How to Hire a Recruiter: A Brief Guide

At Job Crystal we know a thing or two about how to hire a recruiter. We hire internal recruiters (those that work in a company and hire only for that business) and we hire 360 recruiters in our own business. You could say we hire more recruiters than any other role consistently.

Having not originally come from a recruitment background, I find you get all sorts of recruiters. Some have a passion for the industry, others do not know what else they should be doing. Often recruiters spend so much time helping others find jobs, they don’t look at their own careers.

With this, we share our brief guide on how to hire a recruiter, based on our 20 years of experience.

1. Agency experience

When you work in recruiting you have the option to work in the HR department of a business, or you can work in a recruitment agency (this is a business that recruits for a range of different companies). Recruitment agencies are a tough business to excel in. The old school agencies expected cold calling to clients; visits to clients to get job descriptions; finding candidates; interviewing candidates with some heavy targets to achieve or you were out. We tend to prefer recruiters that have worked in an agency (for a while.) as we find them more hard-working with a bit more staying power.

2. Job hops

Recruiters work in the industry and know what a ‘job hopper’ looks like. Saying this, you would want a recruiter who has not ‘job hopped’ but shown some loyalty to a few companies. A note that moving jobs due to retrenchment is not seen as ‘job hopping’, so always ensure you know the reasons for movement.

3. Original CV

Just like point 2, recruiters work in the industry and view around 100 CV’s a day. They know what a good versus bad CV looks like. A great recruiters’ CV is pristine, has colour, enough detail to get their experience across, is well-formatted and you know at first glance that it is looks great.

4. Recruitment tools

There are 100’s of recruitment tools out there, such as  Job Boards, Job Portals, free advertising, social media, new AI tools, and Boolean searches. In your screening ensure you ask the recruiter what their preferred tools are. Old school ‘free’ tools like and  are great to use, but some new tools should be in the mix with a balance of paid and free. Mentions of Boolean searches, AI, NLP should be heard in your screening.

5. Their why

Some recruiters stay in the industry forever due to money they can make, some stay for the love of people and others stay to change lives. Think about this for a moment, you spend 1/3 of your life at work – imagine you can change 1/3 of someone’s life?

Recruiters do this day in and day out, and you can very quickly see the ones who do it for the right reasons! The recruiters that are passionate about people really know what a client is looking for, they are usually the ones that take extra time when they find the right candidate and treat the others well.

6. Emails

Recruiting is a highly intensive administrative role, where you need to be brilliant at having all things in order, especially your email. When hiring a recruiter have a look at how quickly they reply to you, what their emails look like when they respond and the care they add to the details. Recruiting is all about the details and communication. They should be fast, brilliant, and great communicators – especially in emails to you when applying or answering questions.

7. Speed

Everyone can find someone to hire, but it is finding the right person – fast! As per point 1, recruiters that have worked in an agency often have competition in placing a candidate as the job is shared in an agency. A good recruiter will find a candidate, screen, interview and type out their CV in a flash. A recruiter that has worked in a business, hired internally, we find hire slower as they have more time in a corporate business to find the right candidate.

8. It’s all about the detail

Recruiters are matchmakers, they need to take a set of requirements and find people that match those accurately. If they receive a job description that says, ‘must have a degree’, but then they send you a candidate without a degree, you have a problem. When you interview them see how accurate they are on the details.

9. It’s all in your detail

Lastly it is about your detail when you hire a recruiter:

  • Where do you find them? Good recruiters will come from all platforms, the free ones and the paid ones like and, but the really good ones will find you and send you an email directly to your inbox. A recruiter ‘finds/searches/stalks’ people and if a recruiter is looking for a job, they will find your job and be able to find your contact details.
  • What questions do you ask in screening or interviewing? Recruiters know all the standard questions… throw some curveballs (ideas below):
  1. What about life fascinates you?
  2. What is the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
  3. If you were given six months where you didn’t have to worry about money, personal or professional obligations, how would you spend that time?
  4. If you were a piece of productivity software, which one would you be?
  5. Tell me five different ways you could use a stapler when it runs out of staples.
  • What assessments are you using? A good measure is to give a recruiter an assessment.
  • Can they write a job description? Ask them to create a job description based on very few details.
  • Can they interview? Request for them to interview you for 5 minutes.
  • Ask them to find you 3 good salespeople on LinkedIn in 5 minutes (it should take them 1 minute.)
  • Ensure you ALWAYS do background checks; you can do these online and quickly here.

We hope this brief guide on how to hire a recruiter helps you hire well.

Crystal in partnership with JobCrystal is able to offer recruitment services tailored to the needs of SMEs. Job Crystal is the only passive job-seeker database in the country, which allows you to be one step ahead. With us it’s about real-time search, candidate database access and quick turnaround time.

View Crystal’s recruitment services and packages here.