Ten Traits of a Brilliant Recruiter

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In recruitment, as in any industry you will get the good and the bad. Quite often recruiters are tarred with a bad brush. People often remember negative experiences, as opposed to positive ones.

Over the past ten years, I have worked with some brilliant recruiters and some not so good recruiters. So what differentiates us? What are the traits of the best recruiters?

From working with hundreds of recruitment consultants over the years, who combined have more than a thousand years’ experience, I can honestly say that I know a good recruiter when I see one.

There are a few things that these people do differently that make them stand out from the crowd. So, if you want to find out if you’re one of the best recruiters on the market, or if you are working with one of the best, read on to find out…

Ten things only brilliant recruiters do:

They get back to everyone – All too often recruiters dodge calls and emails from candidates that they do not want to speak to. Whether they have bad news for a candidate or they don’t have any news at all, this is one thing that really frustrates job-seekers and can cause them to worry about their applications. A good recruiter never dodges a candidate’s call; they will tell them if there is no news and let them know what measures they are taking to reach the client. If it is bad news, they let them know straight away and do not leave them waiting in anticipation.

They take responsibility for their actions – Good recruiters are completely honest with candidates about all situations. If they have made a mistake with regards to interview location/dates, an error on the job description, etc, they will be honest with you about it. We are all human and all make mistakes; a good recruiter will always hold their hands up and take responsibility.

They give you constructive feedback – Some recruiters shy away from giving negative feedback. They either daren’t give it, they don’t know how to deliver it or they don’t have a strong enough relationship with their candidates to tell them. A good recruiter will always give feedback, delivered in a constructive way. This kind of feedback is the most useful to a job-seeker and can be the difference in them securing the position that they want or not. If, for instance, candidates talk too much or fidget, good consultants will always feed this back, enabling applicants to improve their technique and enhance their chances of landing their next role. Candidates need to know this information!

They coach you through the process – A good recruiter won’t merely talk to you about a role for two minutes, send over your CV and leave you to it. They will ‘walk’ you though the entire interview process and are always aiming to gain your feedback and be aware of your reservations. They will also be able to give you genuine insight as to what to expect from the meetings and help you understand what the interviewers are like, what they like to see/hear and more importantly what they don’t like. From start to finish, good recruiters will coach you and inundate you with useful information that will help you to have the edge over other candidates and give you the best chance of securing your dream role.

They keep you informed – A good recruiter will keep a candidate informed and up to date with any roles that they are working on for them, even if there is no update. They let them know that they are trying to get in touch with their clients and the last time that they spoke with them. If there are any delays in the process, they will make the applicant aware of it and explain why. A good recruiter NEVER keeps someone in the dark.

They challenge you – Although job seekers will have an idea of the market, recruiters are the ones on the ‘front line’ and know exactly what the market has to offer. Some recruiters will agree with a candidate’s demands (be it a £20K increase on their basic salary or hefty guarantees), but this is the wrong thing to do. If a candidate has unrealistic demands, good recruiters will diplomatically tell them so and tell them why! If it’s a £20K salary increase, for example, then they will explain the targets that they would need to bring in and the amount of years experience clients want to justify paying for a salary at that level.

They make things easy for their candidates – Some recruiters will send you a date, an address and leave you to your own devices. Or worse still, send you to the wrong location, or give you the wrong time/date. Everyone makes mistakes and if this happens once, it is definitely not a sign of a bad recruiter; however, if a recruiter does this consistently, then it’s time to worry. Good recruiters make things easy for their candidates. They will send over in-depth job descriptions, detailed interview confirmations, documents to help an applicant prepare for the interview, relevant web links and insights into what makes the client unique.

They care – Good recruiters get to know their candidates and are considerate of their personal situations and working hours. Some recruiters will cancel interviews, make job-seekers take sick days to attend interviews and can even be aggressive towards them. The best recruiters never do this. They will try to work around a candidate’s diary to arrange interviews wherever possible, and they never try to push someone to go for a job that they are not suitable for or that they don’t want to go for.

They say if they can’t help – Lots of recruiters say that they will call a candidate back, even if they can’t help them, and then never do. Good recruiters will tell an applicant if they can’t help them or if they do not fit a client’s criteria for a job. If the candidate is too junior/senior they will also tell them, and explain why. The best recruiters will even recommend other specialist firms or consultants which could better help them!

They form long term relationships – Some recruiters will place a candidate and never speak to them again. Good recruiters keep in regular contact with their candidates.  Brilliant recruiters will place a job-seeker two or even three times and work with them exclusively. For me, this is a true sign of a great recruiter.

Of course, there are other things that could be added to this list, which I have built from a candidate’s prospective as well as a recruiter’s, using feedback from the hundreds of job-seekers that I have worked with over the years and my own experience from working with many recruiters over a long period of time

The recruitment trade is not an easy one and credit should be given where it is due, so I’ll start by naming a few excellent recruiters that I have had the pleasure of working with.

Martin Burnett, Sophie Sever, Richard Gibbard, Ruth Farrar, Paul Stevens, Sarah Khan, Ian Butterworth, Mike Bishop, James Martin, Ben Dixon, John O’Neill, Craig Austin, Carol Maynard, Pascual Ariza-Hoffman.

Sarah Socha

Global Seven News

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