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6 Key Characteristics of a Kick-A** Recruiter

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True or false? Recruiters sit around waiting for the right resumes to fall in their laps.

True or false? While attending candidate-focused events, good recruiters chat only with coworkers and passively watch as candidates stroll by.

True or false? Top-performing recruiters only work active applications in their company’s applicant tracking systems.

Answers: False. False. And false!

Yet, at countless job fairs, within global companies and on HR teams across the country, poorly trained, unapproachable and lackluster recruiters are tasked with finding their companies’ next top talent. Don’t let yourself be one of them!

If you really want to succeed in the recruiting industry, focus on developing these traits:

1. Great product knowledge

If you want to be successful in this job, you have to know your product. In recruiting, this means knowing the job and requirements, the benefits and career path, the hiring manager and corporate culture.

“On top of that, you have to know how each job req that you are looking to fill affects the company’s bottom line,” advises Matt Duren, technical recruiter at Tenable Network Security.

2. Power to influence

Recruiters are the public relations/salespeople for their companies. To be successful, you have to sell candidates on why your opportunity is better than their current situation or other offers, and many times you have to persuade hiring managers on why they should consider your candidates or sweeten employment offers.

3. Good at building relationships

Great recruiters don’t just remember names and faces from yesterday; they remember people from years ago. And they still stay in touch.

“It is not just about talking to candidates for the role that is on the table—some of the best hires come from months and months of communication,” said Lauren Hiegel, a member of Groupon’s corporate recruiting team.

4. Approachable and nice

If you don’t like handshakes, people, small talk, networking or schmoozing, you’re in the wrong profession. Recruiters are in the business of meeting candidates and clients and figuring out if there is a fit. No one wants to work with (or pay contingency fees to) a jerk.

5. Well-connected

Whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Ning, during tweetups, meetups, webinars or conferences, online and off, recruiters know people. They hang out in many circles and are well-connected. They are even connected to people they don’t know they are connected to.

6. Have a lot of hustle

Other words that come to mind are “motivated,” “driven” and “aggressive.” Top recruiters don’t rest on their laurels, they don’t clock in and out, they don’t lollygag or pull a standard 9-to-5. They are always thinking, doing, sourcing, networking, researching and connecting.

Some great recruiters are born, but others can be made—and we all have opportunities for improvement. If you focus on these six skills, you’ll continue to move up in your recruiting career.

Shannon Smedstad spends her days as the employment brand and HR social media manager for a major U.S. auto insurer and has more than 12 years of recruiting industry experience. You can connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.