10 skills every recruiter should be improving

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In a competitive job market, finding and placing top talent is important for many industries. For people seeking how to become a good recruiter, success depends on your ability to assess the skills and qualifications of job seekers and find the best fit to the company culture.

These are recruiter skills that anyone who wants to know how to become a recruiter should master.

Organizational Skills

The best recruiters know where everyone is at all times: each client, the stage of each applicant in the hiring process, and applicants “waiting in the wings” for the right opportunity. Recruiters keep an organized calendar, with appointments and interviews carefully scheduled throughout the week.

If you can’t provide an answer for a client or job seeker by pulling up the right information within a few minutes, you risk looking disorganized, which makes clients lose trust in your recommendations.

Time Management

Proper time management skills are part of being organized. Becoming more efficient with your day means that you can fit in more client meetings, applicant interviews, and “cold pitches” to new clients. Automating some of your tasks, such as email newsletters, follow up emails and texts, and making your website more autonomous, frees you to network and interact with clients and applicants.

Intuitive Listening

Learning how to be a good recruiter means listening carefully. Matching the best talent with the right job involves understanding the company’s needs and the “soft skills” of the applicant.

Intuitive listening means asking open-ended questions to gain insight into what a client seeks from the right hire. It helps properly vet applicants by understanding their interview answers and following up with the right questions to gather more information.

Knowledge of Body Language

People communicate more through body language than they do with their actual words. Learning how to interpret body language helps with in-person interviews. Learn to identify when an applicant may be embellishing their resume skills, suss out their interest in certain positions, and analyze how they react in stressful situations.


Your clients may not have job openings, or you may not have the right applicants in the pipeline to place with your clients’ current needs. Growing your business as a recruiter, or growing your contacts as a recruiter in a larger firm takes time. You need to work with clients and applicants to develop their trust and confidence in your abilities.

Starting small, with carefully selected placements and businesses with a strong reputation as good places to work, can help you build your client base by word of mouth. Some areas of the country are very competitive, and you’ll need a strong history of identifying and correctly placing top talent to rise to the top.

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Data-driven justification for hiring has replaced the old business model of recruiter-hiring manager relationships. Businesses rely on recruiters to identify future talent shortages and changes in the demand for certain skill sets within their industry. As a recruiter, having the ability to analyze employment data and trends can help you work with your clients to anticipate future needs and begin looking for people to fill them before your clients have an employment crisis.

You can also use data to determine when stellar talent may be seeking an employer or career change, and approach them proactively.

Quantifying Hires

Using data to justify certain hires is the first step in demonstrating the case for hiring a certain individual. Hiring managers are now asking recruiters to extrapolate the financial impact their top applicants will have on the business. This can include the applicant’s projected ability to save the company money by operating more efficiently or a salesperson’s track record of closing business, thus adding to top-line revenue.

Quantifying the expense of hiring new workers, from the cost of training to salary and benefits packages, is part of the job matching process and gives employers a more realistic idea of how a future employee will contribute to business growth.


Despite the shift from relationships to data, recruiters still hold a position of trust. If you miss appointments, have a misstep in placing candidates, forget to return calls, or are consistently late on deadlines, your professional reputation suffers. Companies that outsource recruitment and hiring rely on your expertise and timely interaction to keep their business operating smoothly. Being unreliable can quickly cost you clients.


You can’t place job seekers if you don’t have clients, and you can’t help clients fill employment gaps without qualified talent. Acquiring these means meeting people, and that means networking. But, today’s networking isn’t the business card buffet of the past.

Now, with social media and plenty of online opportunities, there are many ways to cultivate your circle of clients and professionals. Maximizing your presence on LinkedIn, for example, can help you develop relationships with professionals in many industries.

Your brand’s social media presence is also an important recruiting tool. Reaching out to identify talent with casual conversation starts the relationship process. Posting fresh, relevant content on your website attracts job seekers and clients alike. Promoting your website and specialties on different social media platforms can help drive traffic to your site and widen your network of contacts.

Sales Skills

Ultimately, knowing how to be a good recruiter lies in learning how to become a good salesperson. While data from employment trends and the information you’ve gathered about different job candidates gives you the information you need for client presentations, selling your clients on a job seeker or their need to begin sourcing talent in certain fields of specialization is the key to recruitment success.

Effective sales means understanding what your clients need and demonstrating that you have the product to meet those needs. In the case of recruitment, your product is people: talented job seekers for companies with a reputation of being great places to work, as well as qualified individuals that may not be actively looking for a new job.


Becoming a good recruiter doesn’t happen overnight. Developing these skills, building professional relationships and improving your knowledge can ensure that your career as a recruiter grows substantially.

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