In today’s candidate-driven market, organisations increasingly recognise the need of a skilled recruiter to find the right person for the job. What are the key ingredients of a top performing recruiter?

To do their job well, a recruiter must be a jack/jill of all trades. This is not to imply recruiters don’t have specialist knowledge and expertise (they do), but that they must be agile, with a broad skillset. Recruiters must be able to wear many hats, weaving effortlessly from a commercial to a creative mindset, from scientist to artist. A successful recruiter excels at communicating, knows how to find and connect the right people, and can close deals in a timely manner so that all parties are satisfied.

Versatility is key. A top performing recruiter plays the role of matchmaker, salesperson, data scientist, psychologist, translator, juggler, detective, sportsperson, and judge – all in a day’s work.

Key skills of a recruiter high performer success


A skilled recruiter never flies blind. Like a good Sherlock Holmes, they explore candidate pools, research employment trends and stay informed about the competition. They seek out all the clues needed to match the right candidate to the right role. When posting job advertisements, they steer clear of a ‘post and pray’ attitude, instead conducting thorough research beforehand to ensure they attract the right candidates for each role.


A successful recruiter must apply the talents of a psychologist: excellent listening skills, the ability to quickly build rapport, and a strong understanding of what both clients and candidates want. They must be able to encourage positive emotions, inspiring action and achieving a ‘yes’ on both sides. Most importantly, a stellar recruiter is empathetic, truly caring about their clients’ needs and making the effort to honour each candidate as an individual, not just a ‘profile’.

Data scientist

Like a data scientist, a recruiter knows that you must measure it to properly manage it. Recruiters lean on data to make informed decisions, track progress and report key findings. In doing so, they garner trust and legitimacy.


The stressful, earnest attempts to make a good impression during a job interview could be said to mirror that of a first date scenario – minus the alcohol! Just as those looking for love may benefit from a matchmaker, those looking for their dream job may benefit from a talented recruiter – someone to walk them through an often-challenging process. A good recruiter has finely-honed instincts for mutual connection, adept at sifting through networks to find skillsets and personalities that are the perfect match for particular team and company cultures.


A high performing recruiter loves the thrill of a chase – hunting and gathering the right people for the job. They understand how to build a pipeline, nurture leads and close a deal. They have mastered the art of a pitch, successfully selling the dream of working for a particular company in a given role, while taking objections – and rejections – in their stride. They are bold and tenacious, motivated to ‘win’ for both sides.


The world of recruitment moves fast. A talented recruiter is a proficient multi-tasker, able to juggle many balls (or candidates) in the air at once. They must have an excellent memory, keeping track of which candidates from their extensive database to chase, and which to recycle into new roles as the need arises.


If you listen to a skilled recruiter, you will notice how they moderate their language, tone and even diction to suit the needs of a candidate or client. They bridge the gap between two entities and must be able to translate the needs of one side for the other.  A recruiter working with people from all walks of life and across different industries and companies must be flexible with their communication, to ensure nothing gets lost in translation.


It is not uncommon for top performing recruiters to have been involved in competitive sports or to be highly driven in other areas of their lives beyond recruiting. Like a skilled sportsperson, a recruiter has a competitive streak but is also a team player. Recruitment demands a high level of stamina and tenacity, attracting those who are target driven and motivated by continuous improvement. Just like competitive sports, recruitment can feel like a rollercoaster of highs and lows, requiring a degree of mental fortitude and energy to continue chasing goals.


A judge holds honesty, transparency and fairness in high regard. Likewise, a top recruiter provides truthful feedback to clients and candidates and keeps all parties informed throughout the process. Resisting the temptation to simply make a fast placement, a high performing recruiter won’t shy away from asking the hard questions and then sharing an accurate picture (even if it’s not always flattering). Top recruiters are seekers of truth, able to differentiate between genuine skills, accomplishments, and conditions – and those which may be embellishments.



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