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Recruiting skills you can learn from non-HR disciplines

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

Online courses can help you sharpen your recruiting skills. Instead of going back to school to brush up your recruiting knowledge, consider courses in six non-HR disciplines: sales, marketing, psychology, writing, mathematics and programming. Online courses in these subjects will provide you new perspectives to help you stand out as a recruiter.

What to consider before taking an online course

  • Cost. You usually need to pay subscription fees to successfully complete an online course, but fees are lower than traditional college tuition. Some online universities offer scholarships, depending on the course. Alternatively, you can choose a self-paced, free course. You’ll may have access to fewer resources and won’t get a recognized certificate, but you’ll have the opportunity to train on your own schedule and decide whether this course helps your recruiting skills.
  • Sources. Search online for courses that interest you. Some places to start looking include Lynda, Coursera and Edx. For more formal classes, consider online courses at well-known universities, like Harvard, Stanford and Oxford.

Here are our online course recommendations from various subjects and reasons for how they can help your recruiting career.

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What you can learn from:


You often hear that you need to “sell” your position to candidates. Good salespeople have strong listening skills, problem-solving attitudes and are highly motivated by goals. Basic sales training can improve your overall recruitment skill set.

People who’ve taken Coursera’s Sales Strategies: Mastering the Selling Process explain how they found the course useful, regardless of their backgrounds:

recruitment training courses - online review

Opt for a sales course to learn how to treat candidates like customers and promote your company and its job openings.

Course What you will learn How it will benefit your recruiting 
Winning Qualities of Inside Sales Pros
  • Sales tools that can double as recruiting tools
  • How to manage sales end-to-end
  • How to persuade reluctant customers to buy your products
Sales Skills Fundamentals
Sales Strategies: Mastering the Selling Process
  • How to master your sales skills
  • How to create a sales toolkit
  • How to influence your audience by telling a great story
  • Sharpen your persuasion and presentation skills to better communicate with candidates
  • Interact with partners (e.g. agencies and colleges) to promote your company
  • Build both your employer and personal brand


Marketing techniques help you promote your job openings. Use marketing training to improve candidate experience and build a positive reputation for your company.

Course What you will learn How it will benefit your recruiting
Optimizing Marketing Emails
  • How to write effective emails
  • How to customize your emails based on the recipient
  • Extra tips for optimizing mobile emails
  • Increase your cold emails response rate
  • Write better subject lines and personalize your messages
  • Reach candidates through effective mobile emails
Introduction to Social Media Analytics
  • Which social media metrics to track
  • How to use social media data to understand your followers’ preferences
  • Measure the results of your social recruiting endeavors
  • Learn the demographics of your audience
Professional Networking
  • How to manage your contacts to build strong professional relationships
  • How to host a professional event
  • How to network online


Human Resources Management is closely linked to psychology, the study of human behavior, emotions and interaction with others. These courses can help recruiters better evaluate candidates’ nonverbal behaviors during interviews or psychometric tests.

Course What you will learn How it will benefit your recruiting
Effective Listening
  • How to assess your listening skills
  • How to stay attentive during in-person discussions
  • Tips to ensure you understand your interlocutor
Paul Ekman Group (Youtube channel)
  • How to read micro-expressions
  • How to understand emotional behavior
  • Evaluate whether candidates answer questions honestly
  • Become more empathetic during interviews (in-person or through video)
Leading with Emotional Intelligence
  • What emotional intelligence means
  • How to understand and manage your emotions
  • How to be empathetic toward other people’s emotions


Strong writing skills convey professionalism. With online writing courses, you can go back to the basics: improving your written communication to woo top candidates.

Course What you will learn How it will benefit your recruiting
Writing in Plain English
  • How to simplify your writing
  • How to get your point across
Write Professional Emails in English
  • How to approach different email types
  • Common grammatical mistakes to avoid
  • How culture affects your email-writing
Editing and Proofreading Made Simple
  • How to spot spelling and grammar errors
  • How to improve style, format and tone in your messages


Use basic math skills to understand important recruiting metrics, like the number of candidates who advance through your hiring stages, or which interviewing methods are more cost-effective. An online math course can teach you how to calculate useful recruiting KPIs, compare different metrics and keep organized records.

Course What you will learn How it will benefit your recruiting
Statistics Fundamentals – Part 1: Beginning
  • How to calculate basic statistics, like averages, medians and standard deviations
  • How to spot misleading data
Introduction to Data Analysis using Excel
  • Basic Excel data functions and formulas
  • How to use filtering, tables and charts
  • Create spreadsheets to organize your data
  • Collaborate with the hiring team to share important metrics


Tech recruiters don’t have always the best reputation among developers. An introductory online programming course won’t teach you how to code, but it will give you a primer on basic terminology. It will also help you avoid common jargon (e.g. “ninja engineer” and “rockstar developer”) when writing job descriptions or interviewing candidates.

Course What you will learn How it will benefit your recruiting
Introduction to HTML and Javascript
  • HTML components
  • Basic Javascript programming
  • How to build simple HTML pages
Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming
  • Fundamental programming principles
  • How to program in Scratch
Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals
  • What modules, loops and strings are
  • Basic programming languages
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