5 Traits Every Great Recruiter Possesses

Doug Horn on October 23, 2014 12:05:00 PM EDT


When you take a step back and look at the skills that different careers require, you begin to understand that not everyone is cut out for every single job. The traits that make for a good fireman, for example, do not necessarily make for a good news anchor, and vice versa.

And that’s okay! We want our newscasters to have silky smooth voices and compelling color commentary, and we want our pets to escape without harm when the Christmas tree accidentally goes up in a blaze. I don’t think either of those is asking for too much.

With that in mind, it’s worth examining the personality traits that make up the best recruiters. A few classic qualities spring to mind, so if you’re trying to become a recruiter or engaging in a third-party search, you should have a feel for what type of person succeeds in that role.

Before we delve in, it should be noted that there isn’t one simple recipe to make an expert recruiter. There’s no “1/2 cup of charm + ¼ cup of adaptability + ¼ sociability = perfect recruiter.” Below, you will simply find five traits that most good recruiters possess, and how they each help them succeed at their jobs.


1) Tech-Awareness

With the number of social networks that exist today, not only do recruiters have to have accounts on each, they have to be savvy enough to find talent on these platforms. In fact, social media is so important that 94% of recruiters use, or plan to use social media for recruiting. Frankly, I’m surprised that percentage isn’t higher. That remaining 6% may have the thickest rolodex in the world, or they’re just not very good recruiters.

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2) Resourcefulness

This goes hand-in-hand with #1, but quality recruiters need to know how to use the tools that are at their disposal to find the best talent out there. LinkedIn has unquestionably become the most important weapon in a recruiter’s arsenal. Not surprisingly, 89% of all recruiters report having hired someone by using LinkedIn, emphasizing how vital that particular platform has become.

Additionally, the best recruiters are trained in Boolean searches, thus optimizing their time on LinkedIn and Google so they can find the exact candidates for whom they’re searching.  Fortunately this isn't something that requires innate knowledge, it's something you can be trained in.  And if you’re looking for a few ways to brush up on your Boolean skills, master sourcer Irina Shamaeva has taught some of the best recruiters in the industry. We know this for a fact because the top grossing recruiters on RecruitiFi are all alumni of her Certified People Sourcing Professional (CPSP) program. If you're looking to stay up-to-date on the top sourcing tools, techniques, and skills, we reccommend starting with some of the webinars in the training library or the sourcing guidebook before testing your mettle against the CPSP certification exam.


3) Knowledgeability

Good recruiters should know their targets better than they know themselves. For example, Generation Y, also known as millennials, will make up 50% of the working age population by 2018. Quality recruiters know this, and they therefore know how to recruit millennials, including how to pitch them, what aspects of a position to emphasize, and what their interests are.

This is one of the key elements that will always keep the human element in recruiting.  Machines can read resumes, but only people can read other people.


4) Persistence

In baseball, the saying goes that even if you fail 7 out of 10 times, you’re a Hall-of-Famer. In the business world, recruiters are sometimes going to come back empty-handed in their search. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. The best ones get right back on the horse, however, undaunted by any previous failing. They look at facts such as 70% of organizations citing a capability gap as a major issue and laugh. In their minds, they know they’ll find the right candidate the next time around.


5) Persuasiveness

Basic laws of inertia state that a body at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Recruiters must act as that force, swaying candidates, whether they are employed or not, to consider job opportunities. While 69% of people who are currently employed are actively looking for new jobs, that still leaves 31% who are content with where they are. Often times, the truly great candidates are passive, so recruiters need to be able to convince these people that the grass is greener in a new workplace.


Recruiters may come in all shapes and sizes, but the great ones will have most, if not all of the personality traits listed above. To succeed in the competitive world of corporate recruiting, an acute sense of how to talk to people is needed above all else, and if someone has that, these traits will likely come naturally.