Unlocking career success: 10 traits of a great recruitment leader

7 mins

We all know great leaders when we see them. Perhaps well-known business figureheads like Ric...

We all know great leaders when we see them. Perhaps well-known business figureheads like Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, Steve Bartlett, Reshma Saujani, Arianna Huffington, Cheryl Sandberg, Rosalind Brewer and Bobby Murphy come to mind…

But who are the little-known heroes who you’d also class as a great leader?

The CEO who boosted morale when things got tough? The line manager who always had your back? The Head of People who created a winning, engaging workplace culture to help you thrive?

There are several things that make these kinds of leaders stand out from the rest. And while different leadership styles work best in different situations, there are some key traits that hold true across all successful leaders.

Want to know how you can also become a great workplace leader? Take a look at our list of the top 10 traits essential for helping you climb the recruitment leadership ladder.

(1) Vision

Great leaders start with a vision of where they want to take an organisation and don’t shy away from taking risks and making bold moves to get there. At Apollo, we all share a common vision and mission, and we’re always excited to talk with people who share our enthusiasm for them. Do you think you could motivate people and inspire them to make our vision a reality? This attribute’s key for any leader, no matter their company or industry, but it’s particularly important in the competitive, ever-changing world of recruitment.


(2) Communication

Communication is key for success in any business, especially when it comes to leadership. A great leader has excellent communication skills — both verbal and written — so they can get their ideas across effectively, and communicate clear standards and expectations, whilst making sure everyone on the team understands direction and deadlines. If you want to be a leader in recruitment, work on honing those communication skills to keep your team informed and driven to succeed.


(3) Collaboration

Closely linked to communication, collaboration is key. It’s important to succeed as a leader that you adapt your style to the individuals in your team. You’ll need to be visible, available, and able to motivate and engage people. According to Harvard Business Review, collaborative leaders encourage diversity of opinions for problem-solving and strategy building. The result? Engaged employees, who feel trusted and take responsibility for their own work.


(4) Empathy

It takes deep empathy for a great leader to build cohesive, collaborative teams. 79% of employees will quit due to not feeling appreciated, so being able to understand different perspectives and show gratitude will help you to build strong, long-lasting teams – plus, create an environment where individuals feel supported and safe to speak up regardless of their position.


(5) Passion 

Leaders should be passionate about what they do and lead by example when it comes to motivation and having a positive attitude. Are you passionate about recruitment? If you are, chances are you’ll inject that passion into others too. Leaders also need to be excited about mentoring or developing people – it’s essential in keeping everyone moving forward and focused on achieving common and individual goals.


(6) Adaptability

The recruitment market never stands still. So, if you’re a recruitment leader, you have to be adaptable. Think something could be done better? When methods aren’t proving effective anymore, the very best leaders will come up with new tactics. They’ll recognise when something isn’t working, then quickly adjust accordingly without losing sight of the bigger picture. This ability will help you to stay open-minded and to avoid getting stuck in a rut. It’s about problem-solving skills, having a growth mindset and continuous learning. Why not start with one of the best-known leadership books, ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins?


(7) Decision-Making Skills

Closely tied to adaptability, a successful leader also needs strong decision-making skills for determining which options will generate the best outcome – all while staying within budget and deadlines, where possible. A great leader knows when it's time to change up strategies in order to reach goals faster or more efficiently too and isn’t afraid to make the tough calls.

Measure and reward performance, and provide honest but fair feedback. It’s important to be able to address the most brutal of situations with kindness and humility. If you have empathy for your team members, you can help them to contribute, feel heard, and achieve.


(8) Self-development

An important part of being a leader is to never stop learning. If you always strive to better yourself, chances are you’ll make a great leader. Only 10% of people are said to have the natural ability to manage others, so self-development is critical to success. 

That’s where a growth mindset is important again. The strongest leaders are always on top of the latest industry trends, legalities, and recruitment best practices – after all, it’s how you’ll be able to advise others and make strategic decisions. And don’t forget to keep enhancing those leadership skills too. According to research, leadership training boosts the behaviour of business leaders by almost 30%. Your team (and your career!) will thank you for it!


(9) Self-Confidence & Awareness

A good leader must possess self-confidence, but also, self-awareness. Through continuously assessing themselves, leaders always strive to improve, and are focused on team success and not just individual wins. Looking inwards when there’s a problem, outwards when things are going well.

Confidence comes with believing in yourself and knowing your worth. Chances are, as a recruitment leader, you’ve a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experience. And it’s vital to demonstrate them, so others will look up to you for advice and inspiration. Trust in yourself to instil trust with your peers. Those strong communication skills will help.


(10) Accountability

Last but not least, holding yourself accountable is a vital trait of a great leader. It’s about being honest when you don’t have all the answers and holding your hands up when you make a mistake. Strong leaders also don’t pass the buck or pass blame. If you want your team to be accountable, you need to lead by example. Demonstrate the attitude, approach, and work ethic you expect from others. People buy into leaders who don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk and aren’t afraid to make mistakes whilst they try and smash through the barriers of driving change.


An ever-evolving career in recruitment

Here at Apollo, we have lots of progression opportunities for recruitment professionals who are passionate about what they do and who are looking to take their recruitment career to the next level.

Being part of Apollo Solutions means you’ll have access to ongoing Learning & Development. Head of L&D Sam Edwards will help develop you to your full potential, all the way from Associate through to Director-level. This is provided through a mixture of bespoke training programmes, 1:1 coaching, mentoring and more. You can also join our Evolving Leaders programme, a set of 10 workshops through which you’ll develop your role-modelling, mentoring and leadership skills as you transition from an individual team member to a senior role within the business.

And guess what? Sam trained both Managing Director Siba Oyetey and Sales Director Amie Capron nearly 2 decades ago to become top billers. So, you’re in excellent hands!

Why not get in touch with Talent Manager Amy Brislane for a confidential chat about how you might fit in?


Don't just take our word for it!

I joined Apollo in 2016 as an Associate Consultant. One of the things I love about working here is the leadership, especially from Siba. He’s given me support as well as responsibility, and an awesome recruitment education. He is fair and someone that I have always looked up to, through both good and tough times. 

Apollo will give you the platform to really make what you want of your own personal situation. There are no limitations to your growth and success. If you want something bad enough, you have the ability to go and get it!

Tom Edwards, Senior Manager

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