14 Top Recruitment Skills That All Great Recruiters Have

If you’ve ever yearned for a career in human resources, now is the right time to jump in. With unemployment rates dropping lower than ever and a high demand for top talent, a great recruiter is a valuable asset to companies in all industries. However, in order to become a recruiter, you need to have a specific set of recruitment skills, besides a strong will to work.

Here are the most common types of recruiters, the most desirable recruitment skills and how to improve them to increase your value to employers and candidates.

What does a recruiter do?

In a nutshell, a recruiter is a person in charge of filling job openings in organizations. This involves tasks such as putting together job ads, sourcing candidates, reviewing their qualifications, negotiating the salary and everything else involved in hiring new staff. Their duty is to find the best person for a given position in an organization.

How much do recruiters earn?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a recruiter in the USA in 2018 is around $55,000 per year.

How do you become a recruiter?

In regards to education, most employers ask for a bachelor’s degree, preferably in human resources, although there are recruiters with a BA in anything from marketing, business, psychology, and science. In other words, as long as you have a BA, your background won’t matter too much.


Types of recruiters


Depending on how they work, there are several types of recruiters. The most important distinction is the one between external and internal recruiters.

External recruiters (also known as independent or agency recruiters) don’t work for a specific company. Instead, they work on their own and recruit employees as needed for clients who hire them.

Internal recruiters work for one specific company only and help them source and hire new employees.

So, should you hire an internal or external recruiter? While there is some debate that an internal recruiter will act in the best interest of the employer and the external recruiter will act in the best interest of the candidate, in reality, both will do their best to find a great employee for their organization.

This distinction matters because having an internal recruiter on board means another person on your payroll. If you run a startup or a small company, you probably can’t afford an internal recruiter and you’re better off with an external one.

Additionally, there are niche recruiters and recruitment agencies, specializing in a certain field. As of late, there is a huge demand for IT positions and the number of IT recruiters is on the rise.


Recruitment skills


No matter the type (external or internal) or their niche, there’s a common set of recruitment skills that every good recruiter needs to have to do their job well. Here are some of them and how you can spot them in a recruiter.

1. Attention to detail. As we’ve recently written, attention to detail is not important for every position out there, but it’s vital for recruiters. As they can work with a relatively small talent pool, it’s extremely important to remember every detail. This means who they’ve talked to, their position, their willingness to apply for a new job etc.

Details like these could ruin a company’s reputation if the recruiter is reckless. There’s a famous case of an external recruiter who tried to recruit the employees of the company that hired him.

2. Marketing skills. Finding top talent in today’s market is extremely hard. The number of open positions is much higher than the number of applicants (for IT and other hot industries) and candidates won’t rush to any company out there.

This is why great recruiters also need to be great marketers and know how to sell the position and the company, using the latest marketing tactics.

3. Communication skills. No matter the position they’re trying to fill, the recruiter is the key link between a company and a candidate. Depending on the impression they make, they can either attract or discourage the candidate for applying.

As such, recruiters need to have excellent communication skills and be able to entice candidates to apply. These skills are highly important for all positions, but they’re critical for industries such as engineering, which tends to have more introvert applicants.


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4. Relationship building skills. Great recruiters think of recruitment as a relationship between a candidate and a company. Similar to a sales process, it takes much more than a single touchpoint to make a sale, or in this case, fill a position.

Recruiters with great relationship building skills can build and nurture the relationship between a candidate and a company, acting in the benefit of both parties.

5. Multitasking skills. Hiring is a lengthy process, and there’s quite a lot between posting a job ad and filling an open position. Recruiters need to put together job ads, screen applicants, run background checks, conduct interviews, consult with their employer, make job offers and much more. A great recruiter has a knack for doing multiple things at once and excelling in each of them.

6. Time management skills. With multitasking comes time management, as there’s only a certain amount of hours in a day and sometimes, companies need a position filled very quickly. Time becomes even more relevant if the recruiter is working with companies that have flexible working hours and employees across different time zones.

7. Patience. A successful recruiter needs to have a great amount of patience, as they deal with both candidates and companies. A simple task such as setting up a job interview can require quite a lot of patience from the recruiter’s end, as they often won’t be able to find a term that suits everyone.

8. Listening skills. Besides listening to the companies they’re hiring for, recruiters need to listen to applicants with great attention. Applicants, in particular, are very important because their feedback is crucial to placing them in a position that suits both them and the employer.

9. Confidence. Especially important for generalist recruiters, confidence is a must-have recruitment skill. When they’re hiring for a role they have very little experience with, recruiters need to be confident in their skills to find the best person for the job.

10. Body language skills. Successful recruiters need to have a body language that presents them as inviting and open to candidates. At the same time, they need to have the ability to read body language to find out if the candidate is comfortable, if they’re telling the truth, etc.

11. Teamwork skills. Whether working externally or internally, recruiters need to function within a team to find the best employees for an organization.

12. IT skills. In the 21st century, IT skills are no longer a necessity for IT roles only. Basic understanding of IT skills can go a long way for a recruiter’s success. On the one hand, it implies the use of recruitment software (such as an applicant tracking system). On the other hand, recruiters’ knowledge of job-related IT skills (programming, design, system administration…) can help them greatly in finding candidates in these fields.

13. Being target-driven. Often times, companies depend on recruiters, who have to hire X amount of people by a certain date. Target-driven recruiters keep company performance in mind and hit their numbers in time.

14. Reliability. When using a recruiter, a company is relying on them to find the best possible candidate for a given position. A great recruiter needs to be reliable and meet the needs of the company and the candidate at the same time.


How to improve your recruitment skills


There’s a difference between a good and a great recruiter, and only a great recruiter can do such a job to make both applicants and their employers happy with their work. If you’re on the path to become a great recruiter, there’s a number of actions you can take to better yourself.

Get an additional education. If you got into recruitment from an unrelated field such as science, it’s best to get some HR-specific education. You can go for an additional BA or MA or simply attend some online courses to get up to speed – Coursera and Udemy have a few they’re offering at all times.

You can get very specific.


Make it easier for the candidates. One of the best ways to kill two birds with one stone is to make the recruitment process easier on the candidates. You’ll sell the company and the position, as well as enable more quality applicants to apply.

First, ensure the interviews are as simple as possible. Many applicants are still employed while looking for a new job, so ensure you are flexible with time and space. Ideally, allow for video calls or have a weekend when you can interview candidates so they don’t have troubles at their current job.

Second, communicate. Many candidates get frustrated and don’t finish the recruitment process because of a lack of communication from recruiters and companies. If you tell someone you’ll get back by a certain date, do so. If someone’s not a good fit – let them know. Great communication creates a bond between the applicant and the company before they even get the job.

Don’t rely on resumes. It takes some time until a recruiter learns how to call an applicant’s bluff and see if their qualifications really are true. Until then, don’t trust resumes and test everything. It’s beneficial to have a test as part of the hiring process, either using an interview or a pre-employment assessment tool such as Hundred5.


Should you become a recruiter?


If you’re a people-person with great communication skills and a passion for finding great jobs for quality applicants, you have plenty of boxes checked for the position of a recruiter. Even if you don’t have formal HR education – you can start changing the lives of job applicants and companies today.



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