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11 Ways to Boost Your Versatility

The cover of the essentials of recruiting.

In no other profession is versatility more relevant than in recruiting. At the peak of their game, recruiters demonstrate mastery in 11 skills, attributes and traits. These essential competencies make recruiters one of the most versatile groups of employees in the marketplace. In my new book, The Essentials of Recruiting: Comprehensive Training for Mastering the Principles and Practices of Recruiting (Next Century, 2018), I outline each of the "Essential Eleven" qualities that versatile recruiters have in their toolboxes. I suggest that as you read through each one, you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the best.

1. Astuteness.  Recruiters are expected to comprehend information about company operations, products, services, job responsibilities and job requirements, along with other pertinent information about the company and its industry. Understanding this essential information and being able to present and explain the relevant factors to others is a basic duty.

2. Excellent work ethic. Successful recruiters are driven and motivated and typically have an energizing passion for their work. Individuals interested in "just doing enough to get by" should consider another profession since an excellent work ethic must be demonstrated daily to achieve success.

3. Sales-focused. Recruiters sell opportunities, hope and a future as they help people realize their dreams and achieve their career goals. Recruiting is a sales job that involves presenting the features, benefits, terms and conditions of a job opportunity.

4. Ethical. Candidates and hiring managers depend on recruiters to disclose full information so that they can make sound decisions. Individuals often make decisions that change their lives based on information received from recruiters.

5. Professional. Nothing replaces good business etiquette and basic good manners. Being pleasant and polite and saying "please" and "thank you" are common practices of professionalism.

6. Clear communicator. The ability to speak and write clearly and persuasively is an essential communication requirement for recruiters. It can be a difficult task to convince someone to "buy what you are selling" if you are unable to communicate the selling points in an effective manner.

7. Personable. Whether by telephone, in person or in writing, recruiting involves constant communication. Verbal communication—on the telephone and in person—is an everyday and sometimes all-day activity for recruiters, so it is important that communication with others provides personal and professional satisfaction.

8. Inquisitive and intent listeners. Recruiters do not preselect candidates to fill jobs. They have to get to know candidates in order to advance them in the hiring process. Identifying qualified candidates requires asking lots of questions and actively listening to answers.

9. Good writing skills Written communication skills are equally as important as verbal communication skills. More and more recruiting is being done by electronic communication, such as e-mail and social networking. Just imagine receiving an e-mail from someone with misspelled words, incomplete sentences and unclear thoughts. Would you be inclined to take this person seriously, or would you rather work with someone who writes clearly and concisely?

10. Persistence. A successful search may take anywhere from five minutes to 30 days or more, depending on a number of factors ranging from the industry to the location to the uniqueness of the requirement or the shortage of available talent. Successful recruiters have the self-discipline and determination to continue a search until the right candidate is found.

11. Passion. Good recruiters are positive people who demonstrate a can-do attitude. They love the challenge of finding qualified candidates and the exuberance that comes from working with a satisfied hiring manager or a candidate who gets the job of his or her dreams.

Matching people with opportunities is a great profession and one that will always be valued in every company and industry.


Compare your total score:

30-33: Versatility Mastery

20-29: Approaching Versatility

1-19: Developing Versatility


Stella Cochran McDonald, the author of The Essentials of Recruiting (Next Century, 2018, is a veteran recruiter who works as an independent recruiter for the pharmaceutical industry.


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