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3 Key Traits of a Successful Recruiter

key traits of a successful recruiter

Our Recipe for Hiring Great Recruiters

Having spent decades in the recruitment industry, we appreciate the importance of hiring a great recruiter. We’ve been recruiters and we’ve built-out various successful businesses in the talent acquisition industry. Collectively, our team has hired and trained hundreds of recruiters (agency and corporate). Through all of these experiences, you know what else we’ve done? Made mistakes. Lots of them.

Eventually, we grew tired of the headaches and heartaches from these mistakes, so we got scientific. Tapping into a team of industrial psychologists, we developed a selection methodology and recipe for choosing recruiters with the greatest likelihood to succeed. Over the last decade, we’ve been refining this recipe in the crucible of the most competitive hiring economy on the planet – Silicon Valley. Below we share our secret recipe, explaining the three key traits of a successful recruiter that you must look for. For further guidance, you can view our webinar on this topic here.

Hiring the Wrong Recruiter Can Be Catastrophic

A bad hire can be costly, but the costs of hiring a bad recruiter can be catastrophic (read more about that, here). The ripple effect of one bad hire can send waves of consequences throughout your organization that leads to significant losses in money, employee morale, and organizational productivity. When that one bad hire happens to be the person who will be making your hiring decisions going forward, the direct and indirect costs of this ripple effect are compounded exponentially. Zappos founder Tony Hsieh estimates that bad hires made by Zappos, and the further bad hires made by these initial bad hires, have cost his organization over $100 million.

Hiring a Catalyst

When considering the gravity of these consequences, the task of hiring a recruiter can be daunting. However, remember that with great risk, comes great reward. Just as detrimental as a bad recruiter can be, a great recruiter can be the difference maker, serving as a “catalyst” for an organization’s success.

So how do you wade through the vast sea of recruiters to recruit a “catalyst recruiter?” The first thing that you must consider is that recruiters know this game better than anyone else. They have spent their careers training and coaching others on how to interview well, and through this experience, they know all of the tricks of the trade. Any recruiter will be able to leverage their strengths and mask their weaknesses in a way to appear qualified for a given job. For this reason, when interviewing for a recruiter, you have to double down and be prepared to carry out an in-depth assessment. Below, we cover one aspect of this assessment process, providing an overview of the three traits that you must ensure that your recruiting candidates possess.

1. Resourcefulness

The number one trait that constitutes any good recruiter is resourcefulness. For this reason, we like to say that a truly successful corporate recruiter must be the “MacGyver” of your company. It takes this kind of “jack-of-all-trades” to transverse departmental lines, understand the functional needs of drastically different roles, and effectively sell a diverse range of candidates on these given roles.

To add to this dynamism (and further drive the need for a “Macgyver”), over the past decade, we have seen an evolution of the talent acquisition industry. Almost all of the typical recruiting functions have shifted online and are now embedded in new forms of technology. It is no longer enough to be a good “people person” or an “email wizard.” The modern recruiter needs to be self-sufficient enough to pick-up the various tools, systems, and methods at their disposal to optimize their efforts and save the day.

2. Confidence

You know the saying, “it takes 9 no’s to get 1 yes?” There are few circumstances where this adage is more applicable than corporate recruiting. Literally, 90% of your time is spent failing. From people hanging up on you, to last minute offer rejections, being a recruiter is filled with demoralizing defeats. To add to this, recruiting is a thankless job. When things go wrong, the recruiter is often the first person to take the blame. Amidst all of this blame, recruiters very rarely receive any praise for a job well done. All of this negativity can crush even the most consummate professionals. For this reason, recruiters need superhuman confidence to avoid getting lost amongst the emotional peaks and valleys of the job.

3. Focus

The last trait that must be hard-wired into the DNA of every recruiter is focus, and for three reasons. The first is that talent networks that were once closed and proprietary are now wide open. As a result of this, the best recruiters need the focus to get the right information fast and use it in an efficient manner to drive their decisions.

Another reason every recruiter needs laser focus is that they often get pulled in a million directions at once. Hiring managers from every department will be tugging at a recruiter’s arm, trying to get them to find the perfect candidate for a multitude of different roles. It takes strong focus to prioritize these needs and fulfill them accordingly.

The last reason that every recruiter needs to possess advanced focus capabilities, is that many corporate recruiting roles lack a traditional form of leadership. This is especially true for SMBs, where recruiters operate as their own department, or as a distant branch of HR. Under such circumstances, it is essential that recruiters have the focus to stay the course and keep the end goal in sight.


Only a Few Hours Left to Register for Our Bootcamp!

Recruiters are often the “make or break” factor for an organization. For this reason, there are few organizational decisions more important than hiring the right recruiter. Above we have provided a snippet of what we consider when assessing recruiting candidates – the three most important traits that make up a successful recruiter. For the full picture, be sure to tune into our “How to Hire a Successful Corporate Recruiter” Bootcamp, which will be airing in just a few short hours.

When: Tuesday, July 19th at 10:00am PST / 1:00pm EST

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About Andy Chan