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Global TA expert Andreea Lungulescu reveals everything you need to know about a Principal Recruiter

“We are architects of talent acquisition operational excellence, mentors, coaches, and, very often, the driving force behind the continuous improvement and innovation in TA initiatives and recruitment strategies.”

Andreea Lungulescu
Principal Talent Acquisition Partner, Wayfair
Andreea Lungulescu on the importance of a principal recruiter

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Have you ever thought about what makes a Principal Talent Acquisition Partner stand out? 

Let’s put aside the flashy titles for a moment and really dig into what this role is all about. 

As someone deeply involved in the talent acquisition field, I want to take you behind the scenes  — where it’s not just about market trends or compensation levels but about genuine skills, deep technical knowledge, and measurable impact. 

Join me as I share the unique capabilities and real-world strategies that define a principal recruiter, the unsung strategists of talent placement.

What is a Principal Recruiter?

A Principal Recruiter isn’t just a team member; they’re the glue holding everything together. 

As mentors and coaches, they keep the team at the forefront, seamlessly blending talent nurturing with a continuous growth and learning culture. 

Keep in mind that these individuals are more than just recruiters with an elevated title. 

You’ll often see them bridging the company’s main goals, such as OKRs and key priorities, along with streamlining the hiring process

Tackling tough challenges, these professionals are pivotal in a business’s success or failure because of the impactful decisions they make. 

And no, it’s not just about issuing orders from afar but actively engaging in the trenches alongside their teams.

So, the next time you see your Principal Recruiter, remember this role is key in making big things happen!

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What are the distinctive skills of a Principal Recruiter?

In my role as a Principal Recruiter, I see a few skills as essential. 

These allow us to make a real impact in our organization, ensuring that we meet our current recruitment needs and set the stage for future success.

Here’s a list of all the must-have skills of any Principal Recruiter:

  • Managing significant projects efficiently, ensuring they deliver value to the organization.
  • Developing and implementing recruitment strategies that address the entire scope of talent acquisition. This includes planning, market analysis, and integrating diversity hiring. 
  • Providing insights and advice that help align HR strategies with business objectives, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Leading through our expertise and influence. We mentor our teams and guide them, shaping the direction of our hiring strategies and projects.
  • Understanding and managing both the vertical and horizontal aspects of an organization.

Of course, with so many industry changes, it’s important to understand how the demand for certain skills may vary in the future. 

Infographic on top soft skills needed for a principal recruiter
Image source: static.wixstatic.com

Can Principal Recruiters replace HR leaders?

Having both a Principal Talent Acquisition Partner and a People Leader within the same team is all about synergy.

While leaders provide direction, set goals, and monitor performance (to name but a few responsibilities), Principal Recruiters bring in-depth technical expertise and innovative recruiting skills

We work autonomously, influencing executive decisions through “on-the-ground” expertise and collaborating effectively with various departments and stakeholders.

This synergy allows for a more holistic approach to talent acquisition, combining strategic leadership with recruitment technology proficiency and innovative thinking. 

Ultimately, this leads to the overall effectiveness and success of the team.

Please note that if you are in a smaller company, you probably do NOT need both a manager (People Leader) AND a Principal Recruiter. 

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“Principal Recruiter” is not just another title; it’s a commitment to excellence in the field of talent acquisition. 

It’s about leading with no authority, purely through expertise and influence, being true advisors to the highest level of talent and HR functions in organizations.

So let’s embrace the transformative role of Principal Recruiters and become a catalyst for change in businesses all over the world!

Author

Andreea Lungulescu

I am Andreea Lungulescu, a Principal Talent Acquisition Partner with over 13 years of specialized talent acquisition expertise. My role serves as the strategic right-hand to Talent Acquisition leaders and executives, ensuring our talent strategies are not only effective but also aligned with broader business goals and that the TA departments execute with excellence. 

My personal mission is to help develop inclusive career paths for Talent Acquisition professionals, breaking through the glass ceiling for individual contributors. I am an advocate for entrepreneurial thinking, influential leadership, and I am passionate about creating exceptional candidate experiences. From leading global expansion projects to winning Global Innovation awards at companies like Zalando and Wayfair, my journey has been a tapestry of creativity, strategic insight, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. 

I am also the founder of the TA Crunch, which is Berlin’s most sought-after talent acquisition community.

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