There are three qualities of a decent recruiter. By recruiter, I mean anybody who is involved in sourcing, staffing, managing requisition workflows, coordinating offers, coaching hiring managers, and, ultimately, getting people into new jobs.
The qualities of a decent recruiter are in this specific order.
Trustworthiness. Are your actions and behaviors transparent? Do people know who you are, what you believe in, and where your allegiances fall? You don’t have to be a social worker or Mother Teresa — and you shouldn’t be Mother Teresa because she wasn’t all that great and took money from Papa Doc Duvalier, a horrible Haitian dictator — but your purpose and agenda should be crystal clear.
Character. For me, a recruiter’s character is all about integrity. Are your actions aligned with your promises? Do you operate in a fair way? When you stumble, do you admit to your mistakes and hold yourself accountable to do better work? You’re not selling cars, you’re selling dreams to other human beings. That’s why your character is so important.
Competence. Skills and knowledge are necessary. You should be able to perform your job duties and live up to the commitments you’ve made to your employer and clients. But baked into competence? There’s your professional reputation — the thing that makes people say, yes, she can get the job done.
So many recruiters brag about their skills. They can fill a role in weird markets like Paducah or Fresno in record time; however, they’re assholes, and nobody likes to work with them. You know the type, right? They bounce from recruiting job to recruiting job and wonder why the hell everybody else gets it wrong when they’re so smart.
Well, it turns out that being a decent recruiter is about being a decent human being. Skills don’t matter if nobody likes you.
If you want to improve your performance as a recruiter, try working on yourself. Remember that exceptional performance is built on a foundation of trust and character, with competency being the last goddamn thing that anybody cares about in this world.
If you’re a jerk, you don’t get to work. Not at my company. Not at any business, really, and not for an extended period of time.
And, by the way, does this model for recruiters look like Steven Covey’s speed of trust model? Well, by golly, it is his model. And it’s the perfect model for being a decent human being who is helpful, considerate, and good at his or her job.
Try being someone of character and substance. Then work on your recruiting skills. I promise your recruiting career will take off if you work on yourself, first, and strive to do right by your clients and colleagues.
Laurie Ruettimann is a former HR leader and an influential speaker, writer and marketing advisor. Her work has appeared in many mainstream print publications and major news media outlets. You can find her on twitter at @Lruettimann.