What Makes a Great Recruiter?

Great Recruiter

Occasionally, the difference between good and great can be small. But often times, “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great,” begins Jim Collins’ best selling book, “Good to Great.”

The fact of good versus great and bad versus average are somewhat subjective in determining an individual’s success, accomplishments and traits. Once you have defined those metrics of success, it becomes clear how truly valuable great hires are to your bottom line. So the question bares, what qualities and characteristics separate a good recruiter from a great recruiter?


  • The Ask Questions and Anticipate Needs.  I’ve always been a proponent of being prepared.  Great recruiters are prepared before the job opening is available.  They have a relationship with the hiring manager, having their fingers on the pulse of their recruiting trends and responsibilities. Great recruiters don’t simply ask questions, they research, learn and absorb because they understand the company and its ecosystem through experience, learning and their dedication to the hiring managers they serve.
  • They Take a Consultant Approach.   Great recruiters take notes and take a consultant and partner approach to filling a position.  They use a job requisition checklist in addition to meeting with the hiring manager to understand the role they are looking to fill. Consultants are training, developing and teaching other recruiters as well as their hiring managers.
  • They Care About the Full Employee Life Cycle.  Great recruiters look beyond simply filling the position.  They continue relationships with their hires and placements long after they have finished employee orientation and onboarding.  Great recruiters understand that employees hold see their recruiters as brand ambassadors who serve as the first point of contact with their new company.
  • Great Recruiter They Share Their Secrets with the Team.  Recruiting is sometimes seen as a secret society and industry where good recruiters are often hesitant to share their sourcing or recruitment secrets because they believe doing so eliminates their competitive advantage. Great recruiters take the time to share best practices and secrets making the team stronger and improved performance for everyone.
  • They Focus on the Candidate.  Great recruiters focus on relationships not only with the hiring manager and their hires but serve as a resource for job seekers who didn’t receive a job opportunity.  Great recruiters realize that staffing and building candidate pipelines is a long term strategy and that providing value lends in building a community and a network of candidate referrals that are invisible and intangible to the average or even good recruiter.


The differences between good recruiters and great recruiters is in their holistic approach to recruitment and hiring. Execution determines the success of your business‘ big picture vision. Great recruiters just make smart moves that create less risk and more success because they see recruitment – not as an individual placement – but as an entire body of work.


@blogging4jobs blogs Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs.

SmartRecruiters is the hiring platform with everything you need to source talent (including a recruiting agency management feature), communicate with candidates and make the right hire.

Watch the product tour to see how our enterprise recruiting software can empower you to find, engage and hire great talent.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.
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