Jelmer Zuidema tells you the most important skills for a successful recruiter

Jelmer Zuidema is a recruitment marketeer at He’s not a recruiter. He’s never processed a candidate from application to his or her desk. However, sometimes it’s good to not be too close, to you can objectively observe successful behaviors of those who are. Close enough to understand everything that’s going on, far enough away to be able to observe objectively and surrounded with several really awesome colleagues to analyze for successful behaviors.


So what are the most important skills for a successful recruiter?


  1. Adaptability

There is a lot happening in the recruitment space – more focus and budget means a lot of innovation. Combine that with a high attrition rate (recruiters can work anywhere they want) and you have an ever-changing department. This asks a lot from everyone within the company, but recruiters get the hardest hit. All of a sudden they are forced to work with a different ATS, a chatbot delivers them leads instead of candidates and.. What happened to the resumes? Oh yes, the new careers site doesn’t ask for a resume.. Well, let’s call the lead and ask for all the information we need to update the fields in our new ATS in order to process him / her as a candidate. Adaptability is flexibility with the will to improve.


  1. Data-informed decision making

Everyday a lot of people (recruitment marketers, employer brand specialists, career site builders, advertisers etc) work towards one common goal – getting the right people in the right chairs. To make sure that all prediction models, hiring forecasts and toolings can deliver the right results, we need recruiters to give us the right data. This means that they need to keep their funnels clean (ATS hygiene), but more importantly, they need to know what they can do to influence the data. Recruiters should give meaning to the data that all the others just see as numbers – 100 applications per day seems like a good thing, but if 99 are rejected straight away then the focus is on the wrong metric.


  1. Communication

“With great power comes responsibility” – not only is that my favorite Spiderman quote, it’s also something that recruiters need to remember. If you still want to see the labour market as a theatre of war, then recruiters are the companies’ CIA. With the intel that recruiters provide, employer brand specialists can create the propaganda needed to win the war. Do you hire a lot of developers because your company offers a higher salary than the competitor? Perfect, let’s state that in our ads. Do candidates decline offers because of a lack of information? Let’s make sure that future candidates get more information while on their candidate journey. An advertising strategy stands or falls by having the right information, and recruiters are the gateway to that information.


At Talent Acquisition Live, march 12th in Amsterdam, Jelmer will talk about recruiter skills with Hung Lee in a fireside chat. Buy your tickets here.