10 Essential Recruiter Skills (With Steps to Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 September 2022 | Published 29 November 2021

Updated 29 September 2022

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A recruiter plays a fundamental role in the hiring process, including using their hard and soft skills to search for and find the best possible candidate for their clients or companies. If you're interested in becoming a recruiter, it's important to have a vast range of skills to be successful in the role. Knowing what skills a recruiter has can help you develop your abilities and succeed in your career. In this article, we explore some important skills recruiters frequently use and provide some tips to help you develop these abilities.

Related: What Does a Recruiter Do: Duties, Skills and Salary

What are recruiter skills?

To understand what recruiter skills are, it's crucial to first define what the process of recruitment is. It's about searching for candidates that possess the quality for open positions within a company or business. It can be a long process since recruiters look for people with the right skills and qualities for the job. This usually involves posting job ads, reviewing a potential candidate's skills and qualifications, negotiating their salary packaging and hiring them.

Recruitment skills are the collective skills and abilities a recruiter requires to be successful and effective in their role. Many recruiters develop and refine their skills in areas such as sourcing, interviewing, evaluating, negotiating with and hiring the perfect candidate for their company or client's company. With these skills, recruiters can effectively recruit potential candidates to open roles while handling multiple projects at a time.

Related: What Are Recruitment Strategies? (Plus 10 You Can Use)

Examples of recruitment skills

No matter what kind of recruiter you are, there are common types of recruitment skills you can learn, practise and enhance to help you succeed. Here are some of the common yet important recruitment skills you can hone:

Communication

Communication skills are important for recruiters to have because they connect a candidate and a company. They're responsible for communicating effectively with recruiters and companies on all mediums, whether in person, in email or on the phone. Recruiters require strong communication skills to respond to candidates' questions accurately or communicate information between the candidate and companies. Recruiters also require strong communication skills to make a good impression on potential candidates to attract them into applying for open roles for their clients' companies.

Related: What Is Headhunting? (And How It Differs From Recruiting)

Attention to detail

Strong attention to detail is vital for recruiters since they may work with a large talent pool. It may be essential for recruiters to remember every detail about their candidates to discuss them with the companies, including who they're talking to, the position they're interested in or the salary they want. Recruiters may look out for the candidates' expectations if they have any and communicate them to the company before setting up any interviews.

Confidence

Recruiters show their confidence when they establish themselves as knowledgeable people confident in their recruiting abilities. Since they're often the first point of contact between a candidate and a company and its culture, they set the tone for all future interactions between both parties. Confidence can help give a good first impression for the recruiter and make the next few interactions positive. A good way to exhibit confidence is to answer questions with authority and be honest on anything they don't know.

Listening skills

Active listening is an important technique recruiters use when listening to candidates answer interview questions. They pay close attention to candidates when they talk about themselves and create an environment free from distractions for them. Recruiters also listen to feedback from both applicants and companies to improve future recruiting opportunities.

Patience

Patience is an important skill for a recruiter to be successful since they're managing both companies and their candidates. A simple task, such as setting up a job interview, may require multiple interactions between the recruiter and both parties when trying to find a time that suits everyone. To handle such situations, having patience helps the recruiter stay calm and not rush through the recruitment process, ensuring it goes smoothly.

Marketing skills

Marketing skills are the abilities that people use to present things in an enticing way to others. Recruiters require these marketing skills to heavily promote the company they're tasked with hiring for. Just like marketers, it's important for recruiters to understand the role they're promoting so that they can use the right words to market it successfully to potential candidates. Recruiters can also research the newest marketing trends in the industry to find out how to sell the position and the company to candidates.

Technology skills

With more individuals searching for jobs on mobile devices instead of newspapers or physical flyers, it's important for recruiters to have technology skills. From knowing how to use recruiting software platforms to using smartphones to initiate the recruitment processes, it's even better if you're good at using the internet for advertising and researching. Recruiters who are hiring for IT-related jobs also require some IT skills to understand more about the role they're tasked to fill, which can help them find the right candidate more efficiently.

Teamwork and interpersonal skills

Recruiters work internally with other recruiters or with companies and candidates to fill different roles. This requires good interpersonal and teamwork skills for them to work well with various teams to find the right candidates for a company. Interpersonal skills can also help recruiters manage the expectations of both the candidate and company when hiring for the position. For example, some employers may need more employers than there are available or some candidates may have very high salary expectations.

Time management skills

Time management skills are very important for recruiters to have since they're constantly working with multiple candidates and companies at one time. Recruiters may require multitasking to hit deadlines for companies or to keep interview schedules running smoothly. Some recruiters also require managing multiple tasks like writing job ads, screening candidates or running background checks on top of their other responsibilities. This requires a lot of time management to ensure they're working efficiently and keeping on track with their responsibilities.

Sales

Recruiters may use sales skills to pitch a job position to candidates and explain the role's benefits to make it enticing for them. They help sell an open role in a company to potential candidates and sell a potential candidate to hiring managers within a company. Recruiters also have the responsibility to hire a set amount of candidates within a specific date to hit targets, which requires them to utilise sales tactics to attract more candidates for companies.

How to improve your recruitment skills

To improve your recruitment skills, you can take some time to assess your current skill set and abilities to evaluate yourself for any areas of improvement. Here are some ways you can improve your recruitment skills to become an effective and successful recruiter:

1. Complete further studies

If you joined the recruitment industry from an unrelated field, you can consider furthering your education and pursuing an education in HR. A bachelor's degree in HR or business studies can equip you with the skills to handle hiring processes. You can also try some online courses to pick up these skills if you're not looking to start on a traditional education route.

2. Write out SMART goals

SMART goals can help you highlight and decide which skills you can improve on and work on them. SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Goals can be specific and clear so that you can understand the steps to achieve them.

  • Measurable: Measurable goals are important since you can measure your progress in improving your skills as a recruiter, such as by setting milestones for yourself.

  • Achievable: Setting achievable goals for yourself if essential so that you can reasonably accomplish them to keep you focused and motivated.

  • Relevant: When you're setting your goals, consider if they're relevant and make sure they contribute to your objectives.

  • Time-based: Setting a deadline for yourself to hit your goals can help you prioritise and work on them to become a better recruiter.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition, Template and Examples

3. Role-play possible recruitment scenarios

Another way you can improve your recruitment skills is to role-play recruitment scenarios. Role-playing can help you practise your responses to different scenarios you may experience when managing companies and candidates. You can ask your friends and family to help you out in these scenarios and have them act as a hiring manager or candidate to give you possible challenging situations you can navigate as a recruiter.

4. Network with other recruiters

Networking with other professionals and recaptures from your professional network can also be a solid way of improving your skills. When networking with them, you can ask them about the abilities and skills they have when working in the field, so that you can find out areas of improvement for yourself. It might be a good idea to ask them about what skills they want to see in recruiters they work with too because it can help you see if there are any skills you can pick up and practise on your end.

Explore more articles