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Recruitment consultant: how to recruit the best recruiter

As a growing recruitment agency, not only are you always looking for candidates, you are probably frequently on the look-out for a recruitment consultant.

You’ll be hiring one of two options:

  1. an experienced recruiter with a proven track record in the sector,
  2. and “new starts” – those who are new to the industry.

Option 1: the experienced recruiter

The natural inclination might be to go with an experienced staff member or an experienced recruiter from the industry.

After all, they can get up and running quickly and may even come with a few new contacts and clients which can help your business to grow and develop.

Option 2: the rookie

On the other hand, a new start will arrive ready to be trained up in the processes and culture specific to your company.

Someone you can mould and shape into an ambassador for your organisation.

Regardless of who you ultimately decide to prioritise, the personality traits of both hires will ultimately be the same.

So what should you look for in a recruiter and how do you hire the best?

Traits of a great recruitment consultant

Ultimately you need a recruiter with the right attitude:

  1. Someone who is hungry for success but not so aggressively sales focussed that they alienate clients and customers.
  2. They need to be motivated by the success of the company as much as by their own success.
  3. They need to be open to learning from others and not convinced of their own prowess, no matter how successful they are.

Having reviewed research within the sector, we have identified three common factors that help to make a great recruitment consultant.

And it’s not all about knowledge and technical expertise. It’s more innate than that.

The three factors that were the most valuable were:

  • Personality
  • Approach
  • Forward-thinking


The role of the recruitment consultant calls for a certain personality type.

Those who are ultra-sociable and exude confidence are assumed to be a natural fit for the role, and it is true that these skills will help with relationship building. But there are other personality traits that are needed to be a truly successful recruitment consultant.

Recruitment consultants work with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. To be successful in developing and maintaining relationships  they must be able to:

  • read body language
  • understand the motivations behind words
  • identify with people on a personal level

To achieve this, they must be:

  • genuinely interested,
  • naturally inquisitive,
  • and be able to quickly develop a good rapport.

They need ability to come across as trustworthy, committed, knowledgeable and focussed to ensure that the candidate and the client feel comfortable putting their career or business in the hands of someone they have only just met.

However, candidates and clients alike will only trust their recruiting partner if they believe that they also fully understand the technical requirements of the role, and how it fits into the company and the wider industry.

So it is important to be informed about the sector they are recruiting for. Clients, in particular, will know if their consultant is winging it and this can result in them deciding to take their business elsewhere.

A great recruitment consultant is not all glib patter and shiny suits. They are experts in their field and knowledgeable about their sector.

Given the competitive nature of the recruitment industry, a good recruitment consultant must be innately results-orientated and target-driven. Not just for their own success but also for their candidates and clients who benefit from their focused and efficient approach to delivering a mutually-beneficial outcome.

A recruitment consultant who is results-orientated is more likely to ensure that the recruitment process is on track and continuously moving forward. They must possess the drive and determination to achieve goals against other agencies, but they must also be able to successfully manage the complex challenge of also being in direct competition with their colleagues and friends.

This calls for exceptional social skills and an insightful personality.


The best recruitment consultants have exceptional questioning skills.

This does not mean interrogating the candidate or client on the other end of the phone. Rather it is about asking the right questions that will enable the recruiter to fully understand their needs and motivations.

This is crucial as, without the right information, candidates will be placed in unsuitable roles. This can only result in a higher short-term turnover and a significant breakdown in trust between recruiter and candidate/client.

If candidate or client do not believe that the recruiter is concerned with their best interests or willing to fulfil their needs, the relationship will suffer.

Asking the right questions will also help to ensure a technical and cultural fit.

A high percentage of employers value candidates who will complement the existing workforce as much as having the right technical skillset.

Similarly, candidates are more committed and motivated when they identify with their company.

Understanding what motivates candidates within their industry is also key to being a well-informed recruitment consultant. Employees are motivated by a number of different drivers including salary, career development or the benefits package.

The ability to manage expectations is also vital in recruitment. This involves ensuring that clients are given a realistic time to hire, briefing candidates on what to expect from the recruitment/interview process and handling notice periods.

Keeping in regular contact with candidate and client networks after a placement is also good practice for all involved.

Taking an interest in a candidate’s career allows the recruiter to keep a look out for roles that will suit them when they make their next career move.

This is helpful to contractors who are regularly looking for new postings, and for candidates in a time of need i.e. redundancies.

Similarly, maintaining a relationship with clients will keep recruitment consultants in tune with their hiring needs, allowing them to continuously meet their requirements and deliver results quickly.

Forward Thinking

A truly excellent recruitment consultant will always consider, not just their own professional growth but also the growth of their company.

Looking to the future and understanding that business development is as important as placing candidates and hitting bonus.

A good consultant will understand technology, for example, the power of Social Media and Online Search Optimisation which can both dramatically improve the relevance of advert responses.

It is also good practice for recruiters to keep track of changes and look out for emerging trends within the industry, so that they can stay one step ahead.

This is particularly true of technological developments, such as SureCert, which can support a consultant to maximise their productivity.

SureCert takes the pain out of background checking. Candidates complete their own onboarding by requesting their own references and uploading the required supporting documents, reducing the workload of the consultant and increasing efficiencies.

For more on how we can support you in both your internal and external hires, check out our page for Recruiters.