5 Traits of Highly Successful Recruiters

Today’s candidate-driven employment market requires innovative, creative, and efficient work. Are you holding yourself back by using outdated recruiting habits? Do you lack:


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  • Organizational skills?
  • Time management skills?
  • An understanding of the tech-savvy candidate?
  • The ability to relate to candidates on a personal level?
  • Confidence?

Study what successful recruiters are doing. You’ll learn how to break down some common barriers that stand between you (as a recruiter) and the talent you need. You’ll love how adopting these traits can turn your results from “meh” to marvelous in no time at all.

1. Continuous Self-Improvement

Are you stuck in a ’90s recruiting model because it’s easier and feels familiar? Then it’s time to update your skills. Technology changed how candidates search for jobs and increased the speed at which you can attract and hire. You must make learning a priority. Schedule time each week to learn about new trends and methods for finding and hiring the best employees available.

2. Focus

You’re busy. I get it. You think multitasking is the only way to stay ahead of the game. That’s the wrong approach to our “so much to do, so little time” dilemma. Studies have shown that multitasking decreases productivity. Your brain is incapable of focusing on two high-priority tasks at the same time. Instead, devote focused time to each task, and you will be amazed at how productive you can be.

3. Listen

In our noisy, tech-filled world, your day is packed with text messages, voice mail, e-mail, phone calls, and endless meetings. Listening gets pushed aside in favor of solving the busyness of our lives. When you truly listen, much of the busyness goes away. When you listen and hear what’s going on underneath the words and find the cause of the stress and anxiety, you become more focused and productive.

4. Make Personal Investments

Treat all candidates as personal investments. Take the time to get to know them, understand their needs, and listen to what they want from you. That personal investment pays off. When you need a referral for a hard-to-fill position or an introduction to someone in a company, you will have a committed network of people who are willing to help you because of the investment you made in them.

5. Learn from Mistakes

Mistakes are the best teachers. Most of us have made a mistake or two—some painful and expensive. Do you rush through the recruiting and hiring process only to end up with a nightmare employee who drains your time and energy? It’s easy to get caught up in your pain and want a quick fix, but resist that temptation. Hiring the wrong employee is worse than the pain of being short-staffed.

Commonly Asked Questions and Answers on This Topic

Q—How can we get our jobs in front of the right candidates?

A—Think like a marketer!

It’s a buyer’s market right now. This means you must think like a marketer. When you market a product or service, you do it in a way that will bring customers to you. When you write your recruiting materials with a marketing focus, you will attract the right candidates.

To do this, you must understand what appeals to candidates. The most useful question that you can ask yourself is, “If I were a potential employee, why would I want this job?” Attracting quality applicants takes less time than screening out the bad ones. When you attract instead of screen, you’ll spend your time on a small number of highly qualified candidates. This means you’ll also stop wasting time on unqualified candidates.

Q—What can we do to make sure candidates accept our job offers?

A—Focus on the candidate experience.

Are you looking at your recruiting process through the lens of your candidates? Are you focusing on the candidates’ experience? If not, you should be. Treat your candidates like they matter to you. Set the bar high.

You want candidates to have a memorable experience. Show candidates your quality, efficiency, speed, and attention to the smallest details. The way you interact with your candidates has a direct effect on the success of your business.

Q—How do we show the value of our recruiting processes?

A—Tracking, tracking, tracking!

Peter Drucker was right when he wrote, “What gets measured gets managed.” Metrics are the best way to track success. There are many metrics to choose from. Unfortunately, most are meaningless by themselves. Outcomes are what management cares about.

You need more than just tracking the numbers. You must also show those numbers provided a valuable outcome. That’s why looking at these metrics in combinations is important. For example, consider the value of job ad views versus qualified applicants. You might get thousands of views on your job postings, but if those views produce one qualified candidate who declines your offer, does that add value?

Changing your habits can have a significant impact on your recruiting results. What habits are you holding on to that no longer serve you? Join us on July 18 and learn more habits to become a highly successful recruiter.

Rebecca Barnes-HoggRebecca Barnes-Hogg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, works with organizations that want to hire the right people to be more efficient, effective, and profitable. She is the author of The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business and coauthor of Rethinking Human Resources.