BLOG

Recruitment Careers: What Makes a Successful Recruiter?

It’s never been more important to understand how to be a successful recruiter. Why? The UK recruitment industry is competitive. There are currently circa 40,000 recruitment agencies and 115,000 people employed within it and it keeps on growing. If you think that 84% of recruitment agencies set up between 2008 and 2018, it’s critical to ensure you are standing out in a crowded market place.

The Key To Being a Successful Recruiter

This article aims to help you understand the qualities of a successful recruiter, factors that impact your success as a recruiter and tips from real-life recruiters.

Qualities of Successful Recruiters

As mentioned, it’s a competitive marketplace. It can be a very rewarding career but it is also very hard work as successful recruiters will tell you. To stand out and be successful you need to have certain qualities. Take a look at the list below and see if you have what it takes to make it to the top:

  • Resilience – You’ll have good and bad times in recruitment, but you have to be resilient to get through the bad patches.
  • Confidence – if you don’t believe in your candidate, client or your ability to do the job, no one else will.
  • Driven – Recruitment is a target driven industry, you need to be driven to meet those targets and goals.
  • Motivated – Without this quality, you will not make it as a recruiter. You should be buzzing to come to work every day and if you’ve had a bad day, draw a line and start a new day with a fresh perspective.
  • Good Communicator – you’ll be dealing with various people and will need to adapt your communication style to suit. This is to ensure you’re getting your message across loud and clear.
  • Multitasker – you wear many hats as a recruiter. You need the ability to find candidates, book in interviews, arrange start dates, liaise with clients, bring on jobs and the list goes on.
  • Problem Solver – thinking on your feet is needed in this job to resolve issues. Such as why you can’t find a candidate, or why a candidate should take your job and not another.

Factors that impact your success as a recruiter

As well as having the right qualities, you also need to ensure you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing in recruitment. Here are some factors that can impact your success.

How personal are you?

Customer experience is everything now. This means you need to make every interaction with clients and candidates personal. Instead of asking ‘are they interested in ‘x job’ or ‘x candidate’, ask them more about themselves.

People love to talk about themselves so take the time to really listen. What this means is don’t be a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ person. Understand what they are saying, ask more questions and make the job or candidate personal to them. For instance, a client tells you they are struggling to find someone who is the right cultural fit. Instead of agreeing and advising you’ll look to find someone who is right, keep asking questions about the culture. Not only what type of person but why weren’t the previous hires right, was there anything in the interview stages that they could have picked up on etc.

In addition and if possible, offer something of value too such as free advice. i.e this might help you because. It will help you build relationships better.

Can you tell a good story?
A girl sitting on a floor wearing jeans, trainers and brown top with a notebook and pen in front of her, a laptop on her lap and the words your story across the image
Your Story

People buy from people because they can relate to certain scenarios or situations. As well as making your interactions personal, turn them into stories people can relate to. For example, you are speaking to a candidate who is telling you they want to leave their current job because of their Manager. You tell a story of another candidate in a similar situation and the success they have had in their career since moving and working under a Manager that is better suited to them.

Being Human

It sounds so simple but is easily forgotten when you get into the day to day tasks. As a recruiter, you will be under pressure to meet targets, such as phone time, jobs on, CVs screened and the list goes on. A successful recruiter always remembers that the person they are speaking to is a human not a target.

Therefore, be empathetic and understanding. Never be rude if it doesn’t go your way. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would like that conversation to go. There is enough misconception about the recruitment industry and recruiters, don’t be one of those ‘typical recruiters’ that people talk about.

Your Reputation

A big factor that impacts your success as a recruiter is your ability to build a strong reputation. To do this you need to think outside the box and do things differently.

The words take time to build your brand written with a fountatin pen on paper
Take time to build your personal brand

When building your reputation think as yourself as a brand. You need to raise awareness about who you are and what you do. Don’t just post jobs on boards and social media or email with jobs and candidates or phone asking if a company has a job. Provide value.

As a recruiter, you speak to people every day. Without realising you find out what’s going on in the market, find out common questions or themes from candidates and clients. Use this information to your advantage. For example, is there a common issue coming up when you speak to candidates?

Recently one of our recruiters who works in the controls and automation space found many of his candidates were advising how easy it was to transfer skills between PLC platforms. However, employers were unwilling to consider this. He used this as a talking point, created a debate about it on social media and wrote a LinkedIn and website article. All of which started to build his credibility as a recruiter and the knowledge within the market.

How narrow is your market?

To really build your credibility as a recruiter, you need to develop your knowledge. The best way to do this is by focusing on a niche or vertical market. The less broad it is, the more success you will have.

Are you getting too complacent?

When you start reaching your targets every week, month, quarter and for the year, you start reaping the rewards, financially and through sense of achievement.

However, sometimes when things are going well, it’s all too easy to sit back and let things happen. Never become complacent. You never know what is around the corner, your biggest client could pull the plug. What then? Always strive for more and push yourself to achieve harder targets.

Tips from Recruiters

What a better way to understand how to become a successful recruiter than taking tips from real recruiters.

business man, recruitment consultant

Don’t just send cv’s to jobs for the sake of fulfilling a KPI. If you cannot find what they are looking for, take a consultative approach and discuss it with them. You will come up with ideas and alternative options in which to be successful in finding them the talent they need.

Mark Dawson, Managing Consultant

Business woman, Internal Recruiter

Get to know your candidates, keep in touch with them regularly and be aware of their other activity. They will buy into you as a person and this can sometimes be the difference in them taking your role over someone else’s.

Marie Weston, Internal Recruiter


Focus on selling the opportunity to the candidate, whether it’s via an advert, over the telephone or face to face.  Understand the strengths of your company and the position and then sell, sell, sell. Don’t just focus on what the candidate can bring to the business because in a candidate led market (like the one we’re in), you need to stand out from the crowd.

Neil Edwards, Business Manager


What Next?

If you feel you are doing all of the above and you’re still not achieving, maybe it’s time to consider moving to a company that will help you to become a successful recruiter.

Have a chat with Marie Weston and let’s see if ASC is the right company to support your recruitment career.

Articles you may be interested in:

Recruitment Careers: The Importance of Company Culture
Recruitment Careers: Your Market Sector
6 Key Signs it’s Time To Leave Your Job

External Sources
Recruitment Agency Statistics

Subscribe to our News & Blog feed

Connect with us