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Number 1 Competency for High-performing Professional Recruiters

The skills gap is widening and it’s getting harder to find great internal talent. In the November-December 2015 edition of the ASA Staffing Success Magazine, staffing execs were asked, “What do you look for when searching for a great recruiter?” In addition to experience, characteristics like self-motivation, sense of urgency, being detail oriented, and people skills were included in most comments.

Interestingly we asked ourselves a similar question just a few months ago. How can we increase our chances of hiring an A-player staffing recruiter? If you’ve been a leader in the staffing industry for a while you could come up with a viable list of characteristics similar to those comments in the magazine article. But, how do you know for sure that you’re going to get an A-player? We still seem to have recruiters that just don’t perform at the level we expected when we hired them. Maybe performance isn’t to the point of being fired, but the result is our office is filled with mostly B- and C-players that just don’t produce high results.

Instead of just using our gut, we sought a scientific approach to identify key traits and competencies. Tallann Resources partnered with a national firm specializing in measuring people success – PeopleBest. They helped us ‘crack the DNA’ of what makes a high-performing recruiter in the staffing industry. Using a web-based inventory tool, PeopleBest created a unique profile of winning attributes for staffing recruiters.

107 recruiters representing both commercial and professional verticals took the behavioral assessment. Managers rated each recruiter on multiple performance criteria, which resulted in a score for A-, B-, C-, or D-players. The assessment measured 29 behavioral traits. PeopleBest performed a statistical validation analysis using predictive models to provide a matching correlation of DNA (behavioral traits) to performance.

In this article we’re focusing on professional recruiters. We also analyzed the data for commercial recruiters. There were clear distinctions for high-performers depending on whether they identified as professional or commercial recruiters. We defined professional recruiters as those that focus on such professions as accounting and finance, information technology, healthcare, executive search, and so on.

All Professional Recruiters –

The assessment results reveal that all professional recruiters, regardless of performance, scored higher in several traits and competencies. These characteristics were no surprise and supported the views of the executives in the article and our instincts on what should make for a good recruiter. All professional recruiters scored higher in:

  • Effective Communication
  • Presentation Skills
  • Friendly Persuasion
  • Passion
  • Expressiveness

Remember, all professional recruiters scored higher in these competencies. In order to pick someone that is an A-player, we have to look at the data differently. Here is where statistical correlations come in. PeopleBest analyzed the strongest correlation between behavioral traits and those professional recruiters identified as high-performers.

High-performing Professional Recruiters –

What is the number 1 competency for a high-performing professional recruiter? Survey saysLow Drive for Group Consensus. Huh? This is definitely not what you expected, right? So, let’s look at this competency a little closer to see why this might distinguish a high-performing recruiter.

Someone with a low drive for group consensus prefers to work and make decisions by themselves. They are oriented to individual effort. They tend to “go it alone” without the input of others.

Think about it. Professional recruiters in the staffing industry tend to be independent. Yes, they can work in a department of other recruiters, but for the most part they work on the job orders for which they are assigned or have earned. They tend to be incented when they fill an order; it’s an individual incentive. Professional recruiters are essentially competing with the other recruiters in their firm. There is no driver to work as a team or reason to get a group consensus. It’s not a bad thing; in fact, our survey found that having a low drive for group consensus is what made for an A-player in professional recruiting.  It's what makes highly successful recruiters unique!

Increase Your Chances of Hiring an A-player

So, now you know that you need to look for this new competency. How do you increase your chances of hiring an A-player professional recruiter looking for this specific competency? It’s all in your process.Recruitment_Process.png

A sure fire way to ensure your candidate possesses this competency is to conduct the behavioral assessment. Even before that, you can ask behavioral based interview questions to possibly weed out the candidates that don’t have this competency.   So for example, a few questions that would solicit Low Drive for Group Consensus would look like this:

  • In your past work experience, have you been more successful with individual goals or team goals? Give an example.
  • Provide an example of when team requirements come into conflict with your individual goals and objectives. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when you were working as part of a team and felt that you could achieve better or faster results on your own. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

Remember, you’re looking for answers for someone that prefers working on their own, is oriented to individual effort, and tend to “go it alone” without the input of others.

This competency is just one of a half-dozen that we found that distinguished high-performing professional recruiters. You now have a key part of the blueprint for hiring A-players at your staffing firm. Use it and be successful!

Looking for more tips to hire high-performing employees at your staffing firm?  Check out our free Quick Guide - How to Hire Better Salespeople.

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