How To Become A Great Recruiter

Ben BrettLearning, RecruitmentLeave a Comment

How To Become A Great Recruiter

One of the questions I get asked the most is how to become a great recruiter; the company owners want to know so that they can implement learning programmes to improve skills and performance in their own company, and individuals to become better at their jobs.

The answer is deceptively simple, but challenging to implement. The best analogy I ever came across was from the world of basketball, by one of the leading coaches of the last decade, Alan Stein Jr. In 2007, NIKE had brought together the best high school and college basketball players to a camp with Kobe Bryant, arguably the then bestactive NBA player. Alan was on the campus staff at the time, and as he’d heard of Kobe’s insane workouts, he asked if he could come along and watch him train.

Here’s what he said:

As you can see, talent aside, the two stand-out ways to reach the top in a field are:

  1. A work-ethic and drive that keeps you practicing when others have gone home.
  2. A relentless focus on the basic building blocks.

And transformed to the world of recruitment, regardless of which methodology you deploy, who the trainer is and what the facilities are like, improvements are achieved through the same focus on the basic building blocks and work ethic.

So what are the basic building blocks in recruitment that you need to keep working on?

A great recruiter obviously possesses a range of more or less specific skills, some relating to the particular work he or she does, and some more sector specific. But these are, in my book, the foundations on which every great recruiter stand. Or, if you like, Kobe Bryant’s basic drill regime that made him into one of the all-time great basketball players.

Communication
Almost everything a recruiter does in her/his daily work is reliant on communication in some form or another, from phone to email to social media, as well as interpersonal conversations. You need to adapt your style and substance to suit the circumstances, as well as understand the value of listening.

Organisation
In my mind, being organised and have attention to detail are closely aligned. Recruitment is an, at times, incredibly fast-paced environment, and you’ll be expected to keep multiple balls in the air at any one time. To manage your work at a high level of accuracy and quality you need well-honed organisational skills, as well as a systematic approach.

Relationship building
To be a recruiter is, at its essence, the act (or art) of connecting people. Your success as a recruiter will depend on your ability to cultivate and build relationships. In practice, this means being there when needed, never be intrusive, always read the person and situation accurately, always do what you say you’re going to do, and never let anyone down. Do check in to see how they’re getting on in their new job, remember people’s birthdays, and reach out from time to time.

Sales
If you can’t sell you won’t be closing many deals. That’s not to say that the best way is to be an aggressive closer, far from it, some of the best recruiters I’ve worked with have been very unassuming and low-key. After all, sales, particularly sophisticated selling like recruitment, is a learned skill that has more to do with persuasion and reason than anything aggressive.

Negotiation
A central part of recruitment, an awesome recruiter needs to be.. ahem, awesome at negotiating. Negotiating is integral to the whole process, from agreeing on terms with a client or prospective client to bringing a candidate onboard and interested in a role. And then you’ll also act as a mediator between the client and the candidate. And there’s always the negotiation with your own boss 😉

What are you waiting for? Get out there and practice; become the best you can be.


If you’d like to find out about how to improve your recruitment company’s performance through a growth transformation programme I’d be happy to have a no obligations consultation. You can book through my calendar below, or email me directly.

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Author: Ben Brett

As a recruitment company transformation expert, I advise coach and mentor specialist recruitment company owners and leaders.

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