What Traits Do You Need To Work In Recruitment?

recruitment traits

We're lucky enough to work in close proximity with a variety of recruitment businesses, whether they’re clients, event partners or in some cases, friends. Recruiters are hiring connoisseurs. Talent acquisition artistes. Their working lives revolve around the recruitment concept (obviously). The most credible recruitment professionals are trusted by organisations with huge hiring decisions and valued on their consultancy and value-added proposition. The very finest are acutely knowledgeable when it comes to their sectors, so much so, that you might mistake them for the very professionals they work hard to hire. So what about recruiters hiring recruiters?

We caught up with Trevor Pinder, to pick his brains about what he thinks it takes to be a recruiter today. Having worked in senior agency roles for a number of years now, Trevor is highly experienced in growing recruitment teams so we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions. What initiates a successful rec-to-rec hire and what traits do recruiters look for when hiring other recruiters?



Persistence is vital and the will to persevere in challenging circumstances is a rare trait to possess. This is an important requirement in recruitment, albeit a slightly obvious one, but one thing that I found particularly interesting was the way that Trevor probes for this during an interview and it involves far more from a candidate perspective than simply citing tenacious in your carefully curated answers.

“I look for examples of where someone has stuck at something whether that’s a sport, a level of study or any kind of competition. Evidence of triumph over adversity tells me everything I need to know regarding whether this trait is present within a candidate”


Communication skills

How can you be a recruiter without any communication skills? You can’t! Communication should be number one on your list of personal skills if you’re looking to prosper in the recruitment industry and actually, it would be worrying if you were considering this career path without it. Now, you can argue that everyone has communication skills to a degree, but how do recruiters find what they are really looking for during the interview process?

“I ask candidates to tell me a story. A short and snappy question, I give nothing else away. I just sit back, watch and observe how they deal with that question. A candidate should be able to articulate well, think on their feet and their delivery should be engaging. What I’m really looking for here is expression and memorability. The story, whatever the subject, is incidental”



“This is something that we search for in candidates more than we ever have before. Genuine intelligence can be extremely valuable in recruitment, just as it is in other industry sectors and it completely obliterates the misleading notion that “anyone can be a recruiter”. We are looking for serious talent. Genuine intellect. I’m talking specifically about people who have the ability to innovate, offer new ideas and really help us to push our business forward”


Digital Natives

The business world is now completely dominated by social media and recruitment especially has an overwhelming presence in the digital arena. The need for digital natives is crucial for any business, but even more so in an industry that is all about networking and connecting.

“Searching for digital natives is a recent thing for me and it’s never been as important as it is right now. Recruitment and marketing used to be two totally incongruous concepts. The gap between them is now virtually non-existent and we need people who can adapt across multiple platforms and use them like second nature”



The last thing you need in recruitment is an over-sensitive consultant who can’t fathom rejection. Again, this doesn’t come easily to most, but it’s the candidates who have it that truly see success in their recruitment roles.

“When I’m searching for stamina in a candidate I tend to speed up my questioning, become more assertive and get more aggressive with my probing. The idea is to really lay the pressure on thick to see how they cope with what may be perceived as a particularly stressful situation. Anyone can claim to carry stamina but the reality can be a different story altogether. The truth is, you’re going to experience rejection in recruitment and it’s not necessarily going to be a breeze, but the trick is knowing how to deal with it in a calm and measured way”


Your Passion For Sport Could Set You Up

Initially this article was going to be 5 points, but there were a few more fascinating observations I drew from my conversation with Trevor, some of which will produce their own articles.

One comment that really caught my attention was Trevor’s mention of the link between sports and sales, something I’d never considered but upon further deliberation, made total sense. Trevor explained that sportspeople possessed many of the same traits that were not unlike those you require to thrive and survive in the sales environment. The will to win, a competitive streak and the commitment someone makes to playing sport regularly all correlate positively with the skills you need for a sales role. Looking around both of our sales floors we have swimmers, footballers, netballers, cricketers, you name it we’ve probably got it!


 If you enjoyed this article there's a lot more where that came from so make sure you check out our recruiter advice section. We love a recruitment chat so make sure you follow us on Twitter to join the conversation! If you really like us and think, 'hmm, I'd like to work with them,' contact our Craig Taylor. He's a great guy. 

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