10 qualities of a great recruiter — plus an essential 11th

Anthony Haynes writes: In a post on Social-Hire.com (13 January), Ta’Rikah Jones outlines ten qualities of effective recruiters. In summary, the list runs as follows:

  1. confidence
  2. market skills
  3. target-driven
  4. relationship-building skills
  5. communication skills
  6. multitasking
  7. time management skills
  8. speed
  9. IT and social skills
  10. leadership skills

The full post is available here: http://www.social-hire.com/social-recruiting-advice/4040/10-qualities-of-a-great-recruiter.

It’s a helpful list. I doubt that anyone would argue that any of these ten qualities wouldn’t be helpful. But isn’t there something missing?

The above list seems somehow to miss the specificity of recruitment work. Many of the qualities are very general and so would be equally useful in any kind of professional or managerial work.

Our suggestion for an eleventh item to add to the list would be empathy. This is a useful quality for anyone working in recruitment, whether for a recruitment consultancy or an in-house HR team. More specifically, the ideal quality is two-way empathy, by which we mean an ability to understand:

1. how things look through the eyes of the candidates;

2. how the candidates (would) look through the eyes of the host organisation or department.

Ultimately, this requires an act of imagination: trying to see the candidate in the role and then explore that imaginative projection from 360 degrees.

Of course, empathy is also a general quality — one that would be valuable in many jobs. But it seems somehow to go to the essence of recruitment — more so than, say, qualities such as multitasking or leadership (valuable though those qualities are).

A great recruiter without much in the way of, say, leadership skills is surely imaginable. One without empathy? Surely not.

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