I’ve hired recruiters for 12 years.. here is my take on what it takes to be successful in recruitment.

With a high earning potential and early opportunities to progress, recruitment has become a career of choice for graduates, school leavers and people wanting to change industry. But what skills and attributes does it take to lead a successful career in recruitment?


Never take the easy option and always take on additional work where needs be – even stuff outside of your remit. The difference between a stuffy corporate environment and a dream working culture is often the passion of the people in the room. As Roald Dahl put it, “if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.”


The employee who progresses in the company is likely to be determined, hard-working and fun. The person who’s a joy to have in the team and successful in their own right. Successful recruitment consultants maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity. Put people first and take pride in being the best at whatever it is you do. Make yourself available for people to come to you for help, from small queries to big projects. Share your knowledge and ideas with your colleagues, and share the praise too! Career success isn’t about self-interest or cutthroat competition. A large component of success is being approachable, friendly and reliable whilst hitting your own and the company’s goals and targets.


Are you able to clearly convey information and ideas? Can you mix with others easily and build strong relationships? Can you influence, convince and negotiate? If you have demonstrable experience of these key skills, you’re well-positioned to go far in recruitment.

Ability to learn.

Part of putting people first is being upfront with them, and admitting your blunders. James Joyce once called mistakes the portals to discovery. But to learn from your mistakes – and to improve for next time – requires transparency both with yourself and with your peers. Note your colleagues’ feedback and implement changes off the back of it. You can always improve and achieve more.

So do you have what it takes? Now you need to chose the right company. One that helps to enhance this in you. You will need a company that ensures its promotion criteria are clearly laid out from the start. Right from Day 1, you should know exactly what’s expected of you and what it takes to progress. Whether it be a strong desire to lead a team, focus on being the biggest biller or moving internationally. You need a clearly delineated career path if you are going to fully commit to your goals with enthusiasm. After all, lukewarm is no good!

If you’re considering a career in recruitment, feel free to send your CV or enquiry to Hannah@cotalentgroup.co.uk

Hannah MacDonald, Head of Talent