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What does it take to be a successful recruiter?

From an outside perspective, people often assume working in recruitment is a glamorous and lucrative career. Although this can be true, it takes time, hard work, and resilience to get to that point and be a successful recruiter.

In a time when people are exploring their career options, we’ve seen many phenomena such as ‘The Great Resignation’, ‘The Great Reshuffling’ and ‘The Great Renegotiation’. Recruiters must be skilled and tactful in order to navigate challenging and ever-changing markets and secure their candidates in roles for their own clients, and not their competitors.

Having been in the recruitment industry for 3 years, and as a former hiring manager in the banking industry, I speak to recruiters day in and day out, finding the very best talent for Morgan McKinley. Here is my take on some of the qualities and skills that are more or less non-negotiable when it comes to being a successful recruiter.


In order to convince your candidates to accept your client’s offer - and on the flip side, to convince your client to accept your candidate - you must have the ability to influence. This starts by building strong foundational relationships, built on trust and likeability, with both sides, as well as managing expectations skilfully throughout the process.

Your candidates will have a prefixed notion regarding the roles and responsibilities, culture, salary, benefits, and so on. Your client will also want a ‘unicorn’ - a candidate that has it all, but likely doesn’t exist. It’s your job as a recruiter to use your professional knowledge to manage these expectations and influence the decisions on both sides.

However, working in a people-centric industry, we do need to take care to ensure both candidate and client will be happy with their decisions, so it’s important to be balanced and clear to avoid any misunderstandings or future tensions.


In the world of recruitment, knowledge is power - the power to influence and be one step ahead of your competitors. In order to gain this knowledge, you have to be inquisitive. You’ve got to look between the lines of basic communication and understand how to draw out in-depth information from both candidates and clients.

Sometimes this pushes you out of your comfort zone and asks unexpected or uncomfortable questions. However in the end it will benefit you, your candidates and your clients when roles are successfully filled.

Customer centric

The key to customer-centricity is to always bring it back to the needs of your clients and candidates. Their needs should drive every decision you make, and the main focus is to provide a positive experience which will result in repeat business, referrals, enhanced loyalty and a good relationship.

The goal is to position yourself as their go-to-recruiter, whether they are looking for new employees for the business or looking for new opportunities. However, a customer-centric mindset requires more than offering good customer service.

Here are ways to be more customer-centric:

  1. Listen attentively to your clients/candidates
  2. Map your clients/candidates journey
  3. Monitor and follow-up with clients/candidates diligently
  4. Get your data/research together
  5. Meet your clients/candidates face-to-face
  6. Define your customer experience strategy, no two clients/candidates are alike - customise accordingly

Passion and resilience

Recruitment can often be a demanding and challenging industry, a rollercoaster ride with a mix of highs and unexpected lows when things do not go the way you anticipated. To be a successful recruiter, you need to possess the unrivalled drive and passion to meet the needs of your clients and candidates as well as loving what you do.

However, passion alone won’t cut it. You need to show high levels of resilience, to persevere and demonstrate a never give-up attitude which will set you apart from the rest. This combination of passion and resilience will help you get through the tough hours, days, weeks and make the good ones feel even better!

All of the above is by no means an exhaustive list of what it takes to be a successful recruiter, but the essence of what’s important. If you would like to join a company who puts people at the heart of what it does and provides the platform needed to enable recruitment consultants to grow, develop and succeed, please reach out to me at and also read more on our careers website.

  • Jun 22, 2022
  • Careers , Singapore
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Shaiful Bahri

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