12 Traits That Will Help You Excel as a Professional Recruiter

Recruiting has changed.

With more companies than ever making use of social media to find candidates, the professional recruiter needs to ensure they have a wealth of tools to steer their service from inception to close.

The recruiters who truly excel are those who have all the tricks of the trade down pat.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the tools used by excellent recruiters.

Manage your time

There’s no escaping that recruitment is a competitive world in a target-driven industry. Without the tools to manage your time and schedule effectively, you’ll drown. Drowning, in this case, means letting down your clients and damaging your reputation.

Not good!

Good time management comes from accepting that you can’t manage and remember everything. Once you acknowledge that, you can start seeking out tools to plug the gaps.

Get some scheduling software. It’s time to ditch the physical diary because it can’t manage your contacts like an app can.

Get a cutting-edge smartphone calendar. Make sure it links into your contacts and can make you aware of important deadlines well in advance.

The greatest part about good time management is how superhuman it looks to your clients. You’ll seem as though you remember everything all the time, which leads them to believe they’re No. 1 in your mind: they don’t need to know you’re juggling a huge workload!

See the sides and ask the questions

Empathy and understanding are a big part of recruitment. If you start to see your clients and customers as numbers, you’ll start trying to implement one-size-fits-all solutions that will be painfully obvious to all involved.

You need to understand quickly what your client wants. Learn to ask the right questions, and ask them right at the beginning. If you have to come back to check in later, you’ve already wasted everybody’s time.

Likewise, be sure the candidate suits the position. Ask the questions here, too. Don’t just establish their skills, establish their personality and find out what they’re looking for.

This understanding will lead to closes and retention, ensuring happy clients and candidates as well as the strength of your own reputation.

If you don’t go this extra mile, you’ll only be known for providing poor fits and wasting time.

Get the holistic view

Recruiters often limit themselves to learning a job by its title and description, and no more.

Set yourself apart by going deeper. Understand the importance of this role to the company, gather data on how success is measured and the revenue it contributes. All of these will help inform the candidate and allow you to better use your instincts to put forward the right candidate for the job.

Seeking this information will show clients that you’re inquisitive and understand the whole picture, which will reassure them you’re not in this to tick boxes.

You should have in-depth discussions with the hiring manager to explore the role in greater detail before you try to sell it to candidates.

Keep learning

The modern world is moving at a fair clip. Technology is changing the way we do things all the time, so take time out occasionally to keep developing. Companies are savvier than ever about recruiting, and you need to stay a step ahead of them.

First, stay informed. Are recruitment strategies changing? Are your competitors using new technology? Has a game-changer emerged in your targeted industry?

Secondly, attend courses, talks, conferences, and seminars. An attentive learner can make the experiences of others into their own.

There’ll always be someone with more experience than you in the industry, so don’t let that experience go to waste. Learning from others can give you a leg up on your peers and set you apart.

If possible, seek out a mentor or two, and draw from their knowledge. As always, ask questions.

Build relations

“It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.”

How many times have you heard it said? Because it’s true.

Recruiters need to build connections constantly. Having a contact list of old names is no use if those people have moved on to pastures new. Your contact list should be a living document, supplemented often with fresh contacts.

You should also do your utmost to become close with clients. If you can build the relationship until you’re a trusted name, they’ll always save themselves the hassle of going elsewhere and come to you instead. Be sure they understand the importance of keeping you around.

In an age of increasing facelessness, showing the personality behind the product could be enough to have a client choose your services over a competitor.

Focus and specialize

Smart recruiters specialize in just a handful of job titles, usually less than ten.

Specializing has a number of benefits, not least of which is the ability to learn your chosen industry inside out. This is a huge boon for both your clients and potential candidates, who will trust you more if you demonstrate knowledge of their industry.

In contrast, a professional recruiter who fails to specialize is at risk of becoming a jack of all trades, master of none.

Specialization also allows you to build a personal brand. Your social media profiles and resumé will all position you as an expert in your niche, signposting you as the obvious choice for the job.

Another advantage to specialization lies in your response times. With a narrow focus, you can get in on new opportunities early, and pursue them tenaciously, whereas a more scattergun approach is likely to leave you flailing.

Vent the pressure

Sooner or later, the fast pace and client demands of a recruiter’s life will catch up with you, and you’ll find yourself wanting to blow a gasket.

At times like this, you need to know how to handle that extra pressure.

Pressure-handling techniques vary greatly from person to person, but you should always eat right and rest well to keep up your tolerance levels.

Find time to do whatever relaxes you. It might be sports, walking, cycling, meditation, yoga, reading a book or playing a video game.

No one can stay switched on 100% of the time, so be smart, and take the downtime on your own terms before it catches up with you.

Use all available tools

A successful recruiter will use a blend of old and new technologies as appropriate to the situation.

Don’t get so hooked into your emails or calendar that you forget to pick up the phone or meet with a client.

Our electronic world can cause some disassociation between words and faces, so be sure to remind your clients that you offer a personal service with a human element. In an impersonal world, this could make all the difference.

At the same time, be sure to make use of technologies like CRMs, calendars, and contact lists to keep yourself together. Responding quickly to a client’s message, even with a short email, will reassure them that they’re high on your list of priorities.

Recruiter, brand thyself

As we’ve touched on before, a strong recruiter builds a brand around themselves through specialization.

You’ll want to ensure your personal website, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles all communicate who you are and what you do! Position yourself as the expert in your niche, and soon enough your feedback will back it up.

Testimonials from your clients and candidates can be a great way to build this brand, as can providing highly specialized resources for candidates.

Think about the image you’re putting forth. A generic recruiter is unlikely to attract much business when more specialized options are presenting themselves.

Once you’ve identified your niche, research it. Find out what clients in this industry are looking for, and what help candidates seek out. If you can offer solutions, you’ll soon position yourself as a strong brand within your chosen niche.

Sell, sell, sell!

Sales skills are an overlooked aspect of modern recruiting. With so much information about candidates available online, companies may struggle to justify the retention of a professional recruiter.

Your job, if you want to keep it, is to convince both the clients and candidates that your service is unmissable.

Sell yourself to candidates based on your success stories. Sell your expertise to your clients. Sell the candidate on the position. Sell, sell, sell!

Be sure to include these sales skills in your ongoing training, and be mindful of it in your branding. With so much technology at their fingertips, companies and candidates alike may think they can go it without you!

Crunch the numbers

The trend toward a less personal, more clinical workplace continues unabated. Departments are now expected to put together business cases before any major spend, and recruitment is no different.

To convince a hiring manager of the need for your candidate, you may find you need the numbers on hand.

Learning to quantify your input and the candidate’s worth in terms of revenue could make all the difference when it comes to a close.

Ask the experts!

If there’s one thing we’ve harped on here, it’s to always ask the questions. There’s a lot of expertise out there, including right here on this blog, so learn from the best, imitate them, and soon you’ll be set for success.

So while the recruitment game has changed and will continue to do so, you’re entirely capable of changing with it if you stay informed. Check out some of our other blogs for more advice on what drives a professional recruiter.