a best-seller? The book is a downright enthralling read. In it, Collins sets out to answer the age-old question: “What makes companies succeed?”. To this end, he shares the results of a painstakingly comprehensive analysis of thousands of articles and interviews he and his research team undertook. 

As you have probably already guessed, recruitment is found to be an important piece of the puzzle. Collins doesn’t just leave it at that. He gets into the nitty-gritty of what effective recruitment looks like, including the types of work culture and leaders that breed success.

Who should pick up a copy?

If you’re after a more holistic look at what makes a great company, rather than a book purely on recruitment, this is a top choice.

What others are saying about it

“The difference is how hard Mr. Collins works to arrive at his simple conclusions. They are based on years of detailed, empirical research and are all the more powerful for producing such unexpected results.”

Financial Times

8. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Robert Sutton

What’s it about? 

A recruitment and selection book with a name that’s cheeky, it may be tempting to dismiss, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t as a book that lacks substance. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Robert Sutton’s book has been critically acclaimed for daring to address one of HR’s most taboo topics: how to handle not-so-nice people in the workplace. It’s no doubt one that most recruiters and hiring managers have encountered first-hand, with varying degrees of success.

Sutton was inspired to write his book after penning a wildly popular article for the Harvard Business Review. Asked to present a breakthrough business idea, he decided to introduce the world to the “no asshole rule”. The idea clearly resonated with people, as the article quickly became one of the publication’s most-read ever. 

So what does Sutton’s book recommend in terms of handling such people? In a nutshell, Sutton recommends that management should let them go. He argues that the distress mean-spirited employees cause shouldn’t be underestimated, as it can have serious consequences for a business and its employees. Already intrigued? Make sure to give it a read for yourself!  

Who should pick up a copy?

If you’re struggling to know what to do with a toxic employee or workplace, this book will give you the guidance you’re after.

What others are saying about it

“Direct and punchy, Sutton uses accessible language and a bevy of examples to make his case…”

Publishers Weekly

9. Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

Book cover of who by geoff smart and randy street
Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

What’s it about? 

In just over 200 pages, Who will provide you with a blueprint of who you need to hire, how to get them working for you, and how to nurture existing talent. 

Authors Geoff Smart and Randy Street argue that above all else, the ‘who’ (that is, your employees) matters most in business. This is significant because many managers mistakenly overemphasize the ‘what’ – the strategies and processes a company uses and the products it sells.

Backed by years of experience supporting companies to “make better who decisions”, Smart and Street’s hiring expertise effortlessly comes through in Who. What makes this book so captivating, however, is that the authors also give space for business leaders to share their expertise. 

Who should pick up a copy?

If you’re on the search for a strategic end-to-end recruitment methodology to adopt in your company, Who will provide you with a strong starting point. 

Memorable quote

“The fact is, all of us let our who guard down sometimes… Due diligence, after all, takes time, and time is the one commodity most lacking in busy managers’ lives.”

10. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni

What’s it about? 

While two decades have passed since The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable was first published, the book remains one of the most authoritative recruitment books on the market. 

Its enduring appeal is due to the fact that author Patrick M. Lencioni’s advice still rings true today. That is, there are specific qualities that cause even high-functioning teams to struggle. Lencioni calls them “the five dysfunctions” of teams: an absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

Known for his parable writing style, Lencioni guides readers through real-life examples of team and leadership problems to illustrate his points. He also provides plenty of practical insights and solutions, so by the end, you’ll be brimming with new strategies to combat any team-related problems in your own workplace.   

Who should pick up a copy?

Great as a staffing agency book and executive search book, this one is best suited for C-level management and HR leaders who are interested in improving their organizational culture at work. 

What others are saying about it 

“Succinct yet sympathetic, this guide will be a boon for those struggling with the inherent difficulties of leading a group.”

Library Journal

Key ideas and learnings to implement in your business

Each of the books that we’ve featured above will enrich you with new perspectives and understandings about recruitment. Below, we’ve outlined a number of key ideas and learnings that you can put into practice in your own business. 

The most prominent theme throughout the books is that success in business is contingent on fine-tuning your recruitment strategies sooner, rather than later. 

There’s no denying that technology is redefining every facet of recruitment, from the types of jobs you need to hire, to who you should hire and how. It’s therefore imperative for recruiters and hiring managers to recognize the role that technology plays in recruitment. 

This requires an understanding of both the benefits and drawbacks of different technological innovations and trends in recruiting. As many of the books touch on, technology is neither the answer to all recruitment problems, nor the enemy. 

As such, it’s up to HR leaders to strategically manage the use of technology in recruiting. Failure to do so may cause candidates to think twice about applying to work at your company. Improper use of technology in the workplace may also give your current employees reason to consider other opportunities.

In a similar vein, another key takeaway from our HR recruitment reading list is that companies must keep abreast of the latest recruitment strategies and best practices. Using outdated hiring practices will not only make it harder for your company to attract new talent, but also retain your existing talent. 

That’s why many of the best books for recruiters advocate improving the candidate experience. As they point out, this can include such things as valuing candidates’ EQ and offering remote working options. 

On a more general level, the books above all reassert the need to onboard the right people in your business. After all, while there are some employee-based workplace problems that can be resolved, like Lencioni’s book discusses, there are others where it’s simply not possible (yes, we’re talking about the stars of Sutton’s book!). 

The books featured above, therefore, provide a useful reminder about the significant impact that selecting the right candidate—or the wrong one—can have on a business as a whole. 

Final thoughts 

With the nature of recruitment constantly evolving, it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest best practices, trends, skills, and considerations. 

The 10 books on recruitment and the selection process we highlighted will give you the inspiration and guidance you need to improve your own recruitment practices. While there are lots of recruitment books online and in-store to choose from, we believe that the ones we selected are among the best you’ll find.

Remember, the best talent won’t wait for your company to keep up—they want to work with those leading the pack. So don’t delay, get reading!  

Do you have any recommendations that didn’t make our list of top recruiting books? Shoot us a message. We’ll share the best ones on our social media channels!     

Monica Mizzi

Monica Mizzi

Monica Mizzi is a digital marketer and freelance writer who works with businesses to boost their online visibility and craft compelling content. She's worked with the likes of Google and Vimeo, and her portfolio includes pieces published in The Guardian, Huffpost, and inflight magazines.

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