The Top 7 Recruiting Skills Recruiters Need, Today!

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What are the top recruiting skills recruiters need today? This one is easy, cold calling, paper-based candidate card systems, your leather (or pleather) folio to take on client meetings and a suit and power tie.

Wait, that’s only 6?

Ok, so 14 years ago that was all I needed to be a successful consultant. We even had a fax machine to send our terms and conditions to clients! I remember cold calling 40 clients and candidates in the morning, and 40 clients and candidates in the afternoon to get started on my brand new ‘cold’ desk at my first job in recruitment.

As tough as that may sound, it certainly taught me some very valuable recruiter skills. But is that where the recruitment industry is today?

I’m not so sure that’s agency recruitment of the future, in fact, I’m pretty certain it’s not. Yes, there is a place for sales calls, and cold calls – probably not for paper-based candidate and client systems and I’m certainly sure there is not a place for a fax machine to send your terms and conditions.

So, what does recruitment 2.0 look like (I tried to coin that phrase on a call recently but was told I was very late to the party). Thanks Matt Charney!

So, what do I believe are the top 7 recruiting skills recruiters of today and the future need to become successful and sustain success?

1 – Permission based recruiting

GDPR is a positive step in protecting the privacy of your customers. Not only does this allow you to engage only with those that want to hear from you, but naturally saves you the time trying to engage with those that don’t.

This will become a mind-set change, find innovative ways to appeal to customers and provide them with enough value that they want to hear from you. This will streamline your business in the long-term and provide far more meaningful interactions between you and your candidates and clients.

2 – Personal brand building (don’t rely on the big brands anymore)

Large, successful and well-known recruitment agencies can be absolute machines at driving leads into their businesses and consultants.

However, I believe a way to stand out, become successful in your own right and avoid long-term burn-out will be to work on building your own personal brand rather than relying on the reputation of your employer.

A brand cannot be built overnight (in 99% of cases) but once built, it becomes a powerful legacy to ensure continuous and continually improving success, as long as you continue to nurture it.

3 – Digital marketing

No brainer, right? But guess what. Digital marketing is a hard skill both to learn but also continually implement – it’s a combination of creative and data driven skillsets and we are not all built with both!

I highly recommend taking advantage of any of the free beginners guides you can find out there, in person and online – just to give you a basic level of understanding of what it’s like to be a digital marketer and how you can apply this to your day-to-day recruitment activities to scale your efforts. Digital marketing expertise, provides you the opportunity to reach far more prospective clients and candidates than 80 cold calls a day will.

Skills needed in recruitment today

4 – Candidate and Client funnels

This is a bit of an iteration on digital marketing, and still fairly industry centric. A funnel, is a pre-planned and well executed system leveraging a variety of strategies and tools to ‘funnel’ highly qualified leads, in your case candidates and clients, directly to you. A funnel is simply not just a post on LinkedIn, or a PPC campaign on Facebook but a combination to capture, qualify and channel through each stage, until they are ready to act.

A well-executed funnel brings millions of dollars to marketers in many industries, it’s not that well applied to recruitment yet, but will be.

5 – Social Media

A tweet here or there, is not a social media plan. A social media plan is a robust, diligently followed way to engage and build your audience.

It’s simple maths, if you build a following of 40,000 industry specific followers on a social channel – messaging that channel with a candidate or opportunity, has the potential for a massive impact. Far more, than 20 calls.

This is a great article by Neil Patel: What is Social Media Marketing. 

6 – Unique, relevant content

This is really, really important to building your brand, influence and reputation. It’s proven that B2B buyers of services are far more likely to engage with a professional (like you) who provide new insights and content about their respective industry. This is a very effective way of displaying to your audience that you understand the industry, you are passionate about it and if you end up talking (to any of your customers) that it will be a meaningful exchange, relevant to what they need help with.

I recommend setting a content calendar up, or at least a very basic content schedule where you publish your own unique insights, rather than purely copying and sharing other people’s unique content. That does play an important role, as it’s still important you are aware of what’s going on and help your audience find relevant content but the most powerful, by far is your own voice and take on things.

Different channels require different volumes and types of content, research the best for you.

At we provide a simple solution to help you publish and automate the sharing of your unique content across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – 3 powerful channels in the recruitment world.

7 – Relationship building

This is a bit old-school isn’t it? First, it’s important to state that the ability to build long lasting relationships one-on-one is the most powerful skill you can have as a recruiter, and it is the one skill you should be passionate about, being in recruitment. That person-to-person relationship.

The benefit of the digital world, building your brand, creating unique content and leveraging social media to reach more people in less time, is that you can leverage your expert person-to-person relationship building skills by being genuine with your audience. You can build relationships, influence and a following by adding value to the lives of the people who follow you, be genuine with them, show vulnerability, show you are a human and become relatable. Unfortunately, recruitment, especially recruitment agencies gets a bad rap sometimes and this is one easy way, to overcome that.

While this is certainly not a step-by-step guide on how to master these respective top recruiting skills, and I may write one on each of them – it does hopefully shed some light on some of the (not all) key skills that are going to play an important role, moving forward.

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