The 4 Traits of Naturally Skilled Recruiters

Recruiting doesn't come naturally to all of us. If you're a recruiter who isn't so innately talented, try cultivating in yourself these four traits of naturally skilled recruiters:

1. Empathy

If you cannot put yourself in both the hiring manager's and the candidate's shoes, you will lose at recruiting. As employment specialist Amy McDonald writes, recruiters "have to get to know [their] candidate and client beyond what is on their resume in order to understand what motivates them."

While it can be easy for agency recruiters to get fixated on a big payday or a corporate recruiter to want only to fill the role as fast as possible, these aren't great ways to approach new reqs. Instead, take the time to meet your hiring manager and clarify their expectations for a new hire.

On the candidate side, understand that a new position is a major change. When you are recruiting for a role, you are asking someone to leave the job, colleagues, paycheck, and benefits they're used to. That's a lot to ask. Empathy goes a long way in understanding why people walk away from seemingly perfect offers and why hiring managers drag their feet even when you think you've checked every box and found the perfect candidate.

2. Sociability

Shocking, I know, but if you don't genuinely like to be around people, you won't be a very good recruiter. Relationships are and always have been part of recruiting. In order to build strong relationships with people, you have to enjoy talking to them, remember things that are important to them (like their skill set or their birthday), and listen when they need to share.

If a candidate tells you a secret, keep it. If a hiring manager tells you they don't want entry-level hires because they don't work well on the team, remember that. If you make a promise to anyone, make sure you keep that promise. Goodwill, trust, and a genuine love of people got many recruiters through the Great Recession.

3. They Research What They Don't Know

It can be hard to understand every industry's jargon, every specialized skill set, and every assessment result. One thing that separates the wheat from the chaff in recruiting is that the best recruiters – the wheat, if you will – dig in and do research when they don't understanding something.

Recruiters who do their research don't look foolish when it's time to speak with a candidate or the hiring manager. Researching shows respect for both the hiring manager and the candidate – and it makes you a smarter, more marketable recruiter yourself.

Thanks to the internet, recruiting research is easier than ever. There are so many crowdsourced platforms, communities, and blogs today that most of your work is already done for you! Whether you use plugins like Rapportive and Prophet or social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, you can find most of the information you need at the click of a button.

Know the skill set, know the candidate: Most great recruiters live by this credo.

4. They Work Smarter, Not Harder

Impact on the business and productivity are two different things, and great recruiters will seek to balance the two. Focus on making an impact on your business and you will find yourself working smarter, not harder. Outsource recruitment and pull internal resources in wherever you can. Plan your time so you're spending it on things that affect your organization.

The best example of the difference between business impact and productivity is in making first contact with candidates. In this case, it is productive to upload a CSV and email 200 qualified candidates whose names you pulled from a keyword database. On the other hand, it is impactful for the business to send personalized outreach emails to the top 20 candidates who seem to be perfect fits for the role.

The recruiting and sourcing industries are ever-changing, but a handful of things remain constant. Empathy, sociability, a willingness to research, and the resolve to work smarter will lead any recruiter to greatness.

A version of this article originally appeared on Forbes.

Maren Hogan is founder and CEO of Red Branch Media. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog, Marenated.