5 Skills Recruiters Need to Master

By Madison White on March 25, 2020

Recruiting requires a multitude of skills and abilities that range from communications to marketing and so much more. With all these things recruiters should know just to be good at their job, there are a few specific things recruiters should master in order to take themselves to the next level.

1. Details of the Job

Recruiters may be tasked with handling a number of different positions, sometimes in multiple companies, at the same time. While even the best recruiters won’t know every single detail about every single job, they should have a high competency about the jobs they are recruiting for. They need to show that they are knowledgeable about the industry and can understand the necessary skills and attributes needed.

Recruiters must know what will be expected of the person and what aspects are most important. Of course, not every job spec can detail everything this person might do, but it should thoroughly cover the things they will likely do. A common question candidates might ask is “what does a normal day look like in this role?” If a recruiter can’t answer this question, then they may have completely lost a great candidate.

Additionally, recruiters should have a solid foundation of the skills necessary for the field they are recruiting in. They should know of software and programs that might be necessary or certain education levels. It would be a good idea to find out what schools are known for their programs in this specific job field.

2. Storytelling

Being a great recruiter means that you need to convince qualified people to join your company. If this person is already happy in their job and making an adequate amount, doing this can be quite difficult. After all, starting a new job is a big hassle. Why should they take the risk?

This is where great storytelling comes in. Your job may or may not have the financial backing to convince this person, but what you might have is a powerful story about the people and company they could be working for. Firstly, you should be able to name what stands out about the company? Do they have a long history of success, and if so, how have they managed to keep it like that for so long? Why would this person want to join in on something like that? On the other hand, maybe this is a relatively new company that likes to push the envelope. You could tell a story about something new and cutting edge that is being developed that they could be a part of.

There are really no limits to the storytelling materials that you can find. Some companies have philanthropic pursuits that can be very attractive to candidates and help in making them feel like they are making a difference in the world. Some companies offer great opportunities to move up and make connections in a large market. The possibilities are endless. So before recruiting, do your research and find out what stands out the most and get ready to tell that company’s story.

3. Social Media Presence and Communication

Like most jobs, the recruiting industry has changed enormously over the past decade. Where it might have been normal to find candidates through phone calls and email, you’re more likely to reach out now via social media. You’re probably already aware that you will need some social media presence in order to do your job as a recruiter, but are you aware of just how important that presence is?

Many recruiters now that it is quite common to post jobs and contact potential candidates via social media. Most often, this happens through LinkedIn which is a social media website specifically made for making professional connections. Your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first thing a candidate looks at when you reach out to them or post about a vacancy. The impression that you make could easily make or break how the rest of the process goes. If you make a bad impression, it could stop the process altogether.

To first understand how the LinkedIn profile works, you have to understand that it operates a lot like other social media platforms. The first thing that a person sees is your profile picture, header image, and headline bio. These three things are key to making someone interested in talking with you. How you decide to utilize these items could go in a lot of different directions, but you want to make sure you put some effort in. Nobody wants to talk to someone with a generic picture and header that says absolutely nothing about them. In fact, they could think that you’re not even a real person!

Instead, tailor your profile to the positions and companies you are recruiting for. If you are deep into the corporate world, you should keep things professional and use enticing headline words that are relevant to the industry. If you’re recruiting for a more creative company, try doing something a bit more fun and offbeat. Something that also seems to work well is showing a bit of information about yourself in your bio to help people get to know you. This could be anything from a hobby you enjoy to your favorite animal.

Once you have the profile perfected, you also need to make sure that you’re communicating effectively. Using LinkedIn often means that you’ll be sending out feeler messages to other candidates. Your messages should offer enough information about the job to get them interested and share the highlights of the role. If possible, you might also want to state why this person appears to be a good match for the position. As always with professional correspondence, your message should be free of spelling and grammatical errors and exercise professional language. Make sure that you read it over a few times to ensure that it is perfect.

4. Hosting Interviews

All people seeking jobs, or who’ve had jobs in the past, know how crucial the interview portion is. While a great resume may get you in the door, it is ultimately nailing the interview that gets you the position. Despite most people focusing on how to prepare for job interviews and give the right answers, there is also an art to asking the right questions. Recruiters must be equally prepared to host a variety of interviews to sway candidates and make them feel like they could envision themselves in the role.

