by Kevin O’Brien on March 25, 2015

Over the course of my career in IT Staffing, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a number of great recruiters. And based on the time I’ve spent among all of these individuals, there are certain characteristics (and also Great Recruiting Skills) I have witnessed that tell me if someone new to this industry has what it takes to achieve greatness as a recruiter. Here is what I’ve found.

Most good recruiters don’t care what people think of them.

Good recruiters have thick skin and an ego that defines their position in life; and that’s really all that matters to them. Recruiting is a profession that manages relationships with an unknown product; each individual candidate is different than the next. And no recruiter is going to get along with every single candidate, so it’s important for a recruiter to have very thick skin and the ability to shrug off relationships that just don’t seem to be a fit.

Great recruiters all have an innate ability to ask very detailed questions.

When assessing talent, it is vital to be able to acquire an in-depth understanding of the individual candidate, including their experience, characteristics, and career goals. Accurate candidate assessment and selection requires a recruiter to have a highly inquisitive demeanor. Recruiters that are more interested in talking about themselves typically are not the best candidates for greatness.

A great recruiter has a memory like an elephant.

Having the ability to memorize individuals, titles, experiences, and anything else related to a candidate’s background is what makes a recruiter unique. Great recruiters spend an enormous amount of time understanding and learning about the people they meet. Recruiters who can remember the finer details of what makes people tick are able to quickly identify opportunities and positions that will fit each unique individual. Searching a database for a list of candidates is a great place to start, but the recruiter who can immediately remember a highly targeted list will be the one who wins.

Great recruiters are highly organized individuals.

Sloppy and disheveled desks stacked high with resumes typically lead to an unorganized pursuit of candidates. Organized recruiters understand how to maximize an outcome with the least amount of effort. Recruiters who can efficiently organize their daily, weekly, and monthly operations achieve higher levels of performance, ultimately reaping the highest level of commissions and sales.

Great recruiters are able to build relationships at any level.

No matter what the industry, candidates fall along a wide spectrum of experience, skill level, and backgrounds. Great recruiters have to be able to position themselves to communicate credibly with each individual, regardless of where that candidate falls on the spectrum. This not only requires outstanding communication skills; it also means that a recruiter needs to accumulate a wide understanding of every level within the industry in which they’re recruiting. If their comprehension is too narrow, it will be harder to build relationships at the high level needed for success.

Great recruiters are credible. Highly credible.

A great recruiter is someone people trust with their careers; they have to know that their recruiter is different than all the rest. Building credibility starts from the moment a recruiter interacts with a candidate, and is sustained by delivering on promises, communicating regularly, and, in general, acting with integrity. As a recruiter strengthens their credible image, their network will expand exponentially, which in turn achieves an even higher level of credibility.

At a time when great recruiters are highly sought after, droves of individuals, from fresh graduates to experienced sales people, are beginning to enter the profession. Inevitably, there will be a high number of them who fail. The great ones who will achieve long-term accomplishment are highly motivated individuals. The above six characteristics are what I’ve seen most prominently when meeting and interacting with the most successful recruiters. These are the individuals who will make a difference in your business.


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