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While it is not that difficult to become a recruiter—all you need is a laptop, phone, and a good internet connection—you need to have several qualities to last on the job.

There is a difference between an average recruiter and a great one. To become a great recruiter and excel in this field you need more than just being good with finding people. Everyone can do that with the right tools. You will need several qualities that will differentiate you from others.

Here are seven characteristics of a great recruiter:

  1.   Develop great communication skills

Recruitment is all about communication and building relationships with the candidates and hiring managers. A great recruiter will always act as a company representative and candidate’s advocate. That is why you will need to know how to communicate well with both parties if you’re to meet their needs and expectations.

Sometimes, you need to know what to say or what to ask to make sure everybody gets what they want. Only by proper communication will you be able to tell whether or not a candidate is suitable for a given position and be ready to explain to them why they are not fit or were rejected without burning bridges forever.

  1.   Be a good listener

It is extremely important to know how to listen to people when you’re working as a recruiter. The success of being able to find the ideal job for them relies on this aspect. If you are the person your friends turn to when they need someone to talk to, then this is probably due to the fact that you know how to listen. If not, try to cultivate this skill.

Bear in mind that great recruiters pay attention to the desires and complaints of their candidates. Through that they will learn about the things that candidates do not like and things they like, and this knowledge will give them advantage during the pre-offer process.

  1.   Have good selling and negotiation skills

Why do you need selling skills as a recruiter? Just think about the fact that you’re offering services. Your services imply finding adequate jobs for your customers or the right candidates for companies. So, you need to know how to sell such services. At the same time, you should be able to present an available role to a candidate in the best way possible.

Candidates don’t always see potential in a job and this is where you step in, especially if they’re a match. Ideally, you should add a good level of confidence to it if you want to be persuasive and not sound like a phone salesman trying to push their customers to buy things they do not need.

  1.   Be emphatic and diplomatic

This job has its least pleasant sides, such as job application rejections and refusals regarding salary demands, etc. As a recruiter, you should know how to get such messages through without offending anyone.

Since some may react in a negative manner to the news that they weren’t selected for the job or that their salary expectations can’t be met, you need to find the right method to break the news. Being emphatic and diplomatic certainly helps on the job, allowing you to maintain a good relationship with your clients and be successful at work.

  1.   Develop a good knowledge of the industry

Great recruiters always have a good knowledge of their industry. I am not just talking about general knowledge that will help them to understand roles they’re hiring for but also knowledge about who are the key players in the industry, changes that are happening within the companies, new companies coming on the market, etc.

  1.   Be flexible

A good recruiter should be ready to embrace change as this is the only thing that is constant in recruitment. Roles, requirements, hiring managers, candidates, tools, etc.—everything is constantly changing.

Being able to adapt communication style depending on your candidate’s or hiring manager’s needs and the location where you are hiring people is a skill that every good recruiter needs to have. If you are not ready to embrace changes, adjust to new situations, recruiting may be difficult for you and you will struggle.

  1.     Build relationships

There are several more things that you need to be a great recruiter. The differentiation factor between a great recruiter and a bad one is their communication style.

During my career, I learned that there is a correlation between how great recruiters and bad ones communicate. The bad ones do not care about replying to candidates and they do not see it as a priority. For example, if you approach them with a job offer and they ask questions that you answer but they do not even bother to respond to you after that, this is a sign that you do not want to move forward with this recruiter as they will deliver the same candidate experience to your candidates.

Last Thoughts

A recruiter’s mission is highly important and can impact one’s life greatly. And acquiring the right talent is the most important key to company growth and is the most important thing we do.

To deliver great results in this industry is not always easy and being a recruiter can sometimes be difficult as this is not a typical nine-to-five job.

But it can be very satisfying and rewarding to see people gain their dream jobs and help them to change their lives. And not only that, you can also see how companies are growing because you were able to find the best people for the job.

Remember, recruitment is all about building relationships and networking with the right people; if you do not like that or the thought of it bothers you, this field is not for you.



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Jan Tegze

Jan Tegze, author of the book Full Stack Recruiter, results-oriented Talent Acquisition Leader with extensive experience in full life cycle recruiting, and broad knowledge in international recruiting, sourcing, recruitment branding, recruitment marketing, and pro-active innovative sourcing techniques. Author of the Sourcing.Games, and blogger who believes that recruitment is a great field and he is constantly trying to make it better.