Top Ten Qualities of a Successful Recruiter

recruiting softwareThe recruitment landscape has changed significantly over the past decade.

Back in the day, a recruiter was pretty much defined by the strength of their little black book. The guardians of talent, almost anyone with a network could wrangle their way to success. Locked away, their secrets closely guarded, these little black books could make or break a recruitment agency. In all, the emphasis was much more on who you knew, not about what you knew.

That’s not to say recruitment was easy – far from it. Recruiters way back when had no complex sorting algorithms to help them find top talent. Instead, you’d be expected to read through hundreds of pages, hundreds of index cards, to find exactly who you had in mind. A foreign concept today, with all the technologies out there designed to make finding, sorting and sending candidates much easier.

Recruiters today have had to develop a range of new skills and qualities though, to adapt to the evolving recruitment industry.

Here’s the top ten.


  1. Sense of Urgency


The hiring landscape is much more competitive today than it was a decade ago. With hundreds of thousands of new companies springing up every year, and many companies seeing exponential growth, the demand for talent is sky-high.

In tandem with skill shortages in critical industries – digital being the key example – recruiters need to have a refined sense of urgency if they don’t want to be left in the dust.

Dr. John Sullivan estimates that a missing out on a coveted purple squirrel can cost a business over $1M, and with the US recruitment industry growing year on year, competition to secure that top candidate is fiercer than it ever has been before.

Recruiters who are content to rub along at their own pace will soon die out. Instead, recruiters in 2015 must be willing to go the extra mile, whether that means making an important call at 11pm or conducting a meeting on a Sunday. If you don’t, you can be sure your competitors will.


  1. World-class Sales Ability


It’s widely acknowledged that we’re in the midst of a candidate-driven recruitment market at the moment. What this means, practically speaking, is that candidates are more in-demand. Top candidates are likely to have multiple job opportunities on the table at any one time, and are approached regularly by headhunters. A massive 49% of job offers were turned down for a competing offer last year, according to MRI Network.

At the same time, candidate demands are changing. A simple salary raise and a better job title are not enough anymore, with salary decreasing as a candidate priority by almost 7% worldwide this year.

Instead, candidates are often looking for roles that fulfil them, that support their professional development, and allow them a work-life balance.

Recruiters need to become better at sales if they want their opportunity to stand out. The art of persuasion is critical. Recruiters need to be better listeners, in order to understand the diverse motivations of each candidate, so they can better sell the opportunity.

Selling on salary has never been best recruitment practice, but today more than ever recruiters must have more strings to their bow.


    1. Marketing Savvy

recruiting software


The age of the candidate-driven market heralds the age in which recruiters must work harder to attract candidates. Recruitment can no longer afford to be reactive, and must instead embrace proactivity.

To put it bluntly, recruitment is a marketing activity. Recruiters must work harder to raise awareness with passive candidates, in order to secure wins with active candidates further down the line.

This means social media. It means blogging. It means employer brand. A strong employer brand can actually cut cost-per-hire by 50% and reduce turnover by 28% – so it’s a no brainer.

It also means focussing on the candidate experience. If a candidate has a bad experience, either of the recruitment agency or of the brand, the damage is done – they could well take to social media and spread the word. The result? Huge long-term impact on your hiring effectiveness.


  1. Copywriting Skills


The world of copywriting might seem alien to the world of recruitment, but they’re much more closely aligned than you’d think.

Writing is everywhere in recruitment and the importance of crafting compelling copy has never been more important. In a competitive landscape, the recruiter who can write a killer LinkedIn InMail or cold mailshot is the one who wins business.

A thoughtful, well-developed, on-brand social media post can make the difference between a candidate applying to you or a competitor. Recruiters can’t afford to ignore the benefits of good copy.

Where marketers often have the luxury of an entire department at their fingertips, recruiters can’t just drop a line to the in-house copywriter when they need something writing – so they must learn how to do it themselves.


  1. Exceptional Time Management


Time-management has always been important to recruitment, but with the role expanding in scope it’s more crucial than ever.

Being able to effectively balance the demands of running a highly successful recruitment desk means knowing what to do, and what to delegate.