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How to hire a recruiter

Your business is growing and you’re excited to expand. Even though it’s not your specialty, you work hard on your latest job posting, and after a month… you have nothing. Almost no one applies, and the ones that do aren’t qualified.

When you’re struggling to find the right talent, it’s time to move beyond job postings. You need to hire a recruiter. The problem is: How do you hire a great recruiter when you’re already struggling to fill your talent pipeline?

In this article, we’ll help you understand everything you need to know to hire the right recruiter, such as:

  1. What does a recruiter do?
  2. Which skills should a recruiter have?
  3. Which traits should a recruiter have?
  4. Where can I find a job description for a recruiter?
  5. Which interview questions should I ask a recruiter?
  6. How much should I pay a recruiter?
  7. How the Predictive Index can help you hire the perfect recruiter

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Hire the right people, inspire their best work, design dream teams, and sustain engagement for the long haul.

What does a recruiter do?

Recruiters specialize in talent acquisition: connecting job seekers to open positions. On the most basic level, this means reaching out to candidates using LinkedIn, email, or other job-sourcing routes. In practice, being a good recruiter requires a strong understanding of not only people, but the role and the company’s needs. 

There are three basic types of recruiters: agency recruiters, corporate recruiters, and headhunters.

Agency recruiters

When companies need to hire top candidates, but don’t have the capacity or expertise to do it themselves, they often work with agency recruiters at a third-party staffing agency. Usually, agency recruiters are paid by commission: When they refer a candidate to an open position and the candidate is hired, the recruiter receives payment based on the candidate’s wage.


Headhunters may also work at third-party recruiting agencies, but have a more specialized role. They exclusively hire for high-level positions, like executives and senior staff. This requires unique skills and a quality-over-quantity recruitment process.

Corporate recruiters

Often, companies will have full-time recruiters that work in-house. These are called corporate recruiters. Typically, only medium-to-large or rapidly expanding companies can afford internal recruiters.

People often confuse recruiters with hiring managers. Usually, these two roles work together on a recruiting team, or in the interest of filling a specific position. The recruiter finds candidates, schedules interviews, and delivers job offers, while the hiring manager evaluates candidates, performs interviews, and typically makes hiring decisions.

Which skills should a recruiter have?

The ideal recruiter should have 1-2 years experience in a human resources role. A recruiter’s job also involves:

  • Identifying and reaching out to qualified candidates
  • Performing screening interviews to verify experience and fit
  • Documenting the hiring process
  • Self-motivating in a high-pressure, competitive environment
  • Projecting energy and enthusiasm
  • Understanding the requirements of each role

Which traits should a recruiter have?

It’s important that your recruiter has the right skillset. But skills alone don’t predict a candidate’s success. 

For example, recruiters need to be both independent and comfortable dealing with rejection. If they’re not persistent and self-sufficient, they may underperform. Behavioral assessment software can help identify these mismatches.

In general, a recruiter should have certain behavioral traits. Ideally, the candidate should be:

  • Independent.
  • Personable.
  • Comfortable with rejection.
  • More comfortable multitasking than working on a single project.

Where can I find a job description for a recruiter?

We’ve included a job description template you can adapt to your own recruiter opening below. You may also want to consider our guide to writing great job descriptions.

Job description template

At [your organization], we use technology to expand the world’s horizons. We need a confident, outgoing, full-time recruiter capable of identifying engineering talent.

Job Duties

  • Recruit IT professionals using job boards, referrals, and networking events.
  • Use phone interviews to screen potential candidates for job and culture fit.
  • Ensure candidates feel comfortable and valued through positive communication and regular follow-up.
  • Conduct reference checks.
  • Negotiate salary with candidates.
  • Develop ways to improve our recruiting and interview processes.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field.
  • Competitive and high-energy.
  • Driven to achieve monthly sales goals.
  • Excellent communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • 1-2 years experience in human resources.
  • Basic knowledge of the software industry.

Join 10,000 companies solving the most complex people problems with PI.

Hire the right people, inspire their best work, design dream teams, and sustain engagement for the long haul.

Which interview questions should I ask a recruiter?

You can start by asking questions about a candidate’s job experiences. But eventually, you should shift to strategic interview questions tailored to the job target and the candidate. These use a candidate’s behavioral pattern to help guide the process.

Of course, you might not have the time or information to customize every interview. If you’re short on time, but know the behaviors that align with the role, some basic questions you could ask a recruiter include:

  • Tell me about a time you dealt with rejection on the job. What did you do? What were the results?
  • How do you make people comfortable when you meet them for the first time?
  • What’s the best recruiting experience you’ve had? What about the worst?
  • What’s your strategy for dealing with tight deadlines?

How much should I pay a recruiter?

According to Glassdoor, recruiters make an average of $52,500 per year, or $25.25 per hour. This varies based on the region and local cost of living. Also, recruiters often make both a base wage and a commission.

How the Predictive Index can help you hire the recruiter you need 

No more relying on instinct. PI’s Hire module gives you all the data you need to make the right decision—backed by 60+ years of science.

With PI, you’ll receive an in-depth summary of every candidate that passes through your pipeline. This summary is matched against the job requirements, giving you the best candidates for the job at a glance. We also provide you with a customized interview guide, to optimize your hiring process and make sure you’re asking the right questions.

Finding the perfect recruiter can be difficult, but you don’t need to struggle. With a strong knowledge of the job, the required traits, and your candidates, you can take your talent pipeline from a trickle to a torrent.


Robbie is a technical and content writer at PI. You can find him walking by Lake Michigan or plotting his next DnD campaign.

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