3. ACCOUNTABILITY. Playing the victim is
about placing blame for things that happen on
outside forces. “Well, I couldn’t fnd you candi-
dates for your position because we don’t have
a good applicant tracking system.” “It’s not my
fault the candidate didn’t accept; we didn’t of-
fer enough money.” “If we had a better website,
we could attract talent.” “If you bought me a
LinkedIn license, I could fnd the candidates
Great recruiters fnd ways to “make it hap-
pen” regardless of the limited tools, resources
and time they’re given. They do not let road-
blocks stop them or speed bumps slow them
down. They rise to the occasion and make good
things happen. Recruiters face constant rejec-
tion, so having the trait of not being a victim
is critical to success.
When looking at candidates, it’s fairly easy
to discover victim-ish behaviors. If you ask why
a team project didn’t work, victims will quickly
place blame on team members while telling
you what they did to make it succeed. A better
behavior would be to take responsibility for
their part in the failure and then explain what
they did to remedy the situation.
4. MARKETING CHOPS. Marketing skills
have become increasingly valuable for great
recruiting. Of course, a potential recruiter can
pick up some of this through education and
experience, but it can also be a natural ability.
The classic interview question designed to
gauge this is to give the candidate your pen
and ask her to sell it to you. But another question you could ask potential recruiters is this:
“What changes could you recommend to our
current career site to entice more people to
apply?” A natural marketer can generate many
Recruiters with marketing chops also think
about talent acquisition diferently. You’ll see
it when they look at your systems and procedures. They focus on the candidate frst, not
how the process helps the talent acquisition
team. That’s a marketing approach.
5. THE ABILITY TO CLOSE. “A.B.C.—
Always Be Closing” is a classic sales line. Salespeople are trained from day one on how to
close a customer. Recruiters are no diferent.
Your ability to land candidates who accept
your job ofers will make or break your career.
Great recruiting closers share one trait
that I call the “jealous girlfriend” (to be fair,
it works whether you’re a girlfriend or a boy-
friend, but I’ve only experienced it from a girl-
friend). A jealous girlfriend will question her
boyfriend about any little thing that doesn’t
seem right about a situation. “So, you left
the bar at 11 p.m., but it’s now 11: 45 p.m. and
the bar is only 20 minutes away? … Oh, you
stopped for gas. What station? … Didn’t you
just get gas two days ago?”
The best recruiters I’ve worked with, male
or female, were great jealous girlfriends. They
don’t have a flter when it comes to asking
every single question about information that
doesn’t line up perfectly because they know a
hiring manager will see any discrepancy and
ask about it. The last thing great recruiters
want is to face a question they don’t know
the answer to.
Addressing these queries is how you properly close a candidate. Offers fall apart at
the end because questions were left unasked
at the beginning. “So, you’re interested in
our company and job, but this seems like it
would add 20 minutes to your drive. Have
you made the commute yet at rush hour?
What will adding 40 minutes a day do to
your schedule at home?” Always be closing!
“So, you’re making $65,000 a year in your
current role. Our position pays $70,000 max.
If we ofer the job at $70,000, what will keep
you from accepting? Benefts costs? Paid time
of? 401(k) match?” Always be closing.
6. CONSULTATIVE SKILLS. The best recruiters become talent consultants to hiring
managers. It’s not about doing the job for
them; it’s about delivering an expertise. “I’m
the expert on talent, and I’m here to advise
This article is adapted from
an excerpt of The Talent
Fix: A Leader’s Guide to
Recruiting Great Talent
(SHRM, 2018), which is
available through the