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The DNA of a Recruiter: Do You Have the Soft Skills it Takes?

The definition of recruiting according to the Business Dictionary, is, “The process of finding and hiring the best-qualified candidate (from within or outside of an organization) for a job opening, in a timely and cost effective manner.” At a glance, I think this definition sounds fairly straightforward. However, let’s see what happens when we rephrase this as a question. How do we find the best-qualified candidates in a timely, cost-effective manner in order to secure the hire? Not so simple anymore, is it? The truth is there’s no one right answer to this question because recruiters have different personalities, styles, and processes they use to engage and complete a search. The purpose of this blog is to discuss common traits or themes amongst recruiters, and here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

  1. We are relationship builders and managers. We identify and attract new relationships, we work hard to keep them going strong, and we’re there through the good, the bad and everything in between. If you stop here and think for a second that you may have confused this professional blog with a dating one, I would say you aren’t far off. As recruiters, our life centers around building and maintaining relationships – without them, we wouldn’t have a job in the first place!
  2. We are constantly managing other people’s expectations. Our candidates and clients have predetermined notions about how we do our job and what kind of results we’re going to deliver. It’s up to us as recruiters to navigate these expectations and troubleshoot if things go awry. If there’s anything recruiters know, it’s that things rarely go according to plan… especially when there are lots of players in the game with differing expectations.
  3. We aren’t scared of a challenge. Selling a product that can think for itself can be the demanding and frustrating territory. Top-notch recruiters are able to anticipate and deflect obstacles that may arise due to the complexity of selling a living product. As recruiters, we must be able to recalibrate and change the course of direction at the drop of a hat.
  4. We have thick skin. An average day is going to consist of highs and lows – it’s imperative to have a game plan in place when it comes to dealing with the everyday frustrations and setbacks. Simply put, you can’t let the little stuff get to you, especially in this industry. Like many things, this is easier said than done – and something I find myself struggling with often!
  5. We are incredibly persistent and positive, even when we feel deflated and exhausted. We spend a great deal of our time trying to persuade both candidates and clients, and we don’t always get the reactions we hope for. The best recruiters I know simply won’t take no for an answer, even when they’ve heard it a thousand times. They know when it’s time to back off for a little while, but they certainly don’t back down. The importance of resilience can’t be emphasized enough when it comes to this industry.
  6. We see and effectively explain the value in what we do. Recruiting is sales, plain and simple. We sell our candidates, our clients and ourselves every single day. In order to be successful, we have to personally buy into what we’re selling. Each and every recruiter has to understand their value proposition and be able to effectively convey that message to their audience.
  7. Most importantly, we are truly passionate and interested in our profession. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think this is a money-motivated industry. It’s an industry that attracts individuals that thrive in situations of pressure, uncertainty, and volatility. People who can flourish in this kind of environment tend to be especially sharp and self-aware. At the end of the day, we’re professional matchmakers. We connect individuals with the right opportunities and feel a sense of fulfillment when we do so. If you want to make a name for yourself in this industry, that desire to make personal and authentic connections is paramount.

In my opinion, these are the factors that comprise basic recruiter DNA. This is the foundation, so to speak, that we build our recruiting careers and successes on. What do you think, fellow recruiters? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or connect with me to discuss!

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