The Qualities of a Great Recruiter

Aaron Neale
2 min readOct 1, 2021

I recently surveyed my network to get a sense of what people felt differentiated a ‘good’ Recruiter from a ‘great’ Recruiter. It’s something I think about a lot.

It led me to question: why do so many companies fail to break away from traditional hiring tactics, despite an overwhelming belief that the ‘talent war’ rages on? Has the war gotten harder? Do Recruiters lack the creative space to improve due to mounting pressure? Is the business suffering from hiring hubris and complacency?

Let’s take a look at the tech scene. In 2013 when I joined Improbable, there were approximately 18 million Software Engineers in the world; in 2021 there are more than 27 million. That is a staggering increase, yet hiring Engineers remains one of the biggest challenges for modern businesses.

I’ve maintained for some time now that with the tools and data available to us, hiring is no longer a discovery problem; it’s an engagement problem. For me, Talent Acquisition should be more closely aligned to its cousins in Marketing than to its siblings in Sales. More specifically, how we engage with people should reflect the emotional connection that marketers strive for, followed by an authentic, supportive partnership. Despite this, the same soulless ‘volume’ tactics from a decade ago still persist, where name dropping a string of buzzwords from a LinkedIn profile is considered ‘personal’ before being robotically passed from pillar to post on a conveyor belt.

Have your Recruiters evolved? Has your business? Have you?


So how would I sum up the qualities of a good Recruiter today? Put simply, a compelling storyteller, a careful influencer and a critical thinker. I’m applying this mentality as we scale our Talent Acquisition function at Kraken, aligning with the extended qualities below. If you’re interested in being part of a hyper-scale talent ecosystem applying modern techniques, head to

Rapid Adaptability

We must be open minded, flexible and resilient to the evolving needs of the business without getting distracted or hung up on the disruption it can cause.


Like a good product, our work must be conscientiously completed at quality using a careful balance of creativity, knowledge, data and logic.

Deal Maker

The hiring process begins with great storytelling and requires influential navigation, negotiation and partnership throughout to get results.

Extraordinary at the Ordinary

Taking pride in our systems, processes and communication produces clean data that we can use to make decisions. This increases simplicity and reduces the effort required to meet our goals.


Solving scaling problems requires controlled debate, candour and eventually commitment. We must trust each other to speak openly and give honest feedback to improve.


We must avoid ‘groupthink’ and instead ‘think for ourselves’ in order to be great problem solvers and strategic planners.

Theory of Mind

Discovering the ‘unknown unknowns’ which lead to great hires requires EQ to empathetically understand the views and positions of others.

What do you think? :)

N.b. the views represented here are my own.



Aaron Neale

Moonshot enthusiast and architect of world class teams.