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Recruitment skills wanted!

Today I want to discuss about recruitment skills a professional recruiter must have. Recruiting is a competitive industry, full of people who love to celebrate the win, so one of the most important traits of a recruiter is their competitive drive. I’ve been in the recruiting industry for more than 13 years. During that time, I’ve seen dozens of people come and go, and I’ve noticed patterns in the recruiters who thrive and have lasting careers. Recruiting can be a difficult occupation but also rewarding and gratifying.

Before to go into the blue of this subject I want to tell you shortly a story: when I attend HR fairs, hiring conferences, recruiting events, but also specialized event (especially when I was involved in industrial sales and sanitary business), I keep learning that the wrong people are attending these events and working as recruiters or sales representative: many times I sought to introduce myself to some of the other company representatives. I was surprised that many of them were unable to communicate at a level that would properly represent their company.

The behaviour I witnessed at many events and many others is predictive of how these recruiters & sales people behave in the office and how they represent their company through other communication tools such as social media.

Later as the candidates flowed into the fair to meet the companies, I witnessed these individuals sitting behind their tables, eating food, talking on cell phones, and displaying body language that suggested they didn’t want to be bothered (I am sure many of you know very well what I am talking about).

The GOOD news I witnessed several individuals that did exhibit proper career fair behaviour and strong recruiting traits (of course many sales representative as well). They were the ones that had long lines of candidates and also the ones whose companies are always recognized as recruiting industry leaders. The difference in success was clear.

Each year there are new tools, technologies, and platforms developed to help take “recruiting to the next level,” as the cliché goes. The problem is, all of these wonderful breakthroughs can be fruitless due to inadequate operator behaviour. Moreover, if companies and organizations really want to eliminate or lower their agency recruiting spending, then start hiring similar profiles and not promoting an individual out of customer service or demoting someone from another department and sending them to recruit.

Now we can jump into the blue: regardless of where your next recruiter comes from, this is my personal vision of some essential skills, traits, and qualities that successful recruiters should possess. Aside from the regular “good communication, ability to work hard, team player” skills that everyone wants — here are a few of the most important must haves:

1)     Strong sales skills!!!! if you haven’t figured it out by now, recruiting is sales (YES SALES). If you disagree, you are in the wrong business. Not only do recruiters need to sell their clients (internal or external), but they need to sell candidates on opportunities and be able to articulate why company X is an employer of choice and why a particular opportunity is not just a great opportunity, but how it is the opportunity of a lifetime.


2)     Resilience one of the most important characteristic of a good recruiter is the ability to bounce back from disappointment or failure. Nothing is more disappointing than spending several weeks working hard to bring a client and candidate together, only to have something out of your control destroy the opportunity. When a reference check is flat, or your candidate unexpectedly takes a counter offer, top recruiters deal with it and move on. You could have all the other crucial attributes, but it’s tough to be successful in this business if you are not resilient.



3)     Listening Skills: the best recruiters listen twice as much as they speak. Active listening, complete with the ability to ask pointed and relevant questions, is a core quality of successful recruiters. Recruiters who genuinely listen gain deeper understanding of their clients’ and candidates’ needs and are better equipped to help them. For example, knowing your candidate’s top priority is the culture of a work environment is not enough. It’s important to know what exactly they are looking for. Active listening will encourage you to ask the right questions to understand what matters most.


4)     Hunter’s mentality — there are so many ways to source for talent these days. There is an abundance of sites, networks, tools, and platforms all built in some fashion to make a recruiter’s life easier. But it is how each recruiter uses these tools that will make the difference. It all starts with the mentality of the individual. Recruiters are big-game hunters, and having the mind-set to hunt and be relentless until the hunt is done is a priceless skill set. If a recruiter is going to sit at a desk, log in to Monster and keyword search all day — that is not the hunter mentality you want. You want someone who will use cold calling, social media, Boolean searches, networks, etc. in order to find the strongest and most-qualified individuals.


5)     Strong follow-up skills — probably the Nr.1 topic that irks me the most about recruiters – follow-up skills. How hard is it to return a call or an email — I will tell you that it is not hard at all nor does it take a severe amount of time to update a candidate, hiring manager, co-worker, etc. on events. I have heard all the horror stories of a recruiter (agency or corporate alike) calling someone frantically, building them up and setting them up to interview, only to never reach back out to the candidate again. All that does is breed negativity and it is not part of the relationship-building process what so ever. Feedback is equal required also by the client after getting the job done with reports and profile interviewed we need to have a feedback; good candidates are not waiting long on pipeline….


6)     Financially Motivated…Surprise? Well, this might seem like a tasteless topic, but I can’t think of any highly successful recruiter who isn’t partly motivated by money (we do not work only for glory). Whether it’s to send your kids to private school, take the family on a special vacation or save to buy a home, recruiting can be lucrative, and wanting the benefits of a highly paying job is an important motivator. Don’t get me wrong - recruiters are in the people business, and we love making high quality matches that endure – it’s very gratifying. But, at the end of the day, the work is challenging, and the financial reward is one of the ways the best recruiters stay highly engaged.


All in all, a career in recruiting can be challenging, but if you have what it takes, the rewards are worth it.