Top 16 Skills of Extremely Successful Recruiters (from the hundreds I have met)
Through the years, I have met, interviewed, trained, and worked for hundreds upon hundreds of amazing recruiters. If you’re considering a career in this field but you’re concerned about how to become a recruiter with no experience, these are the skills needed to be a recruiter—and actually be good at it.
#16 Be Empathetic
This is among the most important traits I have recognized that all good recruiters share. Being a corporate headhunter isn’t easy, in fact, for those new to the field, you may actually find yourself asking: What does recruiter mean really?
Empathy is definitely something that defines a successful recruiter. By definition, empathy is the capacity to understand what a person is feeling. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing things from their frame of reference is one way to be empathetic. It helps you remember that you need to treat others as you would like to be treated.
#15 Listen To Understand, Not To Respond
Many people know how to listen, as in, they know how to be patient and keep their mouth shut for a few moments so the other person can talk. However, very few people know what it means to truly listen. When you’re really listening to someone like the best recruiters do, they take the time to understand what is being said to them.
The great recruiters I have worked with through the years listen to hiring managers about their needs and the company culture. They listen to candidates about what motivates them to succeed. They listen to those who are speaking to them not to come up with a response but to truly understand their requirements and find a solution that fits them.
#14 Know How To Build Relationships
As a recruiter, fostering professional relationships will prove to be a big part of your success throughout your career. Building relationships are key in the long-term. Clients will turn into candidates and candidates will turn into clients.
Always treat those you encounter with the utmost care and respect. Make time for those you meet and make sure every person you cross paths with feels like their success really does matter to you. Don’t rush people and don’t ever give off the impression that you’re too busy or don’t have time for them.
#13 Get Comfortable With Uncomfortable
Typically, a recruiter has to do things on a consistent basis that takes them out of their comfort zone. It’s part of the job and its part of what’s going to make or break you in your career.
Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and do everything it takes to do your job the best. That might mean cold calling, rejecting candidates, and actively getting out there and growing your network. All of these aspects are crucial to being a good recruiter.
#12 Have Integrity
This is a quality that everyone could do with a little more of. As a recruiter, you should never be enticed to do something for the wrong reason. You should always keep the best interest of all parties in mind. Work hard, be honest, be direct, and avoid conflicts of interest.
When there is a conflict of interest, be upfront about it. At the end of the day, everyone is going to appreciate you for having a strong backbone and exhibiting true professionalism.
#11 Focus On Your Long-Term Vision
Too many people get caught up with short-term gains in every aspect of their life and they lose sight of their long-term vision. Always try to see around corners and think about what’s ahead. How is something that may benefit you today going to affect you in a year? How about five years?
One prime example is that many recruiters just look at their instant commission of placing a candidate without taking on the perspective of how that is going to affect their relationship with the client and/or candidate. Is it going to damage the relationship because you’re forcing a party into something that isn’t right in the grand scheme of things?
#10 Have Confidence
You need to exude confidence in everything you do. You’re guiding a client or candidate through a very big decision and they need to have confidence that you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, there’s a lack of trust there that’ll permeate the entire process.
#9 Recognize The Power of Digital
This is critical in today’s world. You need to gain an intimate understanding of the marketing funnels that your clients are depending on, especially if you’re a corporate recruiter. You need to know about social media marketing, content marketing, searching for candidates through social channels, attracting candidates and clients through marketing funnels, and countless other digital aspects of 21st-century recruiting.
At the same time, you should be using digital to your own advantage to brand yourself and build your own personal brand in your marketplace so you become the go-to person.
We built Recruiterly to be the perfect place to build, manage & collaborate around your brand as a recruiter.
#8 Grow Your Influence
With integrity, you need to be able to influence others. This might mean influencing a hiring manager to accept a candidate who you know is brilliant or convincing a candidate to accept a job you know they love, even if they’re nervous about leaving their current company of ten years.
Building a network and becoming a thought leader enables you to develop clout and allows people to trust your judgment. You can drive hiring decisions at big companies while pushing people to take work that you’re confident will lead to success & happiness for them.
To do this, though, one needs to get out of their comfort zone and do the work.
#7 Be Organized
As a recruiter, you’re juggling dozens of plates at any point in time. It’s not an easy job but is incredibly rewarding when you commit to doing it well. You constantly need to be sourcing candidates, writing job ads, interviewing, negotiating packages, on-boarding, sourcing new clients, marketing, building your brand, going to meetings, doing cold calls…
Without good organization and time management, you’ll never find time for it all.
#6 Have Resilience
Recruiters have a hard time, especially with cold prospecting. They often get hung up on, shouted at, called names, bashed online, and so on. You need a thick skin. You also need to handle the highs and lows of not only recruitment, but the fact that the job remains largely a sales function.
Perhaps a candidate accepted, and it’s a major fee, but then withdraws the day before starting, which damages the relationship with the client and results in you losing your commission. Or, maybe a client withdraws their interest, or the client is just fishing for candidates but not really committed to hiring, which leaves you having wasted hours and hours.
You get the point: Resilience is essential.
#5 Hone Your Communication Skills
Exceptional communication skills are essential. This goes without saying, but you must be able to communicate exceptionally, professionally, and diligently at all levels (high and low) across organizations and candidate pools.
Nothing hamstrings a hiring process more than miscommunication, particularly from the driver’s seat (which is usually where the recruiter sits).
#4 Always Be Learning
You need to be the expert in your respective industry. You need to know new people, new projects, new companies, new startups, the latest news, the best opportunities…If you are in technical recruiting, you also need to know the technical lingo, maybe even do relevant courses to understand what your candidates do so you can ask them appropriate technical questions and so on.
In other words, you are constantly going to be expanding your knowledge in all sorts of new directions that you might not have considered when first thinking about a position as a recruiter.
#3 Be A Niche Expert
A mistake many new recruiters make is that they want the largest possible market to recruit from. This is a fallacy and will land you running entry-level positions at boring, generic firms.
The experts double down into a niche that they carve out. Then, they can build deep domain expertise and deep networks of candidates and clients who start recognizing them as the expert. They may branch out from thereafter, but they always become THE expert in their field.
#2 Have Passion
Have a passion for what you do. The best recruiters genuinely love talking with and networking with people and take great satisfaction from knowing deeply the value they provide by helping someone in their career or company find exceptional talent that helps to build a business and make it more successful.
Another important trait that’s part of this is that expert recruiters can internalize why they are so valuable. They ignore popular commentary on LinkedIn and they realize they can genuinely make life-changing impacts on people’s lives through the work they do. And, the more successful they are, the more lives they can positively impact.
#1 Be Goal Oriented & Number Wise
Recruiters must remain goal orientated and understand the numbers they need to know in order to achieve a goal. For instance, 50 cold calls might give them 5 great candidates, which might consistently give them one placement/hire, which might lead to a retention of 2 years before they need to re-hire, etc. These should be ingrained in your brain.
As The Folks At Shark Tank Like To Say, KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
Setting yearly, quarterly, and weekly goals keep them on track and more importantly helps to avoid the typical peak and trough of a sales job. For instance, if you spend 1 month prospecting for work, the next month you might only focus on candidates. This then results on no more work coming in the following month, so you have to juggle multiple plates, constantly doing the right activities each day, each week, each month, each quarter to hit your goals.
The best recruiters need to be entirely data-driven, in everything they do. Metrics are everything.
Finally, it’s also important to set personal goals. Ask yourself, WHY are you doing such a tough job? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Figure out the quick wins and the long victories, and they’ll keep you going through the numerous defeats.