5 Characteristics Every Recruiter Looks For in an Interview

By Wayne Fleming

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Interviews can cause a lot of stress and overthinking. Trying to get all of the information out in those precious 15 minutes or so can be incredibly difficult. However, whether you’re looking for a job in retail, or a career in finance, there are always those few characteristics that all recruitment personnel will keep an eye out for during the process.


How reliable you are is always going to be a quintessential component to getting the job. If you have a history of not finishing things on time, or not doing things that you may have said you would do, even in your personal life, it may be time to reassess how you conduct yourself.

Reliability is an incredibly important characteristic as every role is vital to the production of the company, and unreliable employees can affect that productivity.

Displaying reliability to your recruiter, and potential employer, will show that they can trust you with their company’s productivity. It will also be a step in the direction of getting the job you want.

Ways you can convey this in an interview:

- Be punctual - make sure that you arrive on time, if not early, for the interview.

- Give examples - give a couple of example of times where you have displayed reliability, whether in personal or professional life, and relate it to the position you are interviewing for.



This may go without saying, but efficiency is key to doing well in a position, so naturally the recruiters will be looking for evidence of this. Efficiency comes with practice and understanding of what you are doing.

Most people will claim that they are efficient at what they do, but what a recruiter is looking for is proof of this. Making relevant references about how you perform is paramount to getting the recruiter on your side. Showing that you will be efficient in your future role will give the recruiter more confidence in your ability to perform the tasks needed.

Ways you can convey this in an interview:

- Come prepared - bring your resume, examples of your work (if applicable), and anything else that may be required.

- Plan ahead - before the interview, think about what questions you will be asked and think of how you can best answer it.

- Research the company - having a background knowledge of what the company has done in past, any awards that they may have, even knowing the CEO’s name shows a level of efficiency and interest in the position.



Confidence is one of those characteristics that can be your greatest ally, or your worst enemy. Over-confidence can come across as arrogance, and lack of confidence can look like incompetency. It is important to get the right balance.

Confidence in what you bring to the table should be shown alongside respect towards the recruiter, future employer, and company. If you have confidence that you can do something, people are far more likely to believe it. Having confidence in your ability to do the role helps the recruiter have confidence in you.

Ways you can convey this in an interview:

- Refer to the selection criteria - in the advertisement for the position, they should have listed what skills that will be required. Responding to each criteria, and explaining how you meet each item, will show how confident you are with the role.

- Ask questions - there is no shame in asking for clarity on certain aspects of the business, it shows that you are confident enough to make sure that this is the position for you.


Ability to Communicate Effectively

Communication is imperative in all business. Without it, things are forgotten or go missing and productivity is decreased. Therefore, the ability to communicate is one of those characteristics that will be focused on throughout the interview due to its high importance. This is, however, one of the easiest traits to exhibit in an interview as the entire practice is based on being able to effectively communicate your suitability for the position.

Ways you can convey this in an interview:

- Compose yourself - tripping over your words and rambling will show a lack of communicative dexterity, so take a second to calm yourself before you answer questions ensuring that you give the best representation of your skills.

- Format your resume - make clear and concise statements on your resume, use headers and bullet points for relevant items (e.g. job roles, education), and use a clean, sans serif font, to show ability to communicate in written form.


Passion for the Role

No one wants to hire a person who will quit a few months down the track, complain all the time, and just appear unhappy when in the workplace. All of these happen when someone lacks passion for the position they are in. Having passion for the role you are applying for is one of the most crucial characteristics that a recruiter will be looking for in order to eliminate the possibility of having an unsatisfied employee.

Ways you can convey this in an interview:

- Talk about positive experiences - giving examples of times where you have felt positive about the specific, or a related, role will show that you have enjoyed your past experience in these positions. Also, the fact that you are willing to do this position again will convey a certain amount of passion.

- Tell them - openly explain how much you enjoy the role you are applying for, what you love about it, what you are looking forward to doing. Genuine excitement is much more believable.


With any interview, the main thing to remember is: relax. The reason you are there is because they have read your resume and like what they have seen. Take a deep breath, hold your head high, and don’t forget to smile!

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