Over the past two years, I’ve worked with tons of recruiters and have interviewed more than a hundred to better learn about their processes and how they approach their practice. Throughout this time, I noticed a few similarities between the top recruiters who consistently make placements, have the lowest ghosting rates, and have the best relationships with clients and candidates.
Interested in how they achieved such great success? I've come up with a short list of the similarities I found across the board for these all-stars.
Know the Basics (Boolean Search strategies, the best platforms, etc.)
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” — Pablo Picasso.
This Picasso quote pretty much sums up how every successful recruiter I know got to where they are at now. It’s pretty fun to hear stories about that Executive Recruiter that brings home $465k annually, but what usually isn’t talked about is how it took her 10 years to get there. This particular recruiter I met was strategic throughout the whole process, and cornered her small portion of the market, so now everyone in her industry recognizes that she is the top recruiter around, which is clear because on average she gets about 90% of the business. Still, even she started out as a beginner, and was a student of the game.
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them as an artist” — Pablo Picasso
This recruiter learned how to useBoolean Searchto find interesting candidates on Google and Facebook, and she knows thestrength and weakness of each platform(Indeed for high volume, CareerBuilder for junior positions, LinkedIn for 50k+ and skilled labor, Facebook for older/more traditional roles, ZipRecruiter for all over… ). Over time, she really started to focus on LinkedIn, built up a network and following, and kept pounding the platform to generate leads. Eventually, this led her to the successful recruiter she is today.
Even still, she started out by learning the basics.
Let your Hiring Manager sell for you
One of the best indicators of a top recruiter is their ability to "sell" the role to candidates.
During your initial client intake process, ask them the questions any candidate would typically have, including questions about the company's culture. Really listen to what they say, and use their responses to create snippets so that you can show prospective candidates exactly why this position would be best for them. Bonus points if you canrecord video of your client's answers.
Once you're on a phone screen with your candidate, ask questions to learn what your they wants out of their new position and focus on giving them the snippets that would be most valuable to them. If you were able to get that video recording, you can send it over to candidates who make it through the phone screen phase, which will get your candidates more excited about the process (and shortens your time to fill).
Double your enthusiasm
“Double your enthusiasm, and you will probably double your income and double your happiness. “ Frank Bettger
This one is almost a given, but often overlooked. The best recruiters are also always the best people to chat with because they are so enthusiastic! They love their job, they love meeting new people, and they love helping people get into the right positions. Commonly, they gain energy from the people they talk to every day, and their energy is infectious; it spreads to every new person they meet, and in every client meeting. They are the type of people you want on your side during stressful times.
This should be you, at the start of every phone call!
Prompt (Not Just Timely) Followups
“Strike while the iron is hot” — Josh Morgan, Keystone Insurance.
Recruiters are often stuck between a rock and a hard place. You have a short timeline to make your clients happy (up to 25 clients at once in some cases) while also juggling all of their candidates - and somewhere in there you are tasked with also finding time to source more candidates! It’s a tough gig to be sure. Even still, if it takes two days to respond to candidates, it’s game over… and not in a good way.
The best sales are closed in one phone call, and the most successful recruiters stay on top of all of their commitments and appointments. They use toolsto keep track of everything and diligently record every single call they make. They suffocate excuses, work with their clients, and follow up within minutes (ideally seconds) with as many candidates as possible. In today’s recruitment market, the early bird gets the worm!
“Strike while the iron is hot” — Joshua Morgan
Always look for ways to automate
Even though filtering a resume takes about two-seconds, why not use a tool to collect the right resumes and send a batch email and/or automate followups. In fact, if you can automate the process from the first screening interview, even better!
Top recruiters aren’t worried about tech automating themselves out of a job. They get excited when they see a new tool, and aren’t scared to spend 20 minutes looking at a demo. It’s common to think “I don’t have time for that”, but if one of these demos turn out to be a genuinely helpful tool, it’ll pay you back 10x in time saved and efficiency!
Overall, the best recruiters know where to spend their time, and how to empower themselves with the right tools.
Robots are your best friend!
Be willing to experiment
Much like always looking for ways to automate their processes, top recruiters are always willing to experiment - with everything. Wording on the job posting, timing of their calls, using AI to send textsinstead of just calling. They are constantly tweaking different parts of the process and measuring results. It’s tough at first, but once you start measuring your changes it becomes trivial to see exactly what changes create the most impact to you.
Experimenting will blast you off to success. Dramatic? Maybe a bit.
How many of these traits describe you?
It’s important to remember that the best recruiters weren’t created overnight - or even over a year. Surround yourself with great mentors that also happen to be awesome recruiters, and their attitudes/skills will start to rub off on to you. Recruiting is an amazing industry in many ways, but it’s important to partner with people who will help you reach your goals and achieve success.