5 steps to becoming a great recruiter

It’s a no-brainer. Recruiters who can combine a rare understanding of people with a fierce grasp of commerce are going to have happy clients, well-placed candidates and brisker business. But, worry not. If those qualities don’t come naturally, you can still emulate a skilful recruiter to stay at the top of your game. Here are five steps to help you become a great recruiter…


Be a good listener

Let’s face it, recruitment is an expensive and lengthy process so if your placement is a bad fit, both the client and the candidate will blame you. The simple way to avoid failure is to listen carefully to what both sides are looking for.

Clearly, the client will be looking for an employee with specific skills and experience, while the candidate will be looking for a certain level of remuneration, career enhancement and so on. You should only seal the appointment, therefore, if you can marry their expectations and ensure a workable cultural fit.

Why worry? Time and again employers tell us they stop working with time-wasting recruiters who send them unsuitable candidates. Not only will you have lost a lucrative client – the candidate won’t trust you either.

Top tip: Don’t simply blanket-bomb employers with your candidates’ CVs. It is more effective to target the skills of your candidate at the right company.



If you don’t get a buzz out of meeting people, you’re in the wrong business. Recruitment is all about making connections and building solid working relationships with employers. At managerial level, it’s also about getting to know the movers and shakers who will turn to you for help in their steady climb up the career ladder.

Get seen at industry events to reassure employers that you understand and love their business. As a result, your conversations with clients will be richer and your candidate assessment questions more productive. But more practically, you’ll be able to put a face to a name and pick up the phone to the right person.

Why worry? If you’re not out there, you can be sure your competition is. You need to be the first to know who is recruiting and what they are looking for so that when that crack candidate walks through your door you know exactly where they should be placed.

Top tip: Network on the ether… Use Facebook, LinkedIn, websites, email, and phone calls as additional marketing channels.


Get industry knowledge

You’ll have an uphill struggle in placing candidates if you don’t thoroughly understand the industry you’re recruiting for. This includes taking time to absorb the culture of your client companies.

Not only will this make you more authoritative, it means you can give the candidate an insight into the company and its politics. You’ll be able to provide details they wouldn’t ordinarily pick up so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to apply for the role.

An understanding of the industry also means you can more effectively negotiate salary packages and give advice on how the marketplace is changing and what extra training a candidate may need to fulfil their career aspirations.

Why worry? You earn loyalty from both sides and hit the jackpot – jobseekers perform better at interview if they have an insight into their potential employer, while clients are grateful not to have time-wasters.

Top tip: It’s worth attending client induction days to fully understand the company policy and get a handle on the culture.


Think long-term

A good consultant will treat jobseekers as they would a client. They’ll offer careers advice, set up meetings and offer support, and they’ll always brief the candidate before interview and give feedback afterwards.

It’s worth spending time nurturing a promising candidate, even if they don’t get that particular job. Keep in regular contact in order to develop a working relationship based on trust that could continue throughout their heady career – and yours.

Why worry? By mentoring candidates and offering sound career advice, you’ll earn their loyalty and reap the benefits of them turning to you as they progress through their career.

Top tip: Invest in candidates by offering coaching or training sessions if necessary – and spend time advising them on how to improve their CVs.


Foster integrity

The biggest mistake a recruiter can make is to think of their job as a numbers game. Obviously, the more vacancies you can fill the better – but, as we’ve discussed above, only if you’re placing the right people with the appropriate company.

It is unethical to push candidates towards unsuitable jobs, or to oversell under-skilled jobseekers to the client simply to fill your quota. Neither should you be gleaning fees from a candidate for a placement that is being paid for by the client – believe us, some consultants do just that.

The best recruiters are not looking to out-wit their customers – they are trustworthy, open and realistic. If you take the time and effort to build a strong working relationship with a client or candidate you’ll reap the rewards in terms of repeat business and an excellent professional reputation.

Why worry? In this digital age, it won’t take long for any unprofessional behaviour to hit the public domain.

Top tip: Don’t forget – you’re only as good as your reputation.

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