Firstly, there are a variety of interview types that a recruiter may have to prepare for. It is very common for recruiters to host quite a few phone interviews with potential candidates to get a feel for where they are. This gives both the interviewee and recruiter a chance to see if they are on the same page. Sometimes people will have a great resume, but it hasn’t been updated in a while. Sometimes people are looking to switch into a different field. Sometimes people are unhappy with their current company and are looking for a change. The phone interview allows recruiters to understand these situations a little bit better and help the interviewee feel more at ease about them.

The purpose of a phone interview is usually informational. A good recruiter should give all the relevant details of the role, especially if they were not listed in the posting. It is a chance to reiterate what the job will require and expect of the position. This is especially helpful when candidates are applying for multiple jobs because it can easily get confusing. Recruiters should also ask some basic questions about the interviewee and how they see themselves fitting into the role. These can be fairly open-ended and are not intended to scare away the candidate. Now is not the time for a thorough grilling. As always, make sure that you give time to the interviewee to ask questions about the role. Make sure to tell them what steps to expect in the future about when you’ll be in touch.

Because recruiters can play a variety of roles in the hiring process, they may be the ones hosting in-person interviews or they might pass off that responsibility to other managers. If a recruiter is responsible for an in-person interview, they should be thoroughly prepared with a list of key questions and knowledge of the interviewee’s background.  Now is the time to get to know them and let them show you why they’d be a great fit for this role. Many interviewers like to ask specific scenario questions to see how a candidate would think through and react to tough situations. It also lets you both get a feel for each other’s personalities and the culture of the company.

Something else that is becoming more and more popular is the performance interview where the interviewee must perform some aspects of the job at hand. This could simply be going through some role plays or taking quizzes and tests to see their aptitude for certain subjects. It can also give interviewers a chance to see how they interact with customers and other potential co-workers. Are they friendly or shy? Do they ask questions and ask for help? How do they respond when presented with new or uncomfortable situations? All of these aspects are crucial to the process and finding the right person for the job.

Above all else, nailing the interview process doesn’t mean changing your personality or trying overly hard to impress candidates. Be honest about what this role offers and the opportunities it could present in the future. Don’t forget about your storytelling and why this company is special. Make sure that you are always polite and helpful in any way that you can be.

5. Negotiating Salaries

For most people, and even the best recruiters, negotiating is an uncomfortable and difficult task to take on. In some cases, when someone is actively looking for a job or out of work, negotiating can be fairly simple. If someone is interested in the role, they will likely take what the baseline salary is and be fairly happy with that. On the other hand, if you are pursuing someone who is already in a role and isn’t set on leaving yet, negotiations can be very tricky. You may feel a bit like a juggler trying to balance a multitude of things from the candidate’s expectations to the company’s budget. This can be a difficult process. You may be tempted to initially offer them a lower salary with the expectation that they will negotiate for higher pay. The risk of this is that they could feel that the initial offer is too low and that you do not value their skills. On the other hand, offering a relatively high baseline salary means you may not have the wiggle room to raise it if they try and negotiate even higher. So what can you do?

First, you should read the situation. Is this someone that is actively looking for a job or do they need to be convinced to leave their current role? Is their skillset just barely meeting requirements or do they have many attributes that go above the job description? How much is really in your company’s budget that you could offer this person? All of these will help you determine what your strategy would be.

If you are stuck in a position of not being able to offer more money, but really wanting to hire someone, be sure to discuss the opportunity of the role. If there is a clear path for upward advancement, be sure to mention that. If they company is known for its raises every year, mention that. If there is a really outstanding culture and managerial staff that invests in its workers, mention that too. Utilize your storytelling and knowledge to the best of your abilities.


Because the demands of recruiting are constantly changing, recruiters need to be able to stay on top of their game. This might be brushing up on their knowledge of the field or revamping their social media profile. Whatever it is, the effort you put in now will likely lead to more recruiting success in the future.

By Madison White

Uloop Writer
Wichita State University
Madison graduated with her Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester (UK), and holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She currently teaches English at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer and blogger on her website Madison White Writes and elsewhere.

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