How to Hack Recruitment – 15 Key Personality Traits We Look For…

There are a lot of myths around recruitment and the skill set it takes to be successful. Rather than purely focusing on qualifications and your education, we like to look at the person behind the CV – your listening skills, communication style, and the ability to think on your feet matter more to us than your background.

Becoming a recruiter is a fantastic opportunity to make a genuinely positive impact on people’s lives. What’s more, it’s also one of the most accessible career paths as there are no specific qualifications that are essential to become a recruiter. Of course, uncapped commission is a pretty decent perk of the job, too…

So, what skills do recruitment companies look for?

To be a successful recruiter, employers tend to look for a mix of hard and soft skills. These can be either intrinsic to the recruiter’s personality or learned and honed over time. In this blog, we’ve put together the hard and soft skills that make the best recruiters, from our own experience…

Soft skills

Soft skills tend to be more closely related to your personality. They’re skills that are part of who you are and those you can leverage to your advantage in a recruitment environment. A lot of these can also be improved over time with the right effort and dedication.

1. Good active listening skills

Being able to actively listen well is one of the most important skills needed to be a successful recruiter. Not only does it show a real interest in the person you’re talking to, but taking the time to really hear your candidates, co-workers, and hiring managers will give you more valuable information than any other tactic you can find.

By listening intently to what your candidates and co-workers say, you get to know exactly what they want. You can then use this information to craft your recruitment and negotiating strategies. The more information you get, the more effective your recruitment will be.

2. Strong communication

Being able to communicate through a variety of different channels is also essential for recruiters. You'll be expected to write effective job ads and LinkedIn posts, and speak to candidates, clients, and hiring managers over email, phone/ video calls, and in person. It’s important to find a balance between professional and approachable, as you’ll be acting as the face of the company at all times.

3. Curiosity

Curiosity goes hand in hand with being a strong communicator and good listener, as it’s all about learning the right information about a candidate. For example, it’s a recruiter’s job to learn more about a candidate than just what’s on their CV or cover letter. It can be very hard to know how a candidate will perform during technical tests, assessment centres, or on the job, if you don’t have the curiosity and proactiveness to ask the right questions.

Understanding people is a huge advantage in recruitment, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek clarity, and dig deep…

4. Confidence

Confidence might be something that some people need to build up on over time – however, recruitment does involve a lot of networking and interacting with a variety of people, so you’ll need to be willing to develop this skill if it’s not currently a strength of yours. You’ll be expected to speak confidently to candidates, hiring managers, and experts across different industries, so self-assurance is key.

5. Reliability

Recruiters act as the main point of contact between a candidate and a hiring manager, so reliability is extremely important. One relies on you as the point of contact for the company that they are trying to be a part of, and the other is relying on you to fill a very important role in their team.

Reliability in a recruitment setting can also mean:

· Clear and timely communication – making sure both parties are kept up to date with progress of the hiring process

· Accurate and true information shared as soon as possible

· A willingness to work with both parties on contentious issues (eg salary negotiation)

6. Patience

Anyone who has hired for, and has been recruited for, a competitive position knows that the process can sometimes take a long time. Good hiring can sometimes mean many rounds of job adverts and interviews before finding the right fit for the job.

Patience and persistence are key here, and often the most successful recruiters are the ones who put in the effort and know that, with time and perseverance, they’ll be able to find the perfect candidate.

7. People skills

Recruitment is essentially all about people.

It’s about meeting people and making connections that could one day lead to a great hire. It’s about connecting with candidates and keeping them in the loop, whether they’re actively looking for a role or not. It’s about creating your own pool of talent that you keep warm by sharing industry insights and invaluable information – all so that they’re more likely to come to you when they do choose to make a move.

Making those connections, either with potential candidates, clients, or hiring managers, can not only provide you with experience in your job, but also potential for more talent to add to your pipeline and a better chance of people coming to you for their next hire.

