National Book Lovers Day is a time when your Amazon book wish list makes it to your basket! As a Recruiter turned Learning Professional, I love a good book so I’ve handpicked my top five that I recommend to any recruiter (or person) who asks for inspiration for their next read.

Featuring old favourites recommended by colleagues (thanks Debbie!) and new releases, these books will give you the knowledge and power to help take your career to the next level. Let me know what you think - what would make it into your top 5?

5 books every recruiter should read in 2021

  1. Never Split the Difference - Chris Voss
  2. The One Thing - Gary Keller
  3. Radical Candor - Kim Scott
  4. Legacy: 15 lessons in leadership - James Kerr
  5. Alive at Work - Dan Cable

Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss

With ‘9 key principles for a successful negotiation’, this book is one you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP. Chris shares his personal experience from his FBI days to help support you in refining your negotiation skills. 

I believe that negotiation is part of our everyday interactions and that we’re always working towards getting the best out of any type of situation we find ourselves in.

In recruitment, the interactions we face day-to-day bring out our inner negotiator. Whether it's about money or work-life balance, it drills down to how you leverage your influence to achieve the best outcome for all parties involved. 

And don’t forget, hearing ‘yes’ doesn’t always put you in a winning position.

These 9 key principles will take your skills to the next level - “Life is a negotiation”. 

The One Thing, Gary Keller

This really is the one thing you must add to your Amazon checkout. Thanks to my colleague Debbie, it has a prime spot on my bookshelf. 

In recruitment, and life in general, the path to any goal can be uneven and you may face obstacles along the way, but they should not phase you. Instead, they should push you harder to achieve them. 

This book will encourage you to focus on how to reach the next stepping stone on your journey and how to really gain clarity on finding the best path to get you there.

Radical Candor, Kim Scott

Communication is key when it comes to personal development and Kim backs this up by sharing her first-hand experience with us. 

In recruitment, a huge part of our role is to communicate effectively with people so that we can guide them through the end-to-end recruitment processes. Knowing how to deliver feedback whilst maintaining a productive and positive relationship is crucial throughout your interactions; whether it be with your manager, colleague, client or candidate. 

Radical Candor explores the 4 ways messages can be received and the impact it may have on your relationships. It’s the perfect book for those who want to explore the importance of building strong and trusting relationships, while retaining your integrity and sincerity. 

Legacy: 15 lessons in leadership, James Kerr

In his time spent with the All Blacks, James discovered the art of doing the little things and the impact this has on team behaviours and culture.

In recruitment there are the basics that will always need to be done, and done well. Regardless of the route you progress through or how senior you become, the basics remain a part of your routine, sometimes becoming unconscious practice.

It’s important to remain humble through your role in recruitment and to understand how your actions directly impact someone else’s next career move.

“sweep the sheds; never be too big to do the small things that need to be done”. 

“Vision without action is a dream, action without vision is a nightmare” - also from Kerr’s time with the All Blacks, and great advice - be clear on your goals and understand what it takes to achieve them. Allow your actions and your goals to work in tandem, always moving you forward.

Alive at Work, Dan Cable

I’ve saved the best till the last. This book was by far my favourite read of 2020. It focuses on finding purpose in what you do and understanding the part you play.

Whatever industry you are working in, in whatever job you have found your place - it’s important that you understand your purpose and how you contribute to the business goals. By identifying this, you will be able to switch on what Dan refers to as ‘your seeking system’, and perform with maximum personal potential within your role, resulting in optimum job satisfaction, which is what we are all aiming for right?!

I’m always here for a recommendation or a review, so don’t hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn (link below). I’d also love to know the books that have impacted your working life. If you happen to pick up any of these books, let me know your thoughts! 


about the author
Niamh Sykes
Niamh Sykes

Niamh Sykes

learning & development business partner

I am known for my knowledge of the recruitment industry and relish my role in the design and delivery of training to support colleagues at Randstad to find success in their roles. If you asked any of my colleagues (past or present) for my key skill they would say "organised".