RECRUITER RECHARGE: How to Hire a Recruiter – Look for Macgyverisms

WebEditor’s Note – Welcome to the Recruiter Recharge, a new series we’re kicking off in conjunction with the uber-pro recruiting team at Newton Software. Each month, we’ll do a featured post, a podcast and a short video around a topic that matters to the recruiting community. Up first this month, Newton Software co-founder Joel Passen breaks down the best way to hire recruiters below – look for Macgyverisms. Podcast to follow next week!  For the kids, research Macgyver here.

Also, the post below is annotated via Rap Genius.  Click on the gold highlights to see comments and video/slide shares from FOT founder Kris Dunn on the topic (email subscribers click through to see the annotations on FOT). We’re still playing around with the tech, so find the fully annotated post over on Rap Genius here, with commentary from Jason Pankow in addition to KD.  Just drag your mouse over what’s highlighted and you’ll see the snark and over-the-top color commentary. Feel free to jump in and mark up the post with us there, and comments below this post are encouraged, as well.  

FOT Background Check

Joel Passen is the Head of Marketing and a Co-Founder of Newton Software, a company developing corporate applicant tracking software that helps organizations improve hiring. A self-described recovering corporate recruiter, Joel has been involved in the talent acquisition industry for the past 15 years. When Joel is not thinking about recruiting, he’s either thinking about food, cooking or pretending to write a food blog. Check out Joel’s profile on LinkedIn .


  1. Tim says:

    The rap genius annotations are awesome!

  2. Shannon says:

    I know not everyone does this, and it’s especially different in 3rd party vs. corporate, but I am big on emotional intelligence/empathy/relatability in my recruiters. I’ve found they typically provide a better candidate experience and are better able to understand the needs of hiring managers (aka, build relationships).

  3. Joel Passen says:

    Shannon – totally agree with intelligence, empathy and reliability.

    There is a good assessment test for screening for practical intelligence / critical thinking called the Watson- Glaser. Little is more important than how recruiters (corp or agency) question, analyze and make decisions under pressure. There is some much that goes along with intelligence like judgment, problem solving, creativity, openness to change, etc.

    Empathy is HUGE. I tend (for convenience) to lump it into the category of emotional intelligence. I’ve found that recruiters that have high EI can evaluate facts and arguments from both sides of the phone / desk / table naturally to make well-informed decision.

    Your reliability is my stick-to-itiveness or the ability to continue to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant ( a- hem recruiting). A good recruiter is someone that can ride the peaks and valleys and relish the wins to stay motivated and productive. They will come back to work day in and day out because they are there to do a job.

  4. Bryan White says:

    Great post! While I’m a personally a HUGE proponent of outsourcing your recruiting……when I’m hiring recruiters I look for a few ‘simple’ skills: the ability to overcome objections and influence decisions. This a core requirement for me. Easy interview questions for experienced recruiters – What are the most common objections you hear from candidates? How do you overcome that objection? (same line of questioning follows for HMs/clients) If I’m interviewing a person without sales/recruiting experience I’ll throw them objections/concerns during the interview to see how they respond (this works for the tenured group too…).

    I don’t care what objection you hear, and there are LOTS of ways to overcome objections – what I’m hoping to hear is that my candidate is getting to know their candidate/client and understanding their motivations, drivers and needs then using that in their conversation to influence behaviors and decision.

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