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Personality traits that make a successful recruiter

Since we launched the ISV Personality Questionnaire, it has created quite a stir. We have been drawn into looking deeper at personality and considering the following questions.


How much does personality matter when hiring?


How does personality impact our career?


And, the million-dollar question, what personality traits make a successful recruiter?

To be a fully validated and scientific study we would need to define what success means and broaden our sample size. However, let’s assume, for the purpose of the here and now, that success means a long running career in recruitment and running or leading a profitable and well-established recruitment business and we’re sharing our initial thoughts.


So, what did we find out?


The ISV team segmented our audience to identify recruiters, before digging into the responses to our Personality Questionnaire. We found a number of interesting trends about the personality traits of successful recruiters including the following:

1) Connecting


The vast majority of respondents were above average in connecting. People who are above average tend to be warm and friendly in social settings and they will seek out the company of others. These individuals are more likely than most to enjoy networking events and working in groups. It’s possibly no surprise that in a role like recruitment where meeting and building relationships is key, that connecting showed up as a strong trait.


2) Order


Having an organised manner and a structured methodical approach to work, or ‘order’, is another trait that was present in our recruiters. Arguably, the recruiters who responded were being orderly and just ticking the Personality Questionnaire off their to-do list. Typically though, the recruiters were about or above average in this area indicating their preference for an orderly approach to work.


3) Goal focus


Those who have been in recruitment for more than 5 minutes will know that it’s a tough job. You are target driven and aware of what you need to achieve. It’s probably no surprise then that our successful recruiters show up as average or, for the majority, above average with the personality trait ‘goal focus’. They can effectively execute plans and achieve most goals they set, often more motivated than others to start and complete tasks.


4) Inner belief


Again, most seasoned recruiters will know that you need a reasonably thick skin to survive in recruitment. As such, ‘inner belief’ is another trait that showed up, with all our recruiters showing as average or above average. Their natural tendency is to feel confident in their ability and they are likely to invest little energy in what might happen in the future or what others think of them.


To contrast the above we looked at which areas our recruiters appeared to be average or below average in compared to the norm group (the norm group is the large pool of people taking the questionnaire whose responses create the average – in this case it’s over 15,000 respondents).


5) Trust


Personality traits which our recruiters reported as being average or below average in include trust. Those who are typically below the average in this trait are likely to have a degree of suspicion about others and may be wary of their intentions. They may also be dispassionate towards others and avoid being involved in other people’s problems.


6) Emotional expression


Similarly, the trait ‘emotional expression’ was either average or below average in all our respondents. If someone is below average in this personality area they could appear unfazed or unconcerned even when faced with significant challenges. They are also unlikely to feel strong feelings of emotions like annoyance and frustration.


These latter two areas are, again, perhaps unsurprising for recruiters who are carving out a successful career. They have been let down by candidates or clients just a few too many times to trust so easily and they are dogged in their determination.


It’s been interesting for us to see these trends and we are likely to continue to study the responses.


Not convinced? Try it out for yourself



If you would like to try out the ISV Personality Questionnaire, just contact us for your link.


There are some things to keep in mind with this article, even though all the responses considered were from recruiters, it must be considered whether each individual answered as honestly as possible. Any self-reported personality questionnaire relies on the respondent being reflective and truthful. Plus, although our sample size was not large enough to be considered scientific, the above are trends we have identified and the beginning of an interesting discussion.


For more details about the ISV Personality Questionnaire and how you can use it to support recruitment, contact us today.


We’d also love to know what personality traits you think make a successful recruiter.





ISV.Online is the leading supplier of skills testing software and services to the UK Recruitment Industry.  Used by 9 of the top 10 UK agencies, by number of offices, and 7 of the top 10, by revenue, ISV.Online offers candidate skills assessment and evaluation software and online training tools, allowing agencies and in-house HR/recruitment teams to validate the skills of potential candidates and existing employees across a wide range of areas.


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      Please note that we only provide access and service to recruiters and employers with a valid business email address. If you represent such an organisation and do not have a suitable email address, please contact us via

      We hate spam as much as you do! View our Privacy Policy

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