The 8 Skills That Every Ambitious Recruiter Must Master


The best recruiters have a particular set of skills to be able to rise above the noise and recruit the top 5% talent. But what sets these ambitious types apart? We investigate the 8 top skills that recruiters must master and excel at to be the best in their field.


As a successful recruiter you need to communicate to a high level to different audiences. Being able to represent the company and convey important information in a concise way is a key skill – forget the waffle and time-wasting rhetoric. However, communication isn’t just about getting your own point across – it’s about listening and learning too. You need to understand what the candidate is (really) saying and body language can be a key part of that.


Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. Recruitment can be brutal for its never-ending deadlines. If you struggle with time-keeping then this job is going to be a challenge for you. However, you can work on these skills by maximising the use of the digital tools at your fingers. Use and keep your calendars up to date and cut down on correspondence by using the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to contact successful and unsuccessful candidates en masse.


Recruitment is all about people and if you’ve got natural charm then you’ll find dealing with candidates and hiring managers a breeze. But even still, you’ll need to invest time and effort in fostering good relations and trust. Go the extra effort to get to know people and you can convert passive jobseekers into active candidates who trust your recommendations on a role. A positive candidate experience is predominately down to the recruiter and this applies even if the candidate doesn’t get the job. Your skills as a relationship-builder can make or break a hire so work on your people skills.

Attention to detail

Recruiters need to know the role and the candidates thoroughly to be able to make a good job match so attention to detail is essential. A missed email, a forgotten meeting or an unanswered enquiry could inadvertently sabotage the recruitment process. Set aside time every day to catch up on correspondence so you can dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Small mistakes could have big consequences so work out how to keep on top of the admin – even if that means booking out time in the diary at a set time every day.


Being a recruiter that the hiring manager and candidates can count on is so important. Your accountability will build your reputation as a brilliant recruiter and that can help bring more roles and a higher calibre of candidates. Proving your professionalism will help build relationships and this will gain you long-term credibility which is vital in such a fast-paced business as recruitment.


You need to understand what keeps you in recruitment. The deadlines can be relentless, especially for a growing business, and hiring good quality candidates lies in your remit. If you can’t deliver, or there’s been a mis-hire, then the responsibility can lay heavy on your shoulders. You need to be able to keep going, against challenging KPIs or in a tough economic market. Build up your resilience (link to Resilience article) and find your motivation to keep going even when it feels like you’re swimming against the tide. The best recruiters make each hire feel like their only one.


Recruiters have to speak to a range of people in different circumstances so confidence is key. You need to show that you can cope under stressful circumstances and speak to anyone. If you struggle with imposter syndrome then work on coping strategies such as visualisation or CBT to master your fears. And if you can’t make it, then fake it! Pretending to be confident, even when you don’t feel like it, can help you learn confidence behaviours. Recruitment is all about selling so hone your charm techniques.


Rome wasn’t built in a day and a highly-skilled, niche candidate can be hard to find. Recruitment is deadline-driven and one of the hardest parts of the role is the waiting. Patience is essential in every stage of the recruitment and waiting for emails, for candidates and for the job offer to be accepted can be very testing. Being impatient won’t decrease the amount of waiting time and ultimately having a short-temper could be detrimental to the hiring process. Learn the power of zen and let these small amounts of time pass you by so you can focus all your energy on better things.


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