In the hope of sharing and helping all recruiters on the site lets share what makes a great recruiter. Is it an innate ability to identify talent? Is it an ability to locate talent? To identify the proper fit for a particular role? A massive rolodex? Persistence? Relationship building?


What do you think makes a great recruiter?

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3 things for me


  1. The ability to pre-empt all outcomes and prepare for them so you remain "in control" of the recruitment process.
  2. The confidence to recognise that there are Plan Bs on offer (ie the candidate who doesn't tick all the boxes but is a great fit) and the credibility to persuade people to your way of thinking.
  3. Flexibility of communication styles so you can impart your market knowledge effectively to as many people as possible


I bet everyone's are different as there are so many ways of doing this job.



You can perform the process perfectly failing to fill the position due to dynamics beyond your control,  or manage the process poorly yet succeed in filling the position. 


You can only be a great recruiter with results.  Absent results, you're out of business.


Candidates work with you cause you have a superior job.  Companies work with you cause you have superior people.  If you have both style is irrelevant.



1:Finding that "perfect match" At times this not only involves experience and knowing client culture, but also, Intuition.

2:Acting in the best interests of both client and candidate(s) It's not just about getting the deal ~ The result is~Builds long term solid relationships

3: ALWAYS~ Persistence

1. Timely Feedback for your candidates. Even when you have no news from the client, it does not take long to send a quick note or make a quick call.

2. The willingness to pick up the phone and engage candidates.

3. LISTEN, LISTEN and then LISTEN some more. (we were given 2 ears and one mouth for a reason!)

4. Be curious and get to know your candidates. Lose the $ signs in front of your eyes and learn about the person in front of you or on the other end of the phone line.

5. Care about solving the problem for your client and care about the candidates desires for a new career. Make sure that everything aligns.


Have a great day!


Stuart Musson

Career Transition Specialist @ TalentLab Inc.



  1. Perseverance - The ability to keep your momentum going. Making the calls, following up with candidates, learning the orders, etc.
  2. Prioritization - Knowing what are your hot orders and working on those for over 50% of your time. I am fortunate to have a manager that is very very good at ranking our Top 10 orders every day.
  3. Control - Making sure the candidate understands that you are driving the bus. This is not about being harsh with them or bullying them. However, it is being clear about how important your clients are, why they use you and how the recruitment process requires committments and communication between the recruiter and the candidate. Many candidates think the recruiting process is a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" type of process. I work to make sure understand that this is not what our clients want. They want candidates that will actually accept the job and the salary agreed upon. No hoping to strike it rich through hard negotiation with the client. However, if they are a great candidate and want more than the client wants, then I will solidify the number and present to the client up front. No "bait and switch" - that is a disaster for my reputation.
  4. Remembering - Remember your well qualified candidates that weren't quite a right fit for a role. They will be a fit for a role some day. This makes it easy on the sourcing and builds a good reputation.
  5. Commitment - Honor your commitments and do what you say you will do, even if it is late. Candidates want follow-up.

Hope that helps.

Knowledge of the industry in which you work

Integrity in all you do

Honesty with both clients and candidates

A geniune desire to help and an interest in those you connect with

Creativity to find clients, find candidates and to bring the two together

Persistence to keep going, even when it gets tough

Motivation to keep working and  to make that one additional connection

Optimism through all circumstances


You obviously have to be able to sell, to build relationships with clients and find the candidates to fill the roles but what I have found is that if you approach the business with the above items, you ultimately have a great chance at success.


I believe it is still about relationship building. This allows me to have deep conversations at the start to really discover the true needs for the HM and team. 

Being attentive and proactive. So many times an HM has said to me with wonderment "Thanks for getting back to me so quickly!". Really? I guess this had previously been a problem....

Staying up on the latest technology to make my job smarter and faster and better. I have actually had conversations with HMs advising them not to run ads in the paper for highly trained engineers (I had to ask them..."When was the last time you read a newspaper? Your candidates are not reading the want ads in a newspaper, trust me".

Keeping a sense of humor!!!!!!!!!

Work ethic, the willingness to do what others won't, being comfortable with the uncomfortable, ambition, competitiveness, integrity, passion
Having passion for recruiting.

Sorry, first you must define 'Great'.


If by great you mean lots of placements; the attributes are different than if you define greatness by placing candidates that have the potential of not just sticking around for the long-haul, but are genuine game changers.


For me, success is measured more by the success of those I place than by the number of placements made. Finding a marquee candidate whether at the entry-level or ‘C’ level is all about relationships and relationships require integrity.

Hey everyone, a great question and Francois, you must have read my mind. We actually just published a blog post about what makes a great recruiter, tying in a lot of your similar responses (David, Tony, Valentino, Hilary etc.) Feel free to read, comment and share to take the discussion a bit further.


A Response to Staffing Agencies Critics


Enjoy your day

Ashley, thanks for the link, I look forward to reading the article. Cheers.

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