All top recruiters possess an identical set of ‘must-have’ skills. You either have those unique traits, or you must learn them very quickly on the job.

In either case, once you have mastered the qualities necessary to identify and attract top talent you can make your mark as a successful talent acquisition professional.

recruiter qualities

What are those must-have characteristics of a recruiter?

Let’s find out:

10 qualities that distinguish a great recruiter from your average talent hunter:

1. Curiosity

Being curious is all about having a strong desire to know more and keep learning about the developments and changes happening in the particular industry you are hiring for, as well as in the domain of talent acquisition.

To hire the best candidate, you need detailed information about the job - including educational qualifications, any special traits the candidate should possess, how to identify these traits, and where else to look for talented candidates (when unavailable through LinkedIn or other conventional platforms).

For instance, if you are hiring an engineer for an app but aren’t aware of cross-platform functionality in apps, you will not be able to hold even an elementary discussion with candidates to gauge their skillset in this area.

You don’t have to be an expert. But a natural tendency to be inquisitive and the ability to Google search will help you screen candidates well enough to shortlist them for the next round of interviews with the team that has requisitioned the hire.

2. Ability to Discern

Recruiters must have the ability to distinguish between a talented candidate and a ‘bul*%$# artist.’ Your ability to discern between the two will enable you to pick the right candidate.

Many job-seekers exaggerate work experience or incorporate false facts in their resumes or during interviews to paint an inaccurate picture of their qualifications and abilities.

So, how do you tell when a job applicant is lying to you?

This is where curiosity plays an important role. If you are clear about the job description, you can ask penetrating questions which will help you identify inaccurate information.

For instance, if you are hiring a reporter and the candidate claims to have many years of experience yet is unable to corroborate that with any details of news breaks he may have been responsible for, you have a red flag.

3. Tech-Oriented

AI based-recruiting tools likeInterseller that enable you to automate outreach and talent nurturing are changing the game for recruiters.

You can use tools to source a candidate’s email address, reach out to passive candidates at scale, customize your emails and send them at the right time.

Applicant tracking systems likeGreenhouse can be used to automate the tedious and time-consuming tasks of screening applications, responding to applicants and scheduling interviews.

As a recruiter, if you know how to use the correct tools, you can automate the more mundane and tedious parts of your job - like screening applications, and focus on the more important aspects of hiring - like interviewing talented candidates to ensure your quality of hire is high and time to fill is low.

4. People and Networking Skills

A good recruiter knows how to cultivate relationships. This enables her to learn about a candidate beyond what is written on his resume and gives her an insight into what motivates a candidate. She can then use this knowledge to persuade and retain good talent.

A predisposition towards connecting and networking with people also goes a long way in building rapport with potential candidates even before you need to sell them a job. This makes it easier to approach them when you have a position to fill. This is especially vital if you are hiring for senior-level positions.

A prior relationship also gives you more time to study and evaluate candidates for soft skills and cultural fit. Moreover, such candidates are more open to sharing information with you.

5. Good Listener

This is a crucial characteristic. Only when you listen attentively can you gain a deeper understanding of your potential candidates’ needs and motivations which in turn makes you better equipped to help them.

Empathetic listening coupled with the ability to ask searching questions make for a successful recruiter.

For example, just knowing that a flexible work culture motivates your candidate is not sufficient. You should ask the right questions to understand what they mean by “flexible work culture” - is it the ability to work from home or do they want flexible work hours (not restricted by regular 9-5 office hours).

6. Trustworthy

Recruiters need to be honest and trustworthy. Period.

If your potential hire or client does not perceive you as honest, you have lost the battle. Talented candidates will avoid you if they mistrust you or think that you may use unethical means to lure them into signing a bad contract.

Be transparent about the job offer and point out any negatives - like a longer commute or less paid vacation days. This will enable the potential hire to make an informed decision. They will be thankful to you and will maintain good relations even if they decline your offer.

Why is that important?

Remember, you are not just recruiting that one candidate. When you have a relationship based on integrity, you can hope to ask and get good references for future hires as well.

7. Process Driven and Organized

If you aren’t organized, you may find it very difficult to juggle multiple hiring requirements for different departments. Delay in responding to applicants can dissuade potential candidates, and you may miss out on a great hire. Moreover, if your hiring process is not systematic and streamlined, you will waste time on unnecessary tasks.

A good recruiter has the right systems and tools in place (to-do lists,ATS services, candidate sourcing tools) to keep on top of the entire recruiting process.

8. Detail-oriented

Your ability to distinguish a potentially good candidate depends on your quality to look into details. You have to read resumes carefully to be able to spot errors. You also need to be able to ask pointed questions to understand a candidate’s fit.

As a detail-oriented recruiter, you will also be able to personalize your emails to passive candidates better. This adds to improved candidate experience which in turn increases your chances of getting a response from them.

9. Great Sales Skills

At its very core, recruitment is all about selling. You have to sell your company to the best candidate. You also have to sell the candidate to the hiring manager.

Therefore, you need to have great sales skills. A good salesperson is prepared and persuasive, has in-depth product knowledge, is self-motivated, empathetic and a good listener.

10. Supreme Confidence

Last but not the least, you need supreme confidence in yourself and your abilities to pull off the complex task of recruiting.

It can get discouraging if potential candidates don’t respond to your emails and phone calls, are not interested in the job, or take a counter offer. This is where confidence comes in handy. It gives you the conviction to persist, follow up and convince potential candidates to accept your offer.


Recruitment can be challenging and fulfilling at the same time. If you are a confident, curious and persuasive people’s person, this is the role for you.

Happy hiring!