4 Underrated Traits of Top Hiring Teams

June 18, 2015 at 12:30 PM by Kathleen de Lara


To build out the company’s A-team, you need to start with a strong foundation of skilled recruiters. Hiring your first employees is a big step for the company. Hiring your 100th employee is a big step for the company, too.

At either stage, the org’s hiring needs and strategies are completely different, and any setbacks in your recruiting (and recruiters, for that matter) triggers a stifling domino effect on your talent goals. All that planning and preparing won’t help the company find people if you’re not properly equipped with a robust, smart hiring team.

Keep a lookout for these traits in your next hiring hires.

Willingness to push back on hiring managers

Sourcers and recruiters who don’t push back on hiring managers’ candidate criteria can easily get stuck searching for someone who’s exceptionally skilled and uncommon, or already employed. What you’re looking for are recruiters who know how to work with hiring managers to adjust a role’s specifications based on how they are (or aren’t) finding candidates.

One way to identify these recruiters? Ask them about a time they didn’t see eye-to-eye with a hiring manager’s requirements. Find out what they did to overcome the disconnect and how they managed the back and forth to meet each other halfway. Why did they decide to push back on the hiring manager? Was he or she ultimately able to make a hire? 

Knowing where to find different types of candidates

What’s your go-to network for finding people? Where do you find marketers? Engineers? Sales candidates? Be slightly alarmed if the answer is the same for those four questions. Just as all talent aren’t equally skilled, not all people for your open reqs can be found on the same networks. Part of being a skilled recruiter today is knowing how to mine information on candidates to understand their behaviors and preferences, which helps your team personalize outreach and to hone in on the right person for the job. Vertical networks for candidates like GitHub, Academia.edu, or Doximity provide more industry-specific channels for talent with specialized skills.

One way to identify these recruiters? Check out a list of the types of positions they’ve filled in their previous jobs. Who are they particularly specialized in recruiting? Ask the tools and networks they use to source candidates, and if anything sounds unfamiliar, have them elaborate to get a feel for the way they uncover hard-to-find people.

Tracking candidates’ career paths

…whether or not they’re working with your company.

One of the most admired but hard-to-find qualities in recruiters is the ability to maintain and nurture a relationship with people they’ve connected with, even if they end up not being fit for one of your roles.

One way to identify these recruiters? See what they’re like in a networking environment. If you’re interested in moving them forward in the hiring process, have them meet with your teammates and study the interaction. What kinds of questions do they ask to get to know people upon first meeting them? Do they seem genuinely interested in learning more about them? You can also candidly (and tastefully) ask if they’re still connected with any candidates they’ve interviewed in the past. What do they do to stay in touch and top of mind? How frequently do they ping these people with new opportunities? Is there a chance any of these connections would be a good fit and interested in any of your current empty roles?

Ability to adjust to flat structures

Strong hierarchies on any team have the potential to discourage team members from asking questions and sharing new ideas and feedback – quietly killing off an environment for learning and innovation to uphold the status quo. A company that’s been using the same hiring methods for a while is less likely to try something new than a company that gives its team a channel to collectively review what’s working, what isn’t working, and new strategies to try in the future. Doing away with organizational structures isn’t a quick, realistic fix, but strong, frequent communication within teams motivates teams to collaborate and to come up with new ideas to meet the company’s hiring goals.

One way to identify these recruiters? Simple. It’s a question you’ve likely asked before in an interview: Tell me about a time you had to lead or manage people. What were some of your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

What other techniques does your team use to evaluate recruiting candidates? Share them with us in the comments and be sure to check out one of our most popular webinars Techniques for Improving Communication Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers featuring Jobvite recruiter Ty Goodrich!

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