8. Empathy

Leading on from people skills, one of the most important skills you should have as a recruiter is empathy. Mitch Sullivan, author of recruitment bible “On Recruitment”, refers to the candidate experience: “If I had to sum up the biggest character flaw of the recruitment industry [today], I’d say it’s the inability to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.”

Job hunting can be a very stressful and emotional experience for candidates. For example, there could be a level of urgency involved for the candidate, and so getting (or not getting) the job could be a pivotal moment in their life. Recruiters should never forget this when speaking with people – remembering that the candidates you speak to are human can only lead to better outcomes for everyone. It's all about building relationships...

Hard skills

Even if you have the right personality to crack recruitment, you’ll have an advantage with a more practical skillset, including those listed below. These might come from experience working with other companies, hobbies in your personal time, or even a degree, if you have one.

9. Being tech savvy

Nowadays, it’s critical for recruiters to know their way around tech. This can mean combining your recruitment skills with effective use of hiring technology, such as applicant tracking systems, performance management platforms, and more. The better your tech skills are, the more effective you can be in leveraging these platforms to your advantage.

Particularly pertinent for Opus, technology skills also come in handy when hiring for technical positions. Being able to use these skills to communicate with candidates in their own language with confidence can be a great way to show you can be a niche recruiter.

You won’t be expected to know every coding language or piece of software in the world, don’t worry! We’ll work with you to establish your niche within the tech sector, and support you as you learn more about that industry and its roles, specialisms, and tech stack.

10. Being driven by data

With evolving technology across HR and recruitment, the ability to analyse data and be driven by it can be used to your advantage.

Take the time to learn what KPIs (key performance indicators) or metrics are most important to your company. By using these and embracing data-driven recruitment, you can find ways to make your hiring process better and more efficient.

11. Marketing and sales skills

Recruitment involves a lot of marketing – namely, selling the company you’re working with to potential candidates. This means thinking and acting like a marketer and a salesperson at the same time.

Marketing skills that recruiters will benefit from are:

· Finding the best channels for jobs posts

· Writing convincing and persuasive job ads

· Using the latest technology to increase the reach of your ads

· Finding the right audience (aka engaged candidates)

12. Social media know-how

Social media has taken almost all industries by storm, and it’s also become one of the most significant and influential channels for recruitment - and we’re not just talking about LinkedIn.

The variety of users and online communities that recruiters can interact with across various channels can make social media platforms invaluable for finding niche candidates, including diverse job boards, Software Engineering forums, and even Reddit threads…

13. Time management and multitasking skills

Recruitment is often a mix of juggling multiple job openings, which can mean screening applicants, writing job ads, doing background checks, prepping candidates for interviews, and more – all at the same time. This is on top of your communication between hiring managers and candidates, as well as working on any new job roles that arrive in the meantime.

14. Willingness to learn

Having a strong aptitude for learning will put you at a huge advantage as a recruiter. Nobody starts the job knowing everything, and, with every niche job, new company, or hiring manager, a willingness and ability to constantly learn will help you significantly.

Learning new skills will allow you to adapt to new recruitment trends and taking on more responsibilities. At Opus, our Learning and Development team offer outstanding training, upskilling, and support at every stage of your journey with us. Whether it’s getting to grips with ways to make the most of each day at work, or developing a better approach to researching or data analysis, we’re here to help you become the best recruiter you can possibly be.

15. Negotiating skills

Giving a candidate what they need, even if you don’t necessarily have what they’re looking for, is a big part of candidate negotiations, and is really important for both the candidate and the hiring manager. This isn’t just about salary, as you might expect, but could be a request for a flexible working pattern or even an earlier or later start date than originally suggested.

If you haven’t got the resources or availability they want, it’s up to you to find out what alternatives you can provide, keeping the role attractive and on the table. Negotiating plays a big part in all kinds of business transactions, and recruitment is by no means an exception…

Join us

If you’ve had a read through this list and think it sounds a lot like you, we’d love to hear from you! Head here to browse our current vacancies, whether you’re looking to make a move within recruitment, or want to try out your skills in our Trainee Recruitment Academy as a brand new recruiter (you don’t any previous experience!).

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