5 Essential Skills for the Modern Recruiter

A man using his I-phone and Mac computer at work
The world of work is changing for recruiters with the world becoming a much smaller place to source talent in however; some skills will never go out of fashion when it comes to successful placement.

If there's one thing that you can be certain of, it’s uncertainty. Recruitment changes and it changes fast, particularly in terms of technology. Just look back through the tech time line of staple recruitment tools. You’ll find the Rolodex, the fax machine, e-mail, social media and then on to whatever the next big thing is… (Our money is on split fee recruitment platforms and agency/employer collaboration)

However the skills that are required in recruitment are constant so this week we’re going to examine what we believe to be the top five essential skills.

 If you are reading this and you are looking to start a career as a recruitment consultant or you have a lots of experience and are just curious improving these skills will make you a success. 

1. Technical Competence:

Over the last 10 years recruitment technology and associated competencies has radically changed from being able to send the odd email and heightened formatting skills in the Microsoft Office suite to a whole range of lead detection tasks mostly centered around the countless search programs and networks that are available to the world full to the brim with potentially lucrative skilled people. Applying radio button filters in your ATS and whatever database your company has paid for just doesn’t cut it anymore. To survive you need to know Boolean searching inside out be well versed in social media and willing to try out new tech tools as they emerge.  Recruiters can enjoy first mover advantage by simply being early adopters of new technology, hanging on to what’s useful and retiring what isn’t.

Check out these resources if you want to learn more about Boolean searching in Google, Bing and LinkedIn.

2. Time management:

Since the very beginning of the industry all recruiters are judged on how well they manage their time. It’s essential and it should be the first thing you learn on day one in recruitment, unfortunately in many cases it isn’t. Time has a way of running away on you and if you have to get a number of CVs out by the end of your 8 hours you need to make sure that you have a clear plan on how you are going to spend each day and what resources you are going to explore.

Check out this life hack article for more info on improving time management skills

3. Negotiation Skills

The most talented recruiters and indeed most talented people I know have truly perfected the art of negotiation. As a recruiter or someone responsible for hiring you need to have this skill and what’s more, you need to use it every single day. With your clients, with you candidates, with the people you work with. Never settle, drive a hard bargain, don’t show your cards and recognize when someone is trying to negotiate with you. You won’t always win but the harder you work at developing this skill the luckier you will become… funny that.

4. Critical Thinking Skills

This is where matching keywords and understanding job requirements differ. Your ability to gather information from various sources filter out the irrelevant information for clients and offer valuable guidance to your candidates throughout the hiring process will set you apart from the spray and stick style recruiters that are all to commonplace.

5. Able to Build & Maintain Relationships:

Above all else, recruitment consultants need to be able to build relationships with clients, candidates (both good and bad) and anyone you work with. Having 10000+ connections who vaguely know you or seen you posting an inspirational quote or a Charlie Brown cartoon a few months back has the advantage of giving you access to thousands or even millions of people. I would it be better to have 100 people who you can turn to help you get ahead or make that all important placement or 10000 people who don’t know you and more than likely don’t know your profile?  For Intalex, this is the foremost skill to have based on the simple idea that a problem shared is a problem halved.

If you are a user you may find that after some time on the platform that you have a high success rate with others on the platform so it would make sense to keep up that relationship and work together for mutually beneficial gains using Intalex.


This is by no means an exhaustive list and while you may never master these skills we can guarantee a successful career in recruitment if you make a conscious effort to improve them. We know there are a few more essential skills and at risk of profiling recruiters we’re open to hearing what you think are the essential skills for recruitment. Talk to us in the comments.


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