RECRUITERS perform an important role in the success of a business or organisation.

Hiring an unsuitable candidate can cost the company time, money and energy, so organisations need recruitment specialists — in-house or external business partner — to find them the best talent.

To be a successful recruiter in the current tight labour market, you need the following skills and attributes to attract the right candidates to put their career future in your hands:

1. Values

Your professional values are usually an extension of your personal values.

Do you come across as honest, sincere, generous and helpful?

You need to convey your sincerity to the candidates you work with. They will be testing you to see if they can trust you to do the best for them.

2. Professionalism

Professional behaviour includes knowing every step of the recruitment process immaculately. Professional recruiters look, speak and dress appropriately to maintain their savvy, go-getting image. They do high-quality work, network with top talent and are detail-oriented.

3. Knowledge of the talent market

A top-notch recruiter acts as a strategic adviser in an organisation.

He is able to tell the hiring manager what the talent market looks like, what the supply of talent pool for a particular job is likely to be, and how difficult it will be to find and close on candidates.

This information can only be collected by reading widely, participating in discussions and the intelligent use of surveys and other data tools.

Gathering and interpreting data, making correlations between competencies and success and measuring the impact of different marketing messages are skills that top-notch recruiters need. They also know the direction the market is moving.

The recruiter’s ability to build relationships combined with up-to-date information — such as whether competitors are laying people off or if the market is growing, shrinking or plateauing — can play a very effective recruiting function in an organisation.

4. Value to business

Good recruiters track the numbers of resumés they receive from each of their recruiting efforts, the number of interviews and new candidates obtained from those sources.

Analysing those numbers, they tweak a client company’s recruiting efforts to minimise the cost per hire, evaluate the quality of the recruiting programmes and reduce turnover.

Competent recruiters use metrics to put together business arguments for solutions they suggest, for programmes they want to initiate or for the systems they want to buy.

They have a core set of metrics that show how they have added value, raised quality, improved profits or saved money.

Ideally, they show where programmes should be expanded and where they should be shrunk or ended. They use data and make quantitative arguments for new projects and investments.

5. Relationships

The ability to find great people and build relationships with them should be the core competence of every recruiter.

Recruiters get to know people at all levels and professions who might be useful to their firms.

They use technology to help create the initial relationship and then they leverage that by using social media including Twitter, blogs, websites and anything else that will create authentic interaction with a potential candidate.

More than half of a competent recruiter’s time is used to network, build relationships, communicate and get involved with candidates.

Recruiters who can provide career advice, listen to candidates’ concerns and provide advice on which positions might be the best fit for their skills will be the ones who grow and thrive in this and any economy.

6. Technology

Technology dominates the world of recruiting today. Applicant tracking systems, HRIS systems, web-based recruitment systems, e-mail, blogs and social networks are all part of the recruiter’s tools. If a recruiter is not technically savvy, he cannot be successful in the long run.

Reach out

Finally, keep investing in your education and continually enhance your skills. Lose a good candidate gracefully and cultivate a sincere desire to help others.

Honesty, integrity, a good understanding of business and self-confidence combine to make a powerful people magnet.

As Socrates said: “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear.”

More hiring tips: Turn to the back page of this section for Stop the Recruiting Roulette, an article that discusses how to avoid hiring the wrong people.

Article by Kalidasan Rajakumar, corporate functional recruiting leader (North-east & South-east Asia) at Cummins, a designer and manufacturer of power generation equipment and power systems. For more information, e-mail raj.k@cummins.com or visit www.cummins.com