Part 3 of a 10-part series entitled, “10 Traits of the Best Contract Recruiters

Professional Curiosity and Pursuit of Knowledge

In the course of managing our business since 1999, we have interviewed and hired a number of highly successful professional contract recruiters. We intend to keep doing that and have worked to identify some of the traits we have seen in our best performers over the last 18 years.

Today’s blog is the third in a series of 10 that identifies the traits of our most successful senior recruiters.  We hope this perspective will provide guidance to those new to contract recruiting, offer some insight to experienced recruiters who are always looking to improve, and give TA/HR leaders some ideas on what should be expected of a contract recruiter.  We also hope that this will stimulate ideas and conversation that provide additional insight from readers of this blog.

Impress Your Hiring Managers

Curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge is a common trait among our best recruiters, regardless of the disciplines they are recruiting for. Those who take a strong interest in the business and/or technology of the client will gain valuable data that supports their sourcing for passive candidates, screening to qualifications, and having information that can be used to close on offers. Hiring managers are often impressed and surprised with recruiters who take the initiative to obtain this information.

When I was a contract recruiter many years ago, I remember asking an R&D Engineering Manager if we could have the intake meeting in his lab. This manager was demanding of high quality talent, but fair and realistic. He was fine with my request, but wanted to know why. I told him I wanted to see the lab, meet some of the engineers, learn more about the software/hardware technology, and see the design, simulation, and test tools they used. He seemed amused with my answer and said never in his career had anyone from HR/TA ever asked to have this kind of meeting in the lab. I gained instant credibility without submitting one candidate. My ability to create an effective working relationship was made much easier. He appreciated my interest in learning about the activity he was leading.

Pursuing Depth of Knowledge is Part of the Fun

Pursuing a depth of knowledge is one aspect of professionalism and certainly one indicator of your motivation to do a great job. Actively learning about the business or technology of your client is part of the fun of being a contract recruiter. Today’s science and technology is amazing and it’s interesting to learn how and why things work. Learn on your own time if you have to. Your ability to be more conversant with your client and candidates will generally result in stronger partnerships, more cooperation and improves your ability to screen and sell candidates.

Buzz Words

Recruiters who rely on matching resume buzz words, technical terms, or acronyms without doing their homework are going through the motions, missing the fun of the job, too often submitting unqualified candidates, and lacking the knowledge to sell passive candidates on an opportunity. I remember interviewing a recruiter who showed ASIC Engineering recruiting on his resume. I asked what ASIC meant.  He had no idea. I don’t know how he could have done a quality job. When possible, take the time to meet hiring managers on their turf, in their labs, design centers, manufacturing floor or test areas, any of their work areas. It doesn’t matter if you are recruiting for technical, non-technical, professional, or non-exempt. Ask questions. It is interesting and rewarding. It will help you be successful. You will be respected and appreciated for your professionalism and initiative to learn.

Bill Sewell


10 Traits of the Best Contract Recruiters
Part 1: Pursue Contract that Leverage Your Strengths
Part 2: Client Relationship, Not an Employer
Part 3: Professional Curiosity and Pursuit of Knowledge
Part 4: Stay Organized and Communicate Efforts
Part 5: Respect the Dynamics of Being a Virtual Recruiter
Part 6: Factors in Determining Hourly Rate
Part 7: Should a Contract Recruiter Incorporate?
Part 8: Building a Business Case for Contract Recruiters
Part 9: The Added Value a Good Contract Recruiter Brings