What Are Recruiter Skills? (Plus How To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 May 2022

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.

Recruiters and hiring managers require specific skills and abilities to succeed in their profession. Recruiters interview candidates and use both hard and soft skills to evaluate their competency and qualifications. If you want to become a recruiter, it can be important to know about these essential skills that can help you succeed in the recruitment industry. In this article, we define some critical recruiter skills and discuss how you can improve them.

Essential recruiter skills

Becoming a successful hiring manager requires using many different types of recruiter skills. In this role, a unique combination of technical and non-technical soft skills is necessary to fulfil your recruiting responsibilities. In addition to having some fundamental technical knowledge about the role you are hiring for, here are the most prominent skills you may use as a recruiter:

Communication

Recruiters require strong communication skills to interact with candidates, collaborate with team members and managers, write emails and create job descriptions. Having strong written and verbal communication skills can help a hiring manager conduct in-person and phone interviews. These skills also enable them to ask the right questions from candidates, manage group discussions and assess non-verbal communication, like body language. Communication skills are also essential for giving feedback, writing reports and coordinating the hiring and onboarding process with HR professionals and team managers.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

Active listening

An integral part of communication, active listening skills are vital for recruiters to conduct interviews, evaluate candidate responses and engage them in meaningful conversations. Active listening is more than simply paying attention to what the speaker is saying but comprehending and decoding the intent of the message. You can learn how to get more information and clarity from the speaker by asking open-ended questions, reiterating and summarising discussions and requesting clarifications. Active listening can also make you more emphatic and improve your interpersonal relationships in your professional life and beyond.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition And Examples

Confidence

Being confident, assertive and sure of yourself is essential for recruiters to present themselves as knowledgeable authority figures. It is important to note that for many candidates, the recruiter is the first introduction to a company and its culture, which makes it critical to make a positive first impression. Accurately answering the questions that candidates ask, being honest about the role and company expectations and having clarity in your communication are some ways to demonstrate confidence during interviews and meetings.

Patience

The ability to be patient by allowing processes, people and systems to take their own time without rushing them is essential for hiring managers. As recruiters deal with many people, organisations or systems outside their control, being patient while arranging interviews, accommodating changes and expecting replies becomes critical. Since the hiring process has many variables, like the availability of the candidate and the interviewer, navigating each step can take longer than anticipated. To manage conflicting schedules, unanswered emails and last-minute changes, recruiters require patience and the ability to work calmly despite obstructions.

Time management

A recruiter has several responsibilities and tasks to accomplish in a typical workday. These may include, but are not limited to, attending meetings with team managers, creating job descriptions and promoting open positions across different channels. They are also responsible for shortlisting resumes, scheduling interviews, updating records and databases, processing documentation, conducting interviews and sending job offers to qualified candidates. It can be challenging to finish all these tasks, considering that hiring is usually a time-sensitive process. So, it becomes important for recruiters to have strong time management and organisation skills for maximum efficiency and productivity.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

Marketing and promotion

A significant responsibility of a recruiter is to attract talented and qualified candidates to apply for open job positions. For this, they usually create a detailed job description highlighting the key responsibilities, expectations and qualifications of the role. Marketing and promoting this job description and employment opportunity in relevant networks and channels so that qualified candidates can apply is also an important part of the hiring process. Like any marketer, it is essential for a recruiter to understand what their audience, candidates, in this case, expect, what they are promoting and how to promote it in the most effective manner.

Technology

Most organisations conduct their hiring and recruitment using specialised digital tools and systems. Having basic computer competency to operate common applications and software, alongside knowing how to conduct online research, marketing and promotion, are essential for recruiters. Knowledge of concepts like search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing and user engagement can also be beneficial. Familiarity with common human resource tools and platforms can be an added advantage that can help recruiters in career development.

Related: Basic Computer Skills: Definition And Examples

Analytical and critical thinking skills

Analytical skills are essential to process information and data, identify relevant information and make objective decisions. These skills are important for recruiters as they assess the skills and qualifications of different candidates and determine if they align with the company requirements. Critical thinking helps a hiring manager identify biases, remove subjectivity and take decisions based on accurate information. These skills also help recruiters understand candidate expectations, identify their motivation and engage them more effectively. Strong analytical and critical thinking skills enable recruiters to make informed hiring decisions, which reduces the chances of hiring the wrong candidate.

Negotiation and persuasion

All recruiters and hiring managers interact with candidates to negotiate salaries and convince them of the benefits of working at the organisation. This requires being attentive, diplomatic and strategic in your conversation. Negotiation and persuasion are critical recruitment skills as they enable recruiters to hire the right candidate successfully. Being in control of your thoughts and emotions, communicating clearly and displaying confidence during the negotiation process can improve the chances of the candidate accepting your offer.

Relationship building and networking

Maintaining a positive relationship with candidates, employees and managers is vital for recruiters and hiring managers. This can help them improve communication, efficiency and collaboration in the hiring process. It also supports them in managing the expectations of both parties involved in the process, namely, a candidate looking for a job at a higher salary and an employer who wants to hire the most cost-effective candidate. Strong networking and relationship-building skills can also help recruiters attract top talent from competitors and other organisations.

How to improve recruitment skills

If you want to become a recruiter or are looking to improve your skills, begin by assessing your current skills and abilities. With this baseline, measure your progress and focus on skills that require maximum improvement. Here are some ways in which you can enhance your recruiter skills:

1. Use SMART goals

Use the SMART problem-solving approach in your workplace and daily routine. SMART stands for a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based approach that you can use to resolve challenges and issues. This can also help you identify the areas and skills where you are currently lacking and require more effort. Applying the SMART framework can improve your efficiency and also help reduce stress.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition And Examples

2. Conduct mock interviews

You can ask your family members and friends to help you improve your interviewing skills by posing as candidates. This can help you improve your communication skills and become more comfortable in holding engaging conversations. This exercise can also help you ideate relevant questions and use them in real interviews.

3. Complete a short-term certification

Many learning platforms and trainers offer specialised personality development courses to improve communication, leadership and confidence. Completing these courses can also help you enhance your networking skills and problem-solving abilities. Such courses usually last for a few weeks or months, and you can pursue them along with your full-time job. You can also consult a career coach or expert for personalised training and feedback if required.

4. Attend industry events

Recruitment companies and HR platforms frequently organise industry events that bring together recruiters, hiring managers and candidates. Attend such events, seminars and conferences to interact with like-minded recruiters, understand how they solve recruitment challenges and exchange feedback. You can also find a mentor to guide you through these platforms and events.

5. Foster these skills in your personal life

Start making minor changes to your daily routine, like waking up early, speaking consciously, listening to others actively, managing your time efficiently and being patient. With time, you may discover that these behaviours and skills also transfer to your professional life. As you include them in your routine, you start using these skills subconsciously without making any additional effort.

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