Scaling a recruiting and staffing firm is a massive challenge. Of all the recruiting businesses out there, less than 20% of them scale to a team of more than 10 recruiters. While this can be attributed to many factors, the chief among them is ability to hire and train great recruiters!

Understanding what makes a great recruiter great is of critical importance to a young recruiting and staffing business. A wrong hire can set you back by several months and a right hire can help you grow exponentially.

After speaking with hundreds of successful staffing firm owners, we’ve identified the five most important traits that make a successful recruiter.

1. Curiosity. Whatever industry you operate in, the nature of the recruiting and staffing is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. The best way to cope with these rapid changes is to have a sense of curiosity that will help you and your team quickly adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

While tough to measure, genuine curiosity and an eagerness to learn new things are what makes a great recruiter great. The competition in recruitment is fierce and you need people who are driven, curious, willing to self-educate, and continuously seeking ways to improve, expand their knowledge and stay ahead of the competition. According to HBR, curiosity has a direct relationship with competence and curious employees tend to be more successful.

2. Resilience. Recruiting is a high-pressure job where rejections and setbacks are a daily occurrence. This takes a mental toll on recruiters. You want someone who can smile in the face of these odds and use it as motivation to push themselves! The funny thing in our industry is, you can do everything right and still not get that placement and not be rewarded for it. Recruiting, as an industry, is high stress in nature and can be very unpredictable. It is easy for people to lose morale and thus you want someone who is a go-getter and isn’t easily let down! You need people who can stay resilient, confidently move forward and refocus on the job at hand.

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3. Listener. A mentor once told me that the most important skill for being a great salesperson was to just listen! The same goes for recruiting. The key to success as a recruiter is to just understand your clients and candidates better, their problems and their motivations. You need to be a great listener in order to do that well. Staffing and recruiting are high stakes for both candidates and clients and even the smallest of slips can break deals. Thus, you want your team members to be great listeners and have a keen eye for details.

4. Empathy. Let’s be honest, despite all the technology and the changing nature of work, recruiting and staffing, is at its core, a relationship-driven business. And, having empathy is the first step of building any great relationship. Empathy makes one really care about creating a great outcome both for your clients and candidates. When your team is empathetic to your clients and candidates, they will genuinely care, deeply understand their goals and challenges and help solve them. Not just in recruiting, but empathy is one of the major characteristics of natural leaders who excel at leading teams and deliver great results.

5. Time management and organizational skills. Right from sourcing and screening candidates, handling clients, making calls and writing emails to get new clients to handling the recruiting process, there is a ton of work on a recruiter’s plate. Without great organizational and time-management skills, there is a very good chance that the recruiter will be overwhelmed and won’t be able to operate in a high velocity and unpredictable environment of staffing and recruiting.

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