The 5 Personalities You Encounter While Recruiting

It can be hard to identify patterns in multifaceted worlds like recruiting and HR – people are complex, after all. But let’s be honest, we’ve worked with candidates that definitely fall into the same tropes over and over again. Instead of letting these people get lost in our stacked pipelines, it can be helpful to learn their personalities to effectively manage what they need from us on their job journey. The more easily you can relate to what these people want and need in their next big career steps, the easier you’ll be able to place them in the perfect position for all parties involved (candidate, client, and YOU). Not to mention you’ll build your rep as the recruiter of choice for all kinds of unique talent. It’s a win-win!

But before we can make these valuable placements we have to understand… who are these easily identifiable personas?

  1. Complacent

You see their profile on LinkedIn and it causes a double take. With all their education, experience, skills, and abilities, how have they been in the same position for years? How have they not progressed to a more senior gig? Many times these candidates don’t realize they are in a prime position for promotions in their field, so we are more than happy to point it out to them.

It can be as easy as saying, “Have you seen all the cool blogs and videos *prospective company* has been publishing? Doesn’t that seem like an awesome place to grow your career?” (obligatory shout to Kinetix for providing this top-notch content for our clients!) A simple look at what could be is all you need to spark motivation in the complacent, and even more passive-leaning connections.


  1. Dubious

This is not fun for either end of the phone call. Dubious applicants are often unsure about what they really want from a new position, but they give you the go-ahead to send things their way. These types change their career criteria from one day to the next, and it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, so tread carefully with these types. You run the risk of having an uncertain candidate that ruins your relationship with hiring managers, but if you whip out the kid gloves and help them decide what’s best for their future, you may have a great new placement with none of the old doubts!

  1. Sensitive

Searching for a new job can be an emotionally draining process. If someone reaches out to you for a new position with a time sensitive deadline to land a new role, or you’re referred to a candidate by a concerned friend, you may run into a connection who takes things a little more personally. That’s completely fine!

In cases like these, it’s best to be honest and set them up for everything they need to know going into the interview. Being anxious over something as uncertain as a job hunt doesn’t have to set them back in finding their new dream position. It can help motivate them into putting that extra effort in that the hiring manager will definitely appreciate. With this candidate coaching and communication can be crucial.


  1. Big Talkers

We’ve all been there. Their resumes seem to jump off the screen and you can’t help but gives these people a call to hear more. But after a charming first conversation, they go radio silent on you, leaving you to wonder if everything they said was really true. Be aware of these candidates – it may seem perfect at first, but candidates who promise more than they deliver are dangerous for recruiters and client workplaces alike.

Researching the candidate thoroughly can help suss out these personas. You don’t have to be a Sherlock-level sleuth to go through a candidate’s Linkedin and see if their skills have been endorsed by a coworker, or even to ask for referrals by their former supervisors. Better safe than sorry!


  1. Perfect

It‚Äôs important to know that perfect candidates are not necessarily presented to you on silver platter. ‚ÄúPerfection‚Äù is an impossible thing to accomplish, but you can make a d@mned good candidate by having open communication, clear goals, and great motivation on both sides of the relationship. Any one of these personas can turn into the ‚Äúperfect‚Äù candidate with enough dedication. I know many of our own recruiters have helped their candidates study for prospective tests or go over what they need to do to wow the hiring manager. Once again, as recruiters, we‚Äôre looking for wins for everyone involved. We want a placement that has strong roots and room to grow, and we‚Äôll do whatever we can to get them there!

Have I missed some other tried-and-true personas? Leave a comment on how you worked with that candidate!

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