Good Recruiter Vs Bad Recruiter

You’ll probably know whether you’re a good Recruiter or not. It’s not completely dependent on the sales board (although that’s a pretty good indication). You’ll be in a company for longer than 6 months. You’ll have buy in from clients and candidates and equally your peers you sit with every day.

That said, there are some practices which you may forget from time to time which can instil bad habits. Here we break down the difference between good recruiters and bad recruiters.

Make sure you’re the former.

Good Recruiter: Sees the Big Picture

There will be times as a Recruiter where the small things get on top of you. The rollercoaster of recruitment means one day you’re riding high, and the next you’re plummeting towards the ground just hoping something will break your fall. And like a rollercoaster, the process of recruitment is all about the overall journey.

There’ll be times you question why the hell you strapped yourself in. Times you’re riding so high, you’re on top of the world. And times the world whizzes past you at the speed of sound.

Knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel will pull you through the lows. Getting distracted and pent up on the negatives will affect the parts of your job that are going well. One bad phone call can mean you’re negative for the next. Despite no link between them. The best Recruiters take a minute to themselves. Take a breath. And ride again.

Germany.Heide Park Resort in Soltau.

Bad Recruiter: Lets small things affect the Big

On the reverse of the above, you’ll know the people in your office that get het up by every little thing that happens. At least one thing will happen almost daily that will be to the detriment of your effort. If you plan for the worst and hope for the best, you’re ready for negatives.

Good Recruiters tend to be a little cynical. Bad Recruiters are hugely affected by small things meaning the big thing (your overall effort) suffers as a result.

Good Recruiter: Sees Potential

There’s potential for everything you’re dealing with as a Recruiter right now. Just because one candidate isn’t appropriate for one job doesn’t mean they won’t be perfect somewhere else.

There’s a match out there for even the trickiest of customers. Knowing the business and the characters within it inside out will mean you can spot an opportunity when it arises.

Bad Recruiter: Hides from Possibility

Whatever the negative situation you find yourself in, there are positives to be taken.

Candidate declined a role? Where else would they be a good fit?

Client knocked back your shortlist? You now know a lot more about the desired hire that you didn’t before.

You should be thinking about your possibilities and potential in every interaction. What client would suit this candidate? What people can you send instantly to this urgent contract? Hide from these possibilities at your peril. They’ll turn you into a great Recruiter.

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Good Recruiter: Both Active and Reactive

Whether you’re working a contract or permanent desk, it’s important to be ahead of the game. And, at the same time be agile enough to adapt to changes. Because things are going to change. Regularly.

Plan as much as you can. Plan your day. Plan companies to speak to and people to network with. Agree actions with candidates and clients and proactively attack your day.

Remember however, the status quo is highly likely to change. If you know this already, then not being ready for it is short-sighted.

Bad Recruiter: Either Active or Reactive

A Recruiter that’s either active OR passive isn’t going to thrive. You really need both of these at the same time to succeed. You can even actively plan to be reactive. Put in time in your diary for a period where you check new candidates on job boards perhaps? Regularly speaking to known active candidates means they’re fresh in your mind when a job comes in that’s a perfect fit.

If you constantly think in the same way, and try nothing new to be both active and passive in the recruitment industry, you’ll continue with the same outcome. Think differently. Work smarter.

Good Recruiter: Self-learns

There’s so much material out there for you to learn. Maybe you’ve followed us on LinkedIn to keep abreast of industry updates? Perhaps you regularly read the Recruitment Clinic? Or one of the many other recruitment blogs going.

Whatever you read, it’s important you read something. Merely relying on old practices constantly is fine if you’re consistently billing award winning numbers. Even the best Recruiters dip in billings from time to time.

Bad Recruiter: Sticks to their Guns

Recruitment is a job where you can get into a routine of doing something over and over again. There’s success in mastering a process. But if you’re never looking at ways to improve your methods then you’ll always be repeating the same thing. Even if this is speeding up a process you know works.

Many of the best Recruiters will take mentoring or leadership positions too, and you can do this alongside your own job. It will in turn will make sure you constantly refresh techniques. Teaching someone else, they say, is the best way to learn something.

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Good Recruiter: Networks with Community

Networking with your community is incredibly important for success. This is why many Recruiters are tasked with spending as long on the phone as is physically possible in a day.

Phone times = networking. Networking = success. 

The good thing however, is you can network in many ways these days. Face to face meetings will always be king. After that, go where your network goes.

Bad Recruiter: Doesn’t follow the Tide

Imagine the scene. You’re a Recruiter working on a UX desk. You have clients and candidates to network with just like any other Recruiter. Your boss, who last recruited some time in the 90’s insists you spend 3 hours a day on the phone, regardless, or ‘you’re not going home’.

However, it takes you about 15 minutes to flick through a portfolio before even gauging whether a candidate is actually as good as their CV says they are. This isn’t good practice.

Being on the phone is great. But if your networking activity and KPI times aren’t tailored to your market, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Good Recruiter: Knows Metrics

KPI’s are, to a degree, a necessary evil in recruitment. They should however be reverse engineered. That is to say, follow what you’ve done in activity on a great month, and do that again. Rather than guessing an incredibly high amount of activity in any area will produce great output in deals.

Bad Recruiter: Ignores or Fabricates Metrics

We’ve all been in this scenario: You get to the end of the month and your metrics are down. So you hurriedly input a month’s worth of activity on the database to save yourself in the review. If you’re able to do your job without registering the activity, then you have to question the database you’re using.

Doing your job and then registering the same activity because it needs to be registered just doesn’t make sense.


At the end of the day there’s a lot of activity you need to be considering to be successful in recruitment. The assimilation between your network and your activity is absolutely key.

Once you get into a good process, it’s all about repeating and tweaking wherever necessary.