The top 5 qualities of a decent recruiter

By Mic Wright on June 8th, 2012

So what makes a good recruiter? One of The Kernel’s sources for this report, a recruiter himself, has suggested five characteristics that mark out the good guys.


“Someone who actively seeks to learn and develop constantly: this is rare and a good sign. This is a changing industry and old methodologies are falling by the way-side. Without flexibility, you will fall onto the scrapheap with every other failed recruiter out there.

“One thing lacking is the attention to care of brand representation which is so paramount for a start-up. How a recruiter first understands and secondly sells an opportunity, and how that opportunity is changing, is a direct representation of both employer and overall brand.”


“You need to be able to walk away from a piece of business or yank a candidate who has proven unreliable. In a profit-driven industry, where most businesses are managed by draconian KPIs around numbers, numbers, numbers, it takes a brave recruiter to make a call and say: ‘I would not progress with the guy I just sent you.’”


“Never lead with a ‘tell and sell’ approach. Add this to the bad points: a recruiter who calls up and asks for vacancies to work on. A recruiter who leads with a blank page and asks open questions about the client, their business and strategy will often walk away with more credibility and business than someone who thinks: ‘I do C# Developers and I need to find out about this alone’. That said, always specialise in one technology or market. Think about how the company can benefit, not just the individual.”


“Too often, when a client is not hiring, the recruiter is not in touch. I work with a lady who has 19 years with the same company and has managed one major account since winning it in 1994. The client (where I did one of my onsite stints in 2010) speaks so highly of this individual that when they went to tender in 2011 to revamp their PSL, they engaged her to help write the RFP. This is because she has been with them through thick and thin – 3 recessions and rounds of redundancies where outplacement services were offered to candidates leaving. This is true customer service and is the reason behind why she continues to get a friendly heads up a week before vacancies are released to others.”


“I am likely to be leaving this industry soon – 12 years is enough and it is a shrinking market with less share and declining margins for agencies. Expect the desperation tactics to increase in the near future as the scraps get smaller!”