No one who works in recruiting needs to be told that this work can be challenging. While it is rewarding to help organizations succeed by identifying and attracting strong talent, it’s no secret that achieving this goal isn’t always easy.
Luckily, you can always improve your current skills as a recruiter. The following are specific traits successful recruiting pros typically embody. If you’re lacking in any of these areas, consider what steps you can take to address those gaps.
Patience and Focus
It’s important that you do what you can to boost your efficiency and productivity. Hiring employees is costly. The more time you spend searching for the perfect candidate, the more money an organization will spend.
However, the best ways to save time typically involve finding opportunities to automate key tasks and leverage technology to work more quickly. You shouldn’t try to save time by reviewing candidate résumés as quickly as possible when evaluating your options.
Yes, there will be instances when an error or similar factor (such as a lack of a required certification) on a résumé allows you to justify rejecting a candidate immediately. In general, though, you should take your time when considering who to hire. Read résumés closely to ensure you thoroughly understand all the information it conveys. Read cover letters as well to avoid overlooking valuable insights.
A strong recruiter needs to be patient. Those who succeed in this field do so in part because they are willing to devote the time necessary to finding the best candidates they can.
A Sense of Purpose
In any profession, people are usually more likely to succeed in the long run if they genuinely care about the work they do. While you might be able to succeed for a brief period of time by feigning enthusiasm, if you don’t have genuine passion for your work, you won’t be able to perform well for long.
That’s why it’s important to care about your role and responsibilities. If you’re lucky, generating a sense of purpose will be easy. Maybe you’re the hiring manager at an organization whose values and mission you deeply believe in.
That said, if you don’t immediately respond to your company’s mission, you can still explore your own values to generate passion for your work. For example, perhaps working in recruiting gives you the opportunity to help people achieve their professional goals, land their dream job, or put their talents to good use. Many recruiters find this to be incredibly meaningful work, and they are motivated by the personal connections they establish with people.
Alternatively, maybe you believe that by helping a company grow, you are helping to boost your local economy and create jobs. A recruiter might feel a great sense of satisfaction when they connect their role to this bigger picture.
Those are merely two examples. The source of your passion will be unique to you. That said, you absolutely need to generate that enthusiasm and sense of purpose if you want to thrive.
A Focus on People and Relationships
The best recruiters and hiring managers aren’t just focused on data and processes. They understand that the essence of their role involves building relationships. They enjoy meeting other people, learning about their experiences and values, and maintaining the relationship over time.
Think of yourself as a matchmaker. You’re trying to pair employers with employees. You need to make sure the candidates you attract are a good fit for the organization, and vice versa. For this reason, recruiters need to be perceptive and intuitive about people. They need to be able to identify the personal characteristics, skills, or professional experiences that would make someone an excellent fit for a position—even when it might not be apparent at first. And they need to be able to recognize when a candidate may be well qualified for a role in terms of experience and skills, but a poor culture fit for the organization. In short, good recruiters are good at reading people.
This is not unlike building a relationship. You need to demonstrate to your candidates why a particular employer may be right for them, and you of course need to demonstrate to that employer why a candidate is ideal. That involves staying in contact with all parties throughout the hiring process.
A Proactive Approach
If you’ve worked in hiring and recruitment for a decent amount of time, you know it’s important to act quickly when opportunities arise. Too many companies fail to hire the best employees for given positions because by the time they make job offers, candidates have taken on roles elsewhere.
You can’t be too casual or lackadaisical to succeed in this line of work. Every day, you need to be willing to embrace a proactive approach. You should be self-motivated and goal-oriented; you can’t wait for the right candidate for a position to fall into your lap.
A Willingness to Improve
Beyond these qualities, there’s one characteristic that will serve you well, no matter what field you work in: a willingness to improve. People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that soft skills—like relationship-building—can’t really be taught, but that’s simply not true. You can cultivate any of the traits mentioned above with time and conscious effort.