POSTED: March 11 2020
Skills needed to be a successful recruiter

Skills needed to be a successful recruiter

Recruitment is the lifeblood of any organisation, but many employers get this fundamental wrong. We look at what is needed to be successful.

According to recent research from CV-Library, the majority (78.6%) of recruiters think candidates hold all the power in the current market; and a further 80.2% measure the success of their hiring efforts on the quality of hire.  

But what do you need to be a successful recruiter? CV-Library surveyed 300 hiring professionals to see what they think are the top skills every recruiter needs. We outline the results below. 


Almost three-quarters (74.7%) of recruiters feel that the most important skill a recruiter should have is listening. It may sound simple, but it’s important when working with hiring managers and understanding the type of candidates they’re after.   

If you can take on board what a hiring manager is asking of you, instead of just assuming that they’re after the most experienced candidate, you’re well on your way to being a successful recruiter.  

By listening to what your client wants and needs, you’ll be able to tailor your search to find the most relevant candidates; and ultimately improve your quality of hire. Not only that, it’ll make your job  so much easier if you know exactly what you’re looking for! 


The second-best skill you can have as a recruiter is creativity (44.6%). According to ONS figures, the employment rate is at a record-high of 76.5%, which means there are less candidates actively looking for jobs right now. As a result, your talent pool is shrinking, so you’ll need to be creative if you want to source top candidates.  

Clients will be looking for agencies and recruiters that can think outside the box. Are you able to offer a fresh and creative way of pushing your clients’ jobs out? Or are you just offering the same techniques as every other recruitment agency in the country? 


Nearly four in ten (39.8%) hiring professionals believe that marketing is an extremely valuable skill to have as a recruiter; ranking third on the CV-Library list.  

While it may be easy to promote and advertise a role that has a competitive salary and is for a well-known company with a cool culture, not all jobs are such an easy sell.   

The ability to advertise and market the company and role you’re placing (in the right way) is very important. With so much competition for top candidates, you’ll need to have the skills to make your role stand out. If you do, you’ll be able to attract the best talent around, and success will surely follow.  

Managing expectations 

Client demands can sometimes be a bit unrealistic. When this happens, what separates the good recruiters from the great ones are those that can manage these expectations and consistently produce strong results.  

It’s easy to panic and promise something you aren’t able to fulfil when a hiring manager pushes back. However, it’s important to set realistic expectations from the get-go to ensure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew.  

Big picture thinking 

Of course, being a recruiter is about focusing on the present and what the hiring manager wants right now. But what about further down the line, beyond the immediate role you’re placing? 

Being able to see the bigger picture was voted as a key skill by 26.8% of hiring professionals. And it’s clear to see why. If you’re aware of any long-term requirements, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort; and make the client happy in the process.  

For example, it might be that a candidate isn’t the right fit for the current role you’re hiring for, but could be further down the line. Or, you might be able to foresee your clients’ future hiring plans, so you start to organise a candidate shortlist in advance.  

Of course, you can’t predict the future, but you can help yourself by trying to pre-empt the long-term needs of the hiring manager.  


Nearly 80% of recruiters believe that candidates hold the power when it comes to hiring this year. As such, the ability to negotiate a job offer is incredibly sought-after.  

It’s likely that some candidates will request a higher salary or better benefits. So, negotiating a contract that makes both sides happy is vital.  

No hiring manager wants to hear that you’ve offered someone a higher salary than they’ve agreed to; but you also don’t want to scare off a great candidate because you were too tough.  Finding the right balance for negotiating is key! 


We know that 2020 will likely bring some big technological changes to the hiring industry; particularly when it comes to using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.  

If you aren’t aware of the potential these technologies have in the market, you need to start researching now, or you risk being left behind. This is why 16.4% of hiring professionals believe being tech-savvy is a very important skill.  

Using these technologies to your advantage can help massively with your sourcing efforts; you can even chat to your suppliers to see how they’re maximising them. Not only will you be able to improve your quality of hire, you’ll reduce your time to hire as well. Keeping up with the latest advancements in the industry makes for a great recruiter in 2020.  


Finding a new job is tough. The recruitment process can be incredibly taxing on candidates, especially if they’ve been hunting for a while to no avail.  

As such, an important skill for recruiters to have is being able to empathise with candidates; particularly those who are getting frustrated with their job search. This will include giving helpful and genuine feedback, providing as much detail as possible for interviews and caring about their journey throughout the application process.  


advo has considerable experience in recruitment and can help. Please contact advo hr on on this or any other HR related topic.


This article is based on one published by James Cragg, PR & Communications Assistant at CV Library. You can read the original article here.