We need more recruiters in EA

by Pia Voltz


EA’s success depends greatly on placing outstanding people in high-impact positions. However, in the last couple of years, there hasn’t been enough focus on recruitment as a professional way of finding, vetting, assessing, and placing talent within the EA community. This “lack of demand” has created a lack of supply of qualified recruiters. To remove bottlenecks in organizations, communities, and industries benefiting EA cause areas, we need more professional recruitment activities—and recruiters. I want to encourage more people to consider recruitment as a potential high-impact career for themselves.

In this article I am:

  • sharing my perspective on recruitment as an overlooked career opportunity

  • sharing the link to a job profile on recruitment I wrote

About the author: Pia Voltz has 9 years of work experience in executive search, assessment, training, and employer branding. She has been an EA member since 2016, co-founded EA Dresden in 2018, CellAg Germany in 2021, and in early 2022 Tälist, an organization that matches Alternative Protein businesses with the best talent from around the globe for the benefit of humans, nature, and animals.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Anya Hunt for coordinating our publications and to Sofia Balderson for providing valuable guidance on writing my first EA blog post. Thanks to Rowan (Connor) Flynn, Shaileen McGovern, and Rainer Kravets for their feedback on a draft of this post.

Disclaimer: While writing this blog, I learned that Katie Glass and Anya Hunt have already been working on a much more comprehensive article on the same topic (soon to be published). Just before publishing I also took notice of this article by Kat Woods and Amber Dawn. This is why I shortened my initial draft to avoid too much overlap and focus on content that provides an additional perspective: my own hiring experience of finding EA-aligned recruiters for Tälist, as well as a job profile for recruiters.

Recruitment as an overlooked, high-impact career

The way EA has approached the goal of redirecting people to high-impact careers has been heavily focusing on community building and raising awareness for certain careers. In recruitment terms, this could be seen as building a talent pipeline—a rapidly growing, global talent pool. At the same time, professional recruitment as a systematic way of placing candidates from this talent pool into high-impact roles has been neglected. This “lack of demand” created a lack of supply—recruiters with the right skills and EA alignment are difficult to find (based on my experience when hiring a recruiter for Tälist, and anecdotal evidence from other organizations that ran hiring processes for recruiters in the last two years).

Much like operations management wasn’t considered a high-impact role in the past, recruitment hasn’t been discussed, or proposed, as an effective way to make a difference. For example, “recruiter” is not mentioned in 80000 Hours’ list of recommended careers (even though hiring and HR are mentioned as the last project in their project list for operations management roles), and there haven’t been any blog posts about recruitment as a profession to date. In my perspective, this signals that the EA community has been underrating this profession and the potential benefits it could have, especially because EA is growing rapidly, and thus, will need to engage more talented people. By now, operations management has largely been accepted as having a positive impact on organizational efficiency. In the same way, we need greater awareness of the massive impact recruiting can have through the cumulative benefits of putting the right people in the right roles.

The impact potential was one of the main reasons why I decided to found Tälist as a meta-organization at the beginning of 2022. Tälist was founded on EA principles, and the focus on recruitment for the Alternative Protein industry aligns with several EA cause areas, most specifically animal welfare. When searching for our own recruiter, we experienced the challenges of finding fitting candidates. Considering the variety of educational backgrounds and skills within EA I don’t think the main challenge is a lack of the right people. I assume that the problem is that the right people are not aware of their fit for this role, and/​or don’t consider recruitment as a high-impact role.

If successful, recruiters can find the best people for the most impactful roles and remove bottlenecks in organizations, communities, and industries, benefiting EA cause areas. They facilitate the success and growth of organizations—and individuals. As a recruiter, the impact you have is the sum of the effect of the candidates you place in high-impact projects or organizations (accounting for counterfactuals). Additionally, recruitment can be trained or learned well based on some more general skills (such as self-management and communication skills). If you want to learn more about this role please also read the job profile I published.

With this article, I want to encourage more people to consider recruitment as a career for themselves—with the current developments in the EA community, it seems like there will be promising opportunities to start a career as a recruiter.

You can write to me (pia.voltz@talist.org) and/​or share your experience and thoughts on recruitment and hiring, e.g.:

  • Have you been considering recruitment as a role for yourself?

  • If not, what are the reasons?

  • Which challenges do you see for yourself in making a career in recruitment?