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The 8 most important recruitment skills


A recruiter’s job involves more than just being a people person. Recruiters need to interact with a range of personalities, identify whether candidates have the relevant skills for a position, know their employer’s company inside out, have experience with up-to-date recruiting technology, and much more. That means there are many more recruitment skills to look for when assessing a candidate for an open recruiter role.

What recruitment skills are important?

When hiring a new recruiter, it’s also important to take into account the evolution of the recruiter role. For example, the new technology used to source, communicate with, track, and hire candidates has changed significantly over the past ten years. This means that recruiters need an understanding of this technology and an understanding of how this has changed the recruitment process and how they interact with candidates. 

So, which recruitment skills are most important today?

This article will explore the technical and soft skills all great recruiters should have and how to assess your candidates’ talent acquisition skills.

which recruitment skills are important

1. Attention to detail 

In a survey, executives said that the primary effects of low attention to detail are decreased product quality, productivity, employee morale, and decrease customer service quality. When the product of an employee’s work is your workforce, it’s easy to see why poor attention to detail can lead to lower quality of hire.

Managers surveyed agreed with executives on the top four negative impacts. But, while executives ranked a decrease in product quality as the number one negative impact of low attention to detail, managers said it was decreased productivity. Of course, no company wants to hurt productivity, especially not in a busy HR department.

So, clearly, attention to detail is a must-have recruitment skill.

Recruiters deal with a lot of information related to the people in the departments that are hiring and the candidates themselves. That’s why successful recruiters need to have an eye and an ear for detail. After all, even one missed detail can result in a bad hire, reputational damage, and wasted time and hiring resources. 

2. Sourcing 

Sourcing has become one of the most important talent acquisition skills today. On average, 45 percent of applicants are unqualified, so it’s crucial to have recruiters on your team who know how to find top talent.

Whether you need a recruiter to engage in passive candidate sourcing, strategic sourcing, or basic sourcing via an Applicant Tracking System, it’s vital to know what experience your candidates have in this area. This will include assessing their knowledge of the local recruitment market, their experience with various sourcing strategies, and their skills in developing candidate personas.

3. Experience with recruitment analytics

Thanks to the latest technology, HR is becoming more data-driven. This change has a huge impact on the roles of recruiters and talent acquisition specialists.

As a result, organizations are increasingly seeking talent acquisition managers who have experience using recruitment analytics to analyze recruitment data and use it in strategic ways that can help them hire better candidates, increase revenue, and lower costs.

4. Onboarding new hires

Better onboarding practices leads to higher levels of employee retention.

A great onboarding experience improves new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by 70%. But a poor onboarding experience doubles the likelihood that a new hire will seek employment elsewhere.

While onboarding is not technically a recruiter’s responsibility, there are times when they should be involved in the process. For example, on a new hire’s first day, the presence of the recruiter, who they’ve gotten to know through the hiring process, can be comforting.

Even if you’re a recruitment agency looking to fill an outside recruiter role, an understanding of the onboarding process is important. There are times when an outside recruiter should be involved in the onboarding process as well.

For example, when the candidate is one of the top talents in their respective industry. In such a situation, [the new hire’s] experience is of paramount importance and if [the recruiter] can help their new employer onboard them more quickly and elegantly, [they] simply have to do it.

James Burbank, “Should Recruiters Get Involved in the Onboarding of Their Placements?”

5. Experience in using Applicant Tracking Systems

Recruiters must have skills beyond legacy recruiting practices, such as using spreadsheets and email chains to manage the recruiting process. Modern recruiting skills include using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to compete in a fast-paced job market. 

Recruiters need to be able to use ATS software to scan, sort, and rank candidates, post to job boards, track candidates, parse resumes, and maintain career pages. Ideally, they’ll have experience with the ATS your company uses, but if a candidate can learn one ATS, they shouldn’t have much trouble learning another.

6. Improving the candidate experience

Improving the candidate experience is another critical recruitment skill. A positive candidate experience increases the likelihood that your top candidate will accept an offer. In contrast, 69% of candidates say they will never work with an employer who provides a negative experience.

Your recruiter has a huge impact on the candidate experience. They are responsible for managing the full-cycle of communication with candidates and ensuring the end-to-end recruiting processes are fluid, easy to use, and respectful of candidates’ time.

Candidates for a recruiter role should have experience in: 

  • Maintaining career pages and job descriptions 

  • Optimizing the job application process 

  • Managing communication via the ATS

  • Updating candidates on rejections and job offers

  • Negotiating job offers

7. Time management

Forty-six percent of the stress experienced by employees in the US is due to an overwhelming workload. Since recruiting requires juggling so many different people and processes, it can certainly be overwhelming for a recruiter without excellent time management skills.

Skilled recruiters should be able to identify which tasks and candidates their time is best spent on, work well with ad hoc deadlines, and organize their tasks in a way that allows them to meet their recruiting objectives. 

8. Communication 

28% of employees say poor communication leads to missed deadlines, and miscommunication can cost your company over $400,000 a year. You can avoid bringing these problems into your HR department by hiring a recruiter with great communication skills.

Communication is one of the most essential recruitment skills because not only are recruiters the crucial link between candidates and the company, but they also have a variety of other responsibilities that require well-honed communication skills

Great recruiters are able to: 

  • Read candidates well

  • Engage their active listening skills 

  • Effectively relay information about the job role

  • Convey candidate information to relevant people

  • Encourage candidates to move forward in the hiring process

  • Relay disappointing job rejection news

And recruiters with these communication skills don’t just improve productivity. It will improve the candidate experience because candidates will feel heard and respected thanks to your recruiter’s ability to listen and keep them informed.

How to assess recruitment skills

Hiring great candidates begins with the recruiter. They’re the cornerstone of sourcing, recruiting, selecting, and facilitating the hiring process of candidates. To do this, they need various skills and experience in enacting several different methodologies and strategies. 

Although you can ask candidates about their recruiting experience during the interview process, proving their skill level in each of the relevant areas can be difficult. The most effective way to assess recruitment skills is with a pre-employment test to help you uncover candidates’ real and quantifiable skill level. 

These tests provide an unbiased way of measuring a candidate’s recruiting skills in a way that isn’t possible during an interview.

screenshot of an example question from TestGorilla’s talent acquisition test

An example question from TestGorilla’s talent acquisition test

For example, TestGorilla’s talent acquisition test evaluates whether a candidate has the necessary recruiting and talent acquisition skills they’ll need throughout the recruitment process, including sourcing and recruiting the right candidates, designing a great candidate experience for best results, and onboarding talent for long-term success. It also tests candidates’ experience with recruitment analytics. 

Find out who has the recruitment skills you need with an online skills test

Recruiting and hiring recruiters is no easy task. In fact, it’s often been said that they’re some of the hardest roles to hire for. They are used to being the person in your shoes, and have experience in all types of recruitment situations. Essentially, they know what to say during interviews. They know what it means to be a good recruiter and a good candidate on paper. 

Using a pre-employment talent acquisition assessment is the easiest way to evaluate your candidates’ true skills so that your organization can start hiring better and faster.


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