2 Traits Every Successful Recruiter Should Have

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by Nanci Lamborn – BrightMove Recruiting Software

When I was just 21 years old (some eleventy-something years ago), I had the unbelievable fortune of getting to know one of the most exceptional recruiters I’ve ever met. The employer for whom I worked at that time had developed a very successful relationship with this recruiter who seemed to really have a gift for her calling, and as I took over the hiring role I began to understand what it was that made this recruiter so good at what she did.

She listened and she kept her word.

Very simple statements in and of themselves. But it’s quite amazing how rare those two traits are amongst recruiters today. Webster’s definition of “Listen” includes, “to pay attention, heed, and wait attentively.” This description could not be more fitting of this recruiter. She paid attention to us as her client employer, going out of her way to gain an intimate understanding of our workplace culture, our particular business niche, the details of every job requirement, and the key stakeholders within our organization. She asked leading and loaded questions when we passed on a particular candidate, knowing that a passed candidate for us was a waste of our time and hers, so she went out of her way to present candidates that were right for the role. She kept her finger on the pulse of our environment, calling to catch up on staff even when she knew we weren’t hiring, and she made several personal visits a year just to say hello. She followed up every single time she said she would, and I have never had to ask her for something twice.

This recruiter was also the only recruiter I have used in my eleventy-something years who still personally interviewed every candidate face to face before she even considered submitting them for our openings. I once naively assumed that almost all recruiters did this as a matter of practice, so the rarity of this personal attention makes this trait all the more special. In essence, she functioned as our outsourced recruiting department, conducting interview after interview all over town until the best candidates were discovered.

I’ve been on both sides of the hiring desk, so my faith in this particular gem of a recruiter was even more solidified when I became her job-seeking candidate. Once again, she listened to me, to what I wanted (and didn’t), and she kept her word. As many candidates are experiencing in the hunt today, this combination is very rare indeed, and as attested to in some recent awful recruiter stories (http://tinyurl.com/yl7gdwd,) and a wonderful tale of turned tables (http://tinyurl.com/ykre3xx,) recruiters and hiring managers very often do deserve the very bad rap they’re (we’re) getting.

From either side of the hiring desk, the habits to make a successful recruiter who in turn keeps employer clients happy and employed candidates satisfied really do just come down to two things: listening, and keeping your word. Do those, and the rest will come. Oh, and so as not to bring an unmanageable deluge of activity to an already very overworked lady, the only thing I’ll share about this wonderful person is that her name is Pat.

The recruiting world definitely could use a lot more Pats.

Based in Atlanta, GA, Nanci Lamborn, SPHR, is a freelance human resources writer and a senior generalist with a global investment technology firm where it’s an awesome place to work. (Follow: http://twitter.com/TheHRLadi)


  1. Matt Cheek on April 16, 2010 at 11:04 am


    I loved your post. Those recruiters who learn the intimate nature of your culture and business are the superstars. We have the good and the bad. I really apprecaite the post. If you like I would like to invite you to do a blog post for matrix resources.

  2. sumi on May 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    amazingly Motivating …. thanks for the post

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