Wondering whether you’ve got what it takes to succeed as an executive recruiter? Sure, you may be outgoing and be able to strike up a conversation with anyone – but the qualities needed to become a recruiter go beyond being extroverted. From being the consummate salesperson to possessing a hunter’s mentality, here are the six qualities I consider most important if you want to become a recruiter:
1. Strong sales skills. Recruiting is all about sales. Not only do recruiters need to sell their clients (internal or external), but they also need to sell candidates on opportunities. Being able to articulate why company X is an employer of choice and why a particular opportunity is the opportunity of a lifetime is vital in helping candidates make confident professional decisions.
2. Innate ability to cultivate and build relationships. With an abundance of sites, networks, tools and platforms to source talent, anyone can pull a name out of a database and place a call. An effective recruiter, however, knows how to use these tools to build relationships with these candidates. By cultivating an open, friendly and communicative relationship, the candidate’s overall experience improves. The recruiter stands out professionally, and most importantly, the potentially company is seen as an employer of choice.
3. A hunter’s mentality. Recruiters are big game hunters, and having the mindset to hunt and be relentless until the hunt is done is a priceless skill set. A recruiter who sits at a desk, logs into Monster and keyword searches all day does not have the right hunter mentality. You want someone who will use cold-calling, social media, Boolean searches, networks, etc. in order to find the strongest and most qualified individuals.
4. Strong follow-up skills. How hard is it to return a call or an email? You might be surprised! I have heard all the horror stories of a recruiter (agency or corporate alike) calling someone frantically, building them up and setting them up to interview, only to never reach back out to the candidate again. This breeds negativity and mistrust and is inherently not conducive to relationship building. It’s a minimal time investment to update a candidate, hiring manager, co-worker, etc. on events. Make the commitment and follow through to give yourself a competitive advantage.
5. Ability to give clear advice and push back, as needed. Recruiting is a science, and there are methods and processes. The majority of hiring managers need to be consulted on these procedures and processes in order to build long-term success and proper process flow. Good recruiters have the ability to advise and push back on their clients if need be. A good recruiter will act as a trusted advisor for their clients, and in return, clients will respect and act on given advice.
6. Personable and approachable. As a candidate, meeting a recruiter at a career fair or even working up the nerve to give a recruiter a call can be a nerve-wracking process. All too often I find recruiters make candidates feel nervous; my approach is to put them at ease. I answer my phone calls and return emails. People will call me and express surprise that I even answered my phone. They are even more surprised that I am in a good mood, ask them how they are doing, thank them for their call, and take one minute of my time to let them introduce themselves and follow up with me. My mother always told me that I could catch more bees with honey than I can with vinegar – and this saying certainly holds true with recruiting!
If you are a recruiter, what skills do you find have served you the best? I invite you to share your thoughts below.