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5 Personality Traits Every Successful Recruiter Has


Staffing is a tough line of work. Recruiters work tirelessly to sniff out top talent wherever they can, accommodating all types of people along the way. The end goal is to find a perfect match between client and candidate, but being a professional matchmaker is a lot of pressure, especially when the recruiter cares deeply for both parties involved.


For every perfect match, there are several disappointments. A recruiter might find a flawless candidate for a particular job, but the timing may be wrong for the person. Or sometimes the recruiter builds a great relationship with an individual and refers them to a wonderful opportunity only to have the person not show up on the day of the interview.


The only certainty in staffing is this: People are as imperfect as they are unpredictable. It’s a stressful reality for recruiters. When so many factors are beyond control, getting discouraged is all too easy. It takes a certain type of personality to be able to withstand these kinds of challenges.


That’s why at ICON Staffing, we evaluate our recruiters on certain personality traits using standardized testing. Here are the five most essential traits for being a successful recruiter.




Every challenge offers an opportunity, but not everyone seizes it. Some shut down at the first sign of adversity because they’d rather not try than try and fail. Ironically, failure phobia is the very thing that kills success. That’s why grit is so important.


According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, the key to success is “to be willing to fail, to be wrong, to start over again with lessons learned.” Grit is about having the courage to work toward your goals, knowing that the obstacles are inevitable.


This trait is especially important in the staffing industry. A recruiter can’t give up on making calls just because they have one bad conversation. They have to power through, knowing that with every call they’re forging a bridge to the next opportunity.




As a recruiter, there are so many tools and platforms at your disposal. What’s more, these technologies are constantly changing, forcing recruiters to adapt. Gone are the days when cold calls and email blasts were the only options for recruiters. Now they have much more creative freedom in connecting with candidates.


LinkedIn and other social media sites have revolutionized the staffing industry. Now recruiters can peruse these platforms for leads and contact them instantly. The targeting capabilities are more advanced than ever. The trick is learning how to take full advantage of them.




No one wants to work with a wild card. For recruiters, over-communicating is better than the opposite. It’s important to set candidates up for success in every phase of the job search. The last thing these professionals want is to be left in the dark, especially when it comes to something as crucial as a new job prospect.


That’s why recruiters need to be consistent in updating both clients and candidates. Reliability is an essential trait for building working relationships that last.




I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: In order to be successful, a recruiter has to ditch the pitch. By that, I mean candidate-recruiter interactions shouldn’t be a one way scramble for information. They need to be a dialogue. Recruiters must listen to candidates to really understand what they want and what they have to offer.


Being attentive to a candidate’s needs and desires helps the recruiter pursue the best opportunities for them. To help a candidate find success, the recruiter must first learn what success means in that person’s eyes.




At ICON, we value relationships over placements. Of course, making placements is important, but they’re only temporary. What endures is the relationship.


We’re accommodating a workforce that is increasingly prone to job-hopping, and we want to be the launchpad. The first step in doing that is to equip your staffing team with people who have the right values and genuinely care for the people they aim to serve. These are the recruiters who will build relationships that endure because they’ll do whatever they can to make their candidates happy.


Candidates are thinking, feeling human beings. Any recruiter who can’t appreciate that won’t find sustaining success. Recruiters who dismiss the candidate’s needs, who fail to treat the candidates as real people, are the ones who give the industry a bad name.


Staffing is a challenging field for anyone, but those with these essential traits will fare far better than others. Something we in this industry can understand better than most is that sometimes a personality fit is far more important for a job than the skills and experiences someone has to offer.