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The Most Useful Skills in Recruitment Aren't What You'd Expect

Recruiters are at the coal face of the push and pull of the jobs market. They have a unique perspective as they act as the connector between the supply (skilled workforce) and the demand (hiring companies).

Through collecting truly exceptional candidates and helping companies find the most promising people to build the future of their success- recruiters come face to face with exciting prospects on both sides.

You can meet people who are the best at what they do and you can place them in the best environment to help them achieve excellence. But as you meet more and more exceptional candidates it can be obvious that their most impressive skills don’t necessarily lie in their technical expertise…

It’s the same for Recruiters.

The Importance of Soft Skills

Soft skills are personal qualities that you use when working that supplement your technical ability. Examples include communication, time management, organization and working well as a team.

To put it simply;

“Hard skills are what you do, and soft skills are how you do it,”
Susan Vitale, CMO, iCIMS.

Recruiters need to get crafty about how they can sell soft skills to clients. This works in tandem with companies growing demand for candidates that have strong soft skills.

The challenge is determining which are strongest, and which are most in-demand for certain roles,” she says. “Companies can train employees in technical skills. Soft skills, on the other hand, are far harder to teach, which is why, in a low unemployment market, companies should be looking to hire for soft skills and train for technical skills.”
Jodi Chavez, President of Randstad Professionals.

Being privy to the demands of companies can give Recruiters a chance to take this knowledge and apply it to their own profession. They have an opportunity to build a skill set that will help them thrive as the influx of new technology relieves recruiters of the mundane tasks.

Why Should Recruiters Invest in Their Soft Skills

Management Roles

Spending time investing in your soft skills will stand to recruiters aiming to move into a leadership or management role. Great communication skills, critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork are all part of the arsenal of a great manager.

Managers need to lead by example and need the skills to represent their teams at a leadership level. Spending time improving these qualities will improve your chances of being promoted to and succeeding at this level.

Life after Recruitment

If there comes a time when you decide to leave clients broken hearted and move on from the world of recruitment your soft skills skyrocket in terms of value.

Your time spent perfecting your communication strategy with hiring managers and tweaking your negotiating skills will all lend themselves to your new job hunt. If you are leaving your role for a completely different industry these soft skills will stand to you as your technical ability as a recruiter doesn’t have the same value.


What Soft Skills Should Recruiters Have?

Soft skills will benefit everyone at any stage of their career- they make people easier to work with and help people adapt to new roles and responsibilities with ease. Since they’re so beneficial how do you choose which are the most important? By breaking down the different requirements and processes in your recruiting career it can be easy to hone in on the soft skills recruiters should focus on.

Related: The most underrated quality a recruiter can have

Emotional Intelligence

In an article titled “7 skills that aren’t about to be automated” the Harvard Business review presents the skills that are most crucial to job roles of the future. Emotional competence rated very highly. It’s easy to see how this can be critical for Recruiters.

“We have found that the defining characteristic of executive decisions is that there is no right answer, and the options are laden with emotional consequences: Whose career will soar? Whose will be gored? Who will get promoted? Who will lose their job?

“The most basic level of emotional competence is being able to recognize the emotions at play in the context of analysis and action. The next level is the ability to successfully intervene in an emotionally complex situation when people are hurt or uncertain. At the highest level, emotional competence involves persuading individuals and groups by evoking emotion (while simultaneously recognizing that some team members don’t buy into what you’re saying).”


In a Recruiting context, creativity can pay dividends when it comes to; writing job ads, designing campaigns, helping with employer branding and writing enticing Inmails.

This type of problem solving and effort in creating material that catches the eye and whets the appetite is a perfect soft skill that all recruiters should start bolstering.


Whether your an in-house recruiter dealing with hiring managers or working in an agency negotiating with clients the art of negotiation is a top priority.

It’s a skill that can be used and sharpened in every area of life and your day to day role as a recruiter should give you plenty of opportunities to start practising.
By perfecting this art you will start to see benefits to your team or company but most importantly you can start to put yourself in a better position should you decide to move on in your career.

If you are interested in perfecting your soft skills as a recruiter SocialTalent has dedicated training for helping you manage your time, perfect your presentation skills, the art of self-design and prioritisation. We also have extensive training for negotiating, creativity and emotional intelligence tailored specifically for recruiters. It’s all part of the SocialTalent Recruiter Academy 

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