• Craig Mitchell

What skills are needed in order to be a successful Recruiter?

Do you want to work in recruitment? If so, there are a number of skills you will need in order to become a successful recruiter.



There are a million questions that we get asked as recruiters. One that I am often asked is, “What made me go into recruitment?” or “How did I end up in the position that I’m in now”. Whilst it’s no blockbuster movie in the making, I thought thatI would share a bit about my background to both support new recruiters, trainees or tea0and-coffee makers – in order to show how a strong work ethic can lead to progression as well as giving you an insight into my career so far.


Learning the basics


It was not always written in the stars that I would be a successful recruiter (depending on your idea of successful). I started off in the armpit of the sales World… door knocking. I can still remember my first day, fresh faced and wet behind the ears. I had nothing but bags of ambition and confidence. Plus, I knew how to ring a doorbell. I’d like to say my first day in sales, I am sure like most sales agents, was dark and depressing. After walking into their musty, horrible office meeting room, this almost set the premise for my first role in sales – both metaphorically and physically.


How important is Energy?


I still had bags of enthusiasm to give going into my next position. When I walked into the room the energy after a thirty-minute quick introduction to sales was electric. I felt like I was in a night-club full of newly aged adults after discovering red bull and Jäger. I soon realised this was vital and where I learned about the energy needed in sales, a no fear attitude, and how to make anything sound exciting.


Mindset and learning the word ‘No’


You know that feeling of starting a new job? Wearing your dads best tie and waiting for the call next Monday for promotion? Well, 5 doors and about 50 steps into my first day, the enthusiasm and passion had been beaten out of me. My team leader called me over for a bit of a pep talk, asking me “Are you sure this is for you?”. Now I have always been motivated by proving myself right and proving to others how good I am. So, as you can imagine I have never been more motivated by one question; this simple question gave me a burning desire to make the most of this sales role. So, after 8 hours and around 300 doors, I had my first ‘Yes’ and the only successful sale out of the new recruits.


From the doors to the phones


Going from the doors to the phones required a new set of skills. Luckily for me, it wasn’t just this *cough* gorgeous face that made me successful on the doors. The one thing that I had to learn is that you can’t rely on smile and energy. The most important thing to remember is that you have two ears and one mouth. You need to listen twice as much as you speak, ask the relevant questions to create dialog, rambling and talking waffle can only get you so far.


The Law of Averages


What I found is that not everyone can like you. Both from a call centre and a door-knocking perspective, you have to realise that every ‘No’ and slammed door gets you a little bit closer to the next ‘Yes’. What is important is to have a thorough belief in who you are, and what you are selling. You do NOT have to be everyone’s best friend, but always be honest, direct and influential. I often think how similar this is to recruitment. Now, I know not every company needs our support with recruitment, but what I do know is that I work harder than other recruiters and have access to a larger audience than the company themselves. This is why every time I make a call, be it a yes or a no, the ‘Hello’ is always the same.


Starting out in recruitment


Like all good things, this did come to an end and after navigating the world of cold calling and up-selling, I ended up in a small recruitment/consultancy firm. This company taught me the skills required to do my job. I was used as a full time ‘CV monkey’. This involved screening candidates and working for peanuts. What I am thankful for is the tireless

repetition of this job. ‘Practice makes perfect’ – this is what I gained from this position. After 6 months of pre-screening candidates, it built me to a position where I could ask the same question in multiple ways, I can get information without it sounding like 1980’s ‘Bad cop’ question and answer routine. Again, everything I had learned up until this point was influential.


Finding the right company and the right Manager


It never worked out for me at that company. There was never enough time to train me or never enough resource to support a 360 role no matter how hard I worked. I felt the goal posts were being moved regardless of how successful my shooting was, no matter how much time or energy I put in. The reason I wanted to discuss this, is that it is easy to feel like you’re in the wrong company, but self-belief is so crucial. What I have found is working under a Manager and in a company that allows you to be you, allows you to have autonomy within your role, and a company that invests in you is the best place you can be.


Using the right skills in the right places


All my hard work from all these previous roles were about to pay off. Two ex-Managers who had decided to leave and create their own company who, after seeing the hard work I put in and the rapport I built with candidates, decided to make me their first full-time recruiter within their company. They knew that I had the skills required to succeed and had seen that it was now time again to prove myself. What my directors do have is the ability to trust in my ability to do the role. They also believe I have an infectious self-belief and trust in their process. I think this is often lost in a sales environment and too much time is focused on KPI’s and the ingredients over the outcome. Too many companies have the right cake mix but don’t turn on the oven – so to speak. We focus on quality and following processes correctly so that every client and candidate has the best experience of recruitment. It’s this process, and the skills learnt from my experience in sales that has made me successful today.


To conclude


Over my first year, I found that I was getting more reward, more salary increases and responsibility even though I never asked for them. I am now in a Senior role and excited to start managing my own team. I enjoy work, is this silly to enjoy work? But I am exactly where I want to be. Part of the reason I wanted people n to know about my journey is because I hope people can see that it’s vital to learn and constantly develop. Without a million doors, phone calls and false promises, I wouldn’t be as competent in my role.


Sometimes it’s important to understand that you have to start somewhere and not to rush. I also wanted to outline that self-belief and a fantastic work ethic is vital to success and happiness. It’s easy to stay still and get comfortable but the most successful jump out of this and straight into the ‘Deep-end’, or out of the comfort zone. Alongside this, my manager often says to me “The difference between winners and losers is an unwavering self-belief and an unrivalled work ethic”. This resonates deeply with me and it’s something I taught myself from my first day in recruitment.


If you feel stuck in the wrong role, feel no sense of belief or worth in your company, or even want to move into a different industry then drop me a message. If it isn’t a role we are finding you, it’ll be advice and a chat over a cup of coffee – just drop me a line!