Soft Skills Every Successful Recruiter Should Have

December 24, 2022

9 min read

While hard skills are essential for getting a job done, soft skills can make or break a career. 97% of British companies’ bosses called the personal qualities of their staff crucial for businesses’ growth and success. This is extremely true for talent acquisition specialists who constantly need to communicate with a lot of different people and think on their feet. This article will show you what soft skills we, at StaffingPartner, pay attention to when looking for newcomers to our team, and how emotional intelligence positively affects job results.

Soft and hard skills: what is the difference?

Hard skills are the specific, teachable abilities you need to perform at a particular job. They can be learned through education or training and are often measurable. Examples include:

  • The ability to use an applicant tracking system (ATS).
  • Knowledge of different recruiting channels.
  • Sourcing and screening experience.
  • Interviewing techniques.

Soft skills, on the other hand, are the personal attributes and abilities that help you interact with others, like strong communication skills. They’re more challenging to quantify and are often more critical for long-term success.

Why do we value recruiters’ soft skills more than hard skills?

During the pre-COVID19 time 92% of hiring managers said that emotional intelligence is no less important than hard skills. Given that, the statistic also extends to technical and other not people-to-people jobs. You can imagine how important this was to recruiters themselves.

“After remote work became the new standard for many companies, and interactions among colleagues became online, the importance of having strong soft skills for developers and other tech job applicants has decreased,” said our recruitment lead, Snezhana Kradzhy.

Although for sourcers, recruiters, HR-s, and people-oriented jobs in general, it is not the case.

Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Soft skills show potential for future growth of a recruiter: while someone with poor emotional intelligence can improve with training, someone with excellent soft skills will likely get only better with time. Recruiters with well-developed emotional intelligence have more potential for future success than those who don’t.
  • Emotionally intelligent employees are  more important for long-term success: Technical skills might get an employee the job, but personal skills will help them keep it. That’s because they’re essential for networking, collaboration, and dealing with difficult situations.
  • They make up for weak hard skills: Sometimes, a recruiter might not have all the competence required for the job. However, they may be able to compensate for this  with the needed character traits. 
  • They’re more difficult to automate: With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and other forms of automation, many previously human jobs are now being done by machines. However, there are some things that AI can’t do, and soft skills are one of them. For example, devices can’t create a partnership or communicate effectively.

What soft skills should every successful recruiter have?

While many personal qualities are necessary for all kinds of talent acquisition specialists, some are more important than others. Here are 5 of the most critical soft skills for recruiters.

Strong communication skills

Almost a half of the job seekers declined job offers due to bad recruiting. The recruiter is the first person from the company potential employees meet, even when talking about external professionals. Businesses need agents who are able to communicate clearly and effectively, both in writing and in person. This includes the ability to explain things simply and briefly and listen carefully. It is especially crucial for global recruitment.

Recruiters that don’t like people will never build a career in this field,” said Snezhana. “Such specialists won’t be able to find a way to others, which is the main thing in the hiring process.”

It’s crucial to be able to read and translate non-verbal communication as well, as this can often give you clues as to what someone is really thinking or feeling. Non-verbal language includes body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.

Goal orientation

It is the second most important soft skill in our opinion. The work involves the presence of specific metrics that monitor efficiency — for example, the number of closed vacancies per unit of time. If a talent acquisition specialist is not goal-oriented, they probably won’t be successful because one of the essential things in this profession is to achieve the goals set and move on to new ones.

Goal orientation also means being motivated to do whatever it takes to achieve a goal. This is important for recruiters because the recruitment process can be long and challenging and often requires working with multiple stakeholders.

In StaffingPartner, employees have completely measurable goals that everyone strives to achieve. The main goal is to find the most suitable candidate for each open vacancy. We take responsibility not only for the company’s well-being in this case. We must ensure our proposal is the best solution for the candidate and will contribute to his career.

“It is not only about closed positions. Our goal is to arrange the perfect match”, said Snezhana.

And that’s why we offer a guarantee: if a candidate doesn’t pass the probationary period, we’ll find a replacement for free. We just want that perfect match to happen as well as clients.

Stress resistance

The work involves a lot of responsibility and sometimes pressure from the client. Candidates might be pretty rude or annoying. Talent managers need to cope with it and make the best decisions. That’s why stress resistance is an important quality successful recruiters need.

This doesn’t mean they should be able to work under any conditions and not feel negative emotions. But instead, talent scouts should know how to control their emotions so they don’t interfere with the work. For example, a recruiter might feel stressed about a looming deadline, but they shouldn’t let that stress impact the quality of their work or their interactions with candidates.

The ability to be a team player

This is especially true for IT recruiting as our work is based on the principle of a team game. It’s vital for each specialist to not only be good at their job but also be able to find common ground with other members of the team. 

Snezhana says that everyone in a team must have similar values. When people do not fit the team in terms of soft skills, they will not stay in the company for a long time. And that isn’t nice for everyone.

Overcoming objections and handling rejection

The ability to handle objections and rejection is also an essential soft skill for recruiters. Because, as mentioned before, the work involves a lot of responsibility. And sometimes things don’t go according to plan.

For instance, a candidate might reject an offer, or a client might not be satisfied with the results. In these situations, it’s crucial to be able to stay calm and professional. A recruiter needs to listen to the objection or concern and address it accordingly for all parties involved.

This quality is also important when it comes to networking. When working, a specialist will inevitably face some rejections. But if they can handle those rejections positively and professionally, they will more likely build strong relationships with the people they meet.

Is it possible to develop soft skills?

While some people are naturally gifted with excellent social skills, that doesn’t mean everyone is. But the good news is that some qualities can be developed. We go even further: a person can constantly improve them, regardless of their current level.

How recruiters develop soft skills:

  1. They acknowledge the weaknesses

The first step to improving some qualities is to be aware of weaknesses. Specialists take some time to reflect on the areas where they could use some improvement. Identifying the areas to focus on and then working on them is better.

  1. Recruiters seek out opportunities to practice

Once they know the areas they need to work on, they seek opportunities to practice those skills. If a person needs to work on their networking skills, for example, they attend industry events and meet as many people as possible. If they need to work on stress management skills, they look for situations that are likely to be stressful and see how they can handle them in a better way.

  1. They get feedback

It’s also essential to receive feedback. Good specialists ask their friends or colleagues for honest opinions on their soft skills. Other people might be able to give some insights that the recruiter hadn’t considered before.

  1. They are patient

Developing soft skills takes time and effort. A professional doesn’t expect to see results overnight. 

  1. They seek professional help

There are many books and articles on the subject. And many courses and workshops to take. There is no shame in seeking out help when you need it.

“We gather as a team and share interesting cases from practice once a week. We are telling what problems we had and how we solved them. Especially in communication with candidates. Learning about other people’s experiences also helps develop soft and hard skills“, said Snezhana.

The bottom line

Soft skills are essential for recruiters and everyone in the workforce. They help to handle difficult situations and communicate effectively. Close attention to our recruiters’ personal qualities allows us to build strong relationships with candidates in our vast database (more than 3,600 specialists). A trusting atmosphere in the team and mutual support ensure a quick result. We only need three business days to find the first prospects for the technical interview who will fit  into your team judging by their human qualities. Contact us, and we will help you to find the best talent for your company!

Read also: Is HackerRank a Great Solution for Assessing Candidates?